Junkyard Gem: 1987 Toyota Land Cruiser

Murilee Martin
·2 min read


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When Toyota began selling the FJ60 wagon version of the Land Cruiser here in 1980, Colorado drivers rejoiced. Finally, a Land Cruiser built to mid-apocalyptic Warlord Grade™ standards of sturdiness but with luxurious-by-early-1980s-truck-standards pre-apocalyptic appointments inside! I still see these trucks all over Denver streets, but they don't often appear at the local self-service car graveyards. Still, even FJ60s can decay to a point at which they are no longer worth keeping alive, and that's what happened to this '87 in a Denver yard.

This odometer reading seems low by Toyota truck standards, especially when I see discarded All-Trac Previas with more than 300,000 miles on the clock, or even 4WD Tercels with better than 400k miles.

With the early-2000s Colorado state-park passes on the windshield, we see evidence that this truck may have been parked nearly 20 years ago and rotted in a driveway or back yard since that time.

The early Land Cruisers got pushrod straight-six engines that were license-built copies of the 1930s Chevrolet Stovebolt. Toyota refined and improved this design all the way into the early 1990s, which means that the FJ60 and the 1953 Corvette share common engine ancestry. This is the 2F, rated at 135 horsepower in 1987.

Is that a carburetor on a 1987 Toyota? Believe it or not, base-model US-market Toyota Trucks (known as Hiluxes elsewhere) had carbs through 1988, as did the Tercel. A handful of manufacturers kept carburetors alive here into the early 1990s, but electronic fuel injection was taking over the automotive world long before. We can assume that the warlords who bought Land Cruisers in 1987 preferred fuel-delivery technology that could be fixed with simple tools between bouts of low-intensity desert combat.

Those of you with 1980s Cressidas might recognize these dash switches as the good stuff Toyota saved for high-end machinery. That round blue A/C button also went into the final Coronas sold here (and therefore into my Turbo II Junkyard Boogaloo Boombox, where it serves as the main power switch).

Most of these trucks came with manual transmissions, even in the United States, though you could get a four-speed Aisin automatic late in the FJ60's production run.

This one seemed a bit nice to be here, what with the crazy high prices for FJ60s lately, but the rust may have been sufficiently severe to deter would-be rescuers from bidding on this truck at the pre-junkyard auction.

The interior looks to have been in good condition before the junkyard shoppers starting plucking out parts.

Did I buy this emblem for my collection of garage art? Of course I did!

Down Under, Land Cruiser shoppers preferred the turbocharged diesel FJ60.

Australia got all the best Land Cruiser ads.