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Toyota Land Cruiser BJ Series

BJ Series Toyota Land Cruiser  (1951-1955)

Originally conceptualized in 1950 in response to the U.S. government’s need for a military light utility vehicle in the Korean war, the Toyota “Jeep” BJ Series Land Cruiser is a historic and significant line of vehicles that played a pivotal role in the development of the iconic Toyota Land Cruiser we know today. The BJ Series laid the foundation for the Land Cruiser’s reputation as a rugged and capable off-road vehicle.

Historical Significance:

Modeled after the iconic Willys Jeep made famous by the U.S. Army, the BJ Series Land Cruiser was first introduced in 1951 by Toyota as a four-wheel-drive utility vehicle designed for use overseas. The “BJ” designation stood for “B” series engine and “J” for Jeep, a nod to the American Willys Jeep used during World War II. Early BJ models were also developed for the Japanese National Police Reserve Forces.

Design and Features:

The early BJ Series Land Cruisers featured a spartan and utilitarian design, prioritizing reliability and off-road capabilities over style and comfort.

BJ series land cruisers shipped with a rigid frame and suspension, enabling these rugged off roaders to traverse the most challenging terrain with ease.

Unlike Willys-spec Jeeps, BJ Land Cruisers did not have a low-range transfer case. 

Engine and Performance:

The early BJ Series Land Cruisers were powered by a 3.4-liter inline-six gas engine, producing 84 horsepower (63 kW) at 2,600 RPM and 159 lb – ft of torque (215 N – m) at 1,600 RPM.

Depending on destination market and model year, other engine options included:

Gasoline

  • F 3.8 Liter inline 6 making between 105-125 hp (75-93 kW) and 189-209 lb-ft (261-289 N⋅m) of torque at 2000 RPM
  • 2F 4.2 L inline 6 making 135 HP (101 kW) and 200 lb-ft (271 N⋅m) of torque at 2000 RPM.

 

Diesel

  • B Series 3.0 Liter inline 4 making 80 hp (60 kW) at 3600 RPM and 141 lb-ft (191 N⋅m) of torque at 2200 RPM
  • 2B 3.2 L inline 4 making 93 HP (69 kW) at 2200 RPM and 159 lb-ft (215 N⋅m) of torque at 2200 RPM
  • 3B 3.4 L inline 4 making 90 HP (67 kW) at 3500 RPM and 160 lb-ft (217 N⋅m) of torque at 2,000 RPM
  • H-Series 3.6 L Inline 6 making 90 HP (66 kW) at 3600 RPM and 159 lb-ft (216 N⋅m) of torque at 2200 RPM.
  • 14B 3.7 L Inline 4 making 98 hp (72 kW) at 3400 RPM and 177 lb-ft (240 N⋅m) of torque at 1800 RPM
  • 2H 4.0 L Inline 6 making 107 hp (80kW) of HP at 3500 RPM and 177 lb-ft (240 N⋅m) of torque at 2000 RPM.

 

Evolution and Legacy:

Throughout the years since it’s inception the BJ Series Land Cruiser underwent several changes and improvements, most aimed at adding refinement in an attempt to attract new buyers and paving the way for the iconic J20 and J30 series.

Transition to the Land Cruiser Brand:

In 1954, the BJ Series officially became “Land Cruisers”, marking the beginning of the iconic Land Cruiser brand. 

Little did Toyota know, their capable Jeep clones would go on to become one of the most enduring and respected names in the off roading community and SUV market.

Collector’s Value and Rarity:

Despite their spartan design and utilitarian focus, early BJ Series Land Cruisers has low production volume and are quite rare today.

Unsurprisingly, well-preserved examples are highly sought-after by collectors and Land Cruiser enthusiasts worldwide. Even restored BJs with authentic Toyota parts can bring a significant premium at auction. 

While a mint BJ series could easily fetch $100,000 USD, the later BJ25 civilian models looked very similar in appearance and can typically be found between 40-50,000 USD in great condition as of the writing of this post.

 

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