VIDEO: Chip Foose draws an FJ40 Land Cruiser

Custom car designer Chip Foose is famous for his amazing takes on American cars from Detroit’s the golden age. He’s not typically drawing Japanese cars, but in a series produced for Hagerty, Foose takes his pen to one of the blue chip classics that’s transcended enthusiast scenes and generations, the FJ40 Land Cruiser.

Before we get into the drawing, we have to make a correction to Foose’s FJ40 history at the start of the video. Foose says that the FJ40 was created when the Japanese military found a US Army Jeep in the Phillippines, sent it back to Japan and asked Toyota to build a vehicle like it, but change the appearance. He then holds up a photo of the FJ40.

However, that story isn’t quite accurate. The Japanese military did discover a US Army Bantam Reconnaissance Car, an early Jeep made by the Bantam Car Company. Sources vary on whether it was in the Philippines or Malaysia, but they ordered Toyota to build a vehicle like it, modifying the look so that it wouldn’t be confused for an enemy vehicle on the battlefield. However, that vehicle was the Toyota AK10 (pictured above). It never reached full-scale mass production.

Funnily enough, enemies eventually become allies, and when the Korean War broke out in 1950 the US Army quickly needed an off-road vehicle. It had to be built in Japan, so it could be quickly shipped to the front lines. That vehicle became the BJ-series, which eventually evolved in to the FJ20, FJ30, and finally, in 1960, the FJ40. While there are similarities between the FJ40 and Jeep, we think it’s inaccurate to say the design of the FJ40 was copied from the Bantam.

In any case, Foose is a superbly talented artist, and sketches his version of an FJ40. He doesn’t change much, only deleting the fender-mounted turn signals and adding driving lights to the bumper. He also adds some flare to the rear wheel arch to bring it in-line with the front fenders.

This isn’t the first time Foose has drawn an FJ40, either. Six years ago, he was at a Toyota-sponsored event in Peru and drew a similar FJ40, rear fender flares and all.

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4 Responses to VIDEO: Chip Foose draws an FJ40 Land Cruiser

  1. Mark F Newton-John said:

    For those who aren’t familiar with Toyota’s model codes, the first letter, or two if there are three letters in the code, designates the engine, the second (or third letter) is the chassis code. So the BJ-series means B-engine, J-Land Cruiser. Then the best known has the F engine (FJ40)
    The current model with the V-8 is the UZJ200.

  2. speedie said:

    While I am a fan of Chip’s designs, the videos he is doing for Hagerty indicate to me that he misses his old show and has been isolated by Covid for too long. His redesigns focus on removing things that distract the eye, which are often compromises from production/regulation requirements. His design ethic is definitely in the purity of line and less is more school of thought.

  3. My_fairlady_ZFG said:

    I would take a Toyota Camry All-trac wagon with a manual transmission and a few inches of lift. I would paint the exterior with dark green bed-liner, and mount a light bar on the roof rack and rally lights on the front because I can and because no one can stop me. I’d have a overlanding tent on the roof as well and I’m really really bad weather, I could stretch out in the back of the car. I love Camrys despite how everyone rags on them. I learned to drive in my moms Camry, learned to be irresponsible in my grandparents Camry on solo cruises, and just really learned to appreciate them for what they are, what they can do, and how reliable they are. My mom has had her Camry since I was 8, and almost 300,000 miles later still runs like a champ. Nothing has ever gone wrong aside for a relay issue causing the ac to cut out, and it burns oil because the engine wansnt broken in correctly by the people who had it before us, but it’s an amazing car, and I love it. Does anyone know how fast a Camry can go? People shouldn’t hate on it until they’ve taken it up to the top speed. The Camrys reliability combined with the all wheel drive of the All-trac would make it a great car to drive around the world. Will it win? I don’t care. If I’m driving around the world, best believe I’m going to be liking out the window at the scenery. For me, the journey really is about exploring what’s on the way.

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