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FJ55: Toyota Land Cruiser

The rear of a tan 55 Series Land Cruiser parked on a hill in Africa overlooking a vast landscape.

Toyota Land Cruiser 55 Series (1967-1980)

The 55 Series, hit the automotive scene in 1967, marking a significant milestone in Land Cruiser history. The FJ55 blended utilitarian toughness with a touch of urban grace, became a beloved choice among off-road enthusiasts and city dwellers alike. With its robust build, reliable performance, and iconic design, the 55 Series is a perfect choice for both adventurers and daily drivers alike.

Exterior and Design:

The Land Cruiser 55 Series maintains the classic and boxy design characteristic of earlier Land Cruiser models. However, it introduced some design updates and a more refined appearance. The front grille received a fresh look, and the overall body lines were smoother, giving it a touch of modernity while retaining its rugged charm. It was available in various body styles, including a two-door wagon, a four-door wagon, and a two-door pickup.

Engine and Performance:

The FJ55 came equipped with different engine options, depending on the market. Common choices included:

  • [1960-1975] F-Series 3.9 liter inline 6 making: 105-125 hp  (75-93 kW) and 189-209 lb·ft (261-289 N·m) at 2000 rpm (depending on destination market and local emissions standards)
  • [1975-1984] 2F 4.2-liter inline 6-cylinder gasoline engine making 135 HP at 3600 RPM and 235 lb-ft of torque at 1800 RPM. (loosely based on the Chevy 235 used in the C1 Corvette).

 

Transmission and Drivetrain:

Similar to its predecessors, the Land Cruiser 55 Series featured a 3-speed manual transmission, with an optional 4-speed manual on select models. It also had a part-time 4-wheel-drive system with low range, giving drivers the flexibility to engage or disengage the front-wheel-drive as needed. The 55 series Land Cruiser came out with a similar 3.73 gear ratio to its predecessor with an update to 3.70 in the 1979 model year with the introduction of a new 30-spline rear end.

Suspension and Brakes

The Toyota Land Cruiser FJ55 features a solid axle leaf spring suspension both in the front and rear. This type of suspension is known for its durability and ability to handle rough terrains, a feature that contributed to the Land Cruiser’s reputation for ruggedness.

Like its predecessors, the 55 Series originally came with drum brakes on both the front and rear wheels. However, during the vehicle’s production run from 1967 to 1980, there were changes in the brake system. Starting around July 1970, Toyota introduced a front disc brake option for this model.

Interior and Comfort:

One of the notable improvements in the Land Cruiser 55 Series was the enhanced comfort and convenience for passengers. The interior featured improved seating and interior materials, making long journeys more comfortable. Depending on the model and trim, the cabin could accommodate up to six or nine passengers. While still prioritizing durability and functionality, the Land Cruiser 55 Series provided a more refined interior experience compared to earlier models.

Production Numbers and Rarity:

The Land Cruiser 20 Series was only produced for 5 years, with healthy demand throughout the production run, but far less units produced than some other models.

While it’s difficult to know exactly how many FJ20s are on the road today it’s safe to assume the number of models on the road today makes this one of the rarer variants available for purchase.

Collector’s Value and Considerations:

According to the Land Cruiser experts at IH8mud, around 1000 of the approximately 10,000 FJ55s that were manufactured are still on the road today.

While some would put the actual number in the 100s, it’s safe to say the 55 series is one of the rarer Land Cruisers available for purchase today.

Restoration and Parts Availability:

While OEM parts are very difficult to come by, there is a robust enthusiast community and several aftermarket parts manufacturers making upgrades for these units.

It’s important to note that most of the aftermarket parts available for the FJ55 today are built as upgrades to the original design. Popular modifications include suspension lifts, all terrain tires with  modern aggressive tread patterns, upgraded differentials and more.

Common Problems and Issues

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