VIDEO: Classic looks and modern power converge in these Land Cruiser restomods

We met the owners of the FJ Company at SEMA last year and were astounded by the level of craftsmanship in their builds. These guys and gals take classic Toyota Land Cruisers and thoroughly modernize the drivetrains so they can be driven in current-day traffic with confidence.

While this is not a new concept, others have done it by swapping Chevy V8s into their Cruisers. The FJ Company wins our hearts by sticking with inline-sixes from the Toyota family — 1FZ motors from 80-series Land Cruisers to be exact. And though the 80-series was only offered with automatics here in the US, the FJ Company mates them to 5-speed manuals. The result is known as the FJ Company Sport.

The builds remove every nut and bolt and reassemble the rigs from the frame up. Not all of their builds are restomods, though. If you prefer the original F-series engine they can rebuild those as well. Here are just a few of their builds, but you can find a lot more on the FJ Company YouTube channel.

 

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16 Responses to VIDEO: Classic looks and modern power converge in these Land Cruiser restomods

  1. Punto8 said:

    I guess we are at the point in our hobby where people think they can charge a good portion of a house for a vintage JTIN! I like the attention to detail but there is no FJ worth 60k or more.

    • Nathan said:

      While I agree, the cost of a professionally built restoration or restomod of such quality is never cheap. The wealthy dictate the market. Toyota FJ40s and other vintage Land Cruisers are en vogue much as air-cooled Porsches from the likes of Singer and Emory are. It’s a case of the interest of the wealthy raising the desirability, and as such the price, of a car. The upside is that in some cases, this saves examples that otherwise would have been lost, but the arguably worse downside is that it makes said classics unattainable for the masses, which is a turnoff to classic cars for would-be enthusiasts and enthusiasts alike, a disservice to the hobby in some ways.

      Once the wealthy get into a hobby, especially one in which there is limited supply, such as a given vintage automobile or motorbike, there’s a good chance most people will get priced out of the market. It’s the curse of the collectible status,as investment-minded individuals will flip their cars for profit down the road, valuing them more as investments than what they were meant to be used as.

      At least the high-end restomod buyers appear to be involved out of passion, not the desire to turn something which is meant to be enjoyed into an idle investment.

      A car that isn’t driven ceases to be a car, as it no longer fulfills the intended purpose of one, becoming anearly pointless statue. Cars run better and are more reliable when they don’t sit, the rubber dry rotting away as fluids go bad and pieces of metal get gunked up or acrue moisture, a fate any restomod and at least some of the restorations by the FJ Company are likely to avoid.

  2. Randy said:

    I’ll agree with most of what Nathan says, though we probably differ on this point: I’d rather see them become “museum pieces,” than going to a junkyard to be stripped and crushed.

    Here’s a good point about their resto-modding them: parts become available for the rest of us. No company is going to make 6 left-front fenders and 9 passenger-side doors; they’ll do a production run. I doubt FJC is hand-pounding the body parts… Lights, interior pieces, glass, etc., become more available.

    I looked on Wikipedia for curb weights, and didn’t see anything, but it says that they have: “. . . slightly larger dimensions than a Jeep CJ,”, so they’re not going to be 4,000#. I wonder then, for the regular folks, if they couldn’t transplant a Toyota truck engine/transmission, aftermarket gauges, etc., in.

    Punto8 – “. . . a good portion of a house . . .?” Not in MY area! 🙂 I cruised their web site; that’s often a WHOLE house where I am!

    Here’s my soapbox moment, and I doubt I’m alone in this:

    Toyota: Build a new version of this! Jeep builds the Wrangler, and it meets whatever standards our overlords have set. THERE IS NO REASON THAT YOU CAN’T.

    The recently-departed FJ was NOT really the successor – this from someone who LOVES them (though can’t afford one…) – it was more of a “Land Cruiser ‘Sport’.”

    Keep the new one *SIMPLE*. No power this, that, and those other things; it’s SUPPOSED TO BE basic and rugged, with that softer, “girlie” stuff as optional. Power tailgate? Unnecessary. Keyless entry? Waste of technology. I’ll go for the back-up camera, but that’s it. Just make sure there’s a power outlet to hook up the aftermarket stereo that *I* choose, from the source that *I* choose. *I’ll* figure out where *I* want the speakers. Carpet? Optional – maybe removable.

    • Nathan said:

      I agree with your point to a degree. I think that it’s better that a car become a museum piece than crushed. That said, that’s a fate only slightly better than being crushed from my view, leaving only the visual beauty of the car and the specs on paper, which are no replacement for experiencing the actual machine in action, whether from the inside or as a spectator. Of course there need to be a few museum pieces for the sake of historic preservation, but I figure there only need to be a few of those.

      I think it’s a catch-22. If it’s better that none are lost, then all become absurdly expensive. If we want the market to be affordable for all, many will vanish. Alas! If only there was a perfect medium of the two, but such is impossible.

      As to your other observation:

      “Toyota: Build a new version of this!”

      Yes, yes, and yes, with an extra helping of yes with a side of yes sauce washed down by a nice glass of yes.

      • Randy said:

        Well, yeah, but I doubt that many would be restored to sit in the living room, either by actual numbers, or by percentages, BUT restorations require parts, and where I was more going with that was that restoration parts will become available.

        I’m not likely to ever have a fully restored, or mint original ANYTHING, *BUT*, the restorers need parts, and those parts would make their way out to the rest of us. Bent up, rusted fenders, missing front panels/grilles, bent bumpers, and doors that no longer latch… Salvage yards probably don’t have too many of these parts that would be usable, so the restos cause these parts to be reproduced.

        I’ll use Greg’s example (below), since I started off with U.S. cars: You could rebuild his ’64 Nova SS to original specs (including the admittedly not #s-matching 230c.i./powerglide) from just the VIN and trim tags, BUT that’s only because the restorers/restomodders caused the parts to go into production. Some higher-end restorers and customizers built cars that most probably couldn’t afford, but the parts came onto the market, so Greg can get a Dark Aqua dash pad with a click, or a phone call.

        THAT’S what I’m hoping happens with these older cars.

        I’m gonna disagree with you about: “If it’s better that none are lost, then all become absurdly expensive.” I like having as many as possible out there: supply-and-demand; not all in mint condition, but usable. Yeah, some will degrade and rust, but if the parts are available, then you can keep it going.

        I WILL agree that they shouldn’t ALL become “mechanical sculptures.”

        I’d feel bad buying a “new” vehicle, then taking it out and getting it all chewed up… I can’t wrap my mind around people spending $60+K for a brand new truck and hauling gravel, so that’s my general mindset…

        How awesome would it be to be able to “recreate” one from a mostly-complete shell you picked up from Desert Valley Auto Parts? Don’t care if it’s running, or complete; don’t care if it’s a “Reconstructed” title. If you want to customize it, okay! Wanna restore it? Sure! Want a diesel-powered plow truck? Go for it! Doesn’t have to be pretty… Rattle can paint job, and let’s hit those trails! “What? Bent the fender on that last trail? Don’t care; got three more at home!”

        To be totally honest, I think I’d prefer that last statement’s outcome. OFTEN, having a ratty vehicle is a LOT more fun. Never had to worry about where to park the $400 car, but the nice car, you kinda gotta watch… (Yeah, I’m the guy who parks – not necessarily *OVER THERE*, but I DO try to park between nicer cars, figuring their owners will be a little more careful, or “away enough.”)

        Wow – that went long… 🙂

        • Randy said:

          Just did a quickie Google search, and came up with Specter Off-Road, Inc. https://www.sor.com/

          I’m sure there are others… Why are they not advertisers on this site? They’d probably have more pull among J-vehicle fans than the general off-road crowd.

          Seein’ body, engine ($$$$!), electrical, etc.

          Now I want to find a solid-condition rat… Where’d I leave that lottery ticket again?

  3. Punto8 said:

    Great comment guys and I agree, in someways, with both of you. But…..these FJs are not all that rare. You can find one or two on CL in most areas. So if they are not so rare, why the $60k plus price tag? It’s not worth it and the market doesn’t justify those prices. You can keep the museum pieces. If it’s undrivable it’s worthless to me.

    • Randy said:

      You go on CL? Man, you’s BRAVE! 🙂

      Here in the salt belt, I cannot tell you the last time I saw one… EASILY 20 years, though Japanese cars weren’t as big then in this area, either… It was a minor family scandal when we found out my one uncle had bought a HONDA!

      The price tag is ’cause they apparently COMPLETELY rebuild them. As professional, full-restorations go, it’s probably not a ridiculous price range…

      I “built” one on their site, took it to like, $125,000, and did NOT get EVERYTHING… They’ll appeal to the Leno types, who have that kind of money between the couch cushions.

      I actually LIKE the digital gauges… I wouldn’t get them in THIS vehicle, but I can think of a few customs I’d put them in.

  4. Matchthebox said:

    I’m a classic FJ 40 fan ever since as a kid although never own one (no money and way too young to drive at that time) 😄 After reading the comments (even before I watched the video) that it cost $60,000 for a non-new rebuilt truck, I say that is definitely outrageous unless I have extra cash to burn or might as well get a new luxury vehicle instead (which would then still leave me without an FJ) ☹️ Sad,sad. Oh well I’m glad I can still fulfill my dream with collectible FJ 40 diecast/resin at a slightly affordable price. And you don’t have to do maintenance on it. LOL.

    • Randy said:

      Or, you could buy a new NON-luxury vehicle, save money, and in a few years, look around for one in good shape… Even THESE will depreciate as they get used, and their owners get tired of them…

      BTW, you see the prices of even MODELS these days? $25 is NOT ridiculous anymore! When I was a kid, I could go to a local hobby shop, and buy a model, and the paints, etc., on my allowance. Now, ONLY adults can afford this hobby, and unfortunately, not many seem to be into it anymore… It’s a great way to shut down. Leave the phone in the other room. Turn off the TV. The grass can wait. “Me time.”

  5. Greg said:

    I think they are great! To buy one, have it restored to the extent that they did, especially with the turn key setup that they have with the motor & ac, etc… price is not too bad. In California where I live those are perfect(the 75 and down no smog years). You’ll have the reliability of a new car in the killer body style of the fj.
    I’m doing basically the same thing with my old cars. I have a 64 nova ss that an ls2, dse subframe with modern brakes & suspension. Modern gauges.. I’m building a turn key car that gets good gas mileage with the reliable. It’s costing me but it’s what I want.
    I have a 72 Toyota corona mx22 that I want to do the same thing to.. 2jz.. the whole ten yards. My 72 Datsun wagon with a ka24de & 5spd is nice with its power & reliability.
    Greg

  6. Gary said:

    So here’s our take on this – take a good look at any mass produced popular classic. For example lets focus on something outside our sphere – an MGB.

    There’s still great supply of low end get in the market examples and at the top end there’s concourse examples worth every cent spent. There’s also ‘rare’ specimens that add yet another layer of cost to entry.

    The J40 series Landcruiser, like the MGB, still has an abundance all around the globe. Way too many to price them simply all unobtainable….

  7. Negishi no Keibajo said:

    I think another part of the equation is the fact that “we” saw these cars as cheaper alternatives to Detroit metal so “we” didn’t take care of them like they deserved and trashed them. How many FJ-V8 projects rusted away in backyards to never see the light of day again? I think our disposable mentality caught up with us.

    I’ve always had a real hard time reconciling the donked 40 series profile C3500 4×4 with a lacquer paint job. But then again, when was the last time we saw an Escalade in 4WD at the “Farmer’s Market” conquering the menacing speed bumps? Don’t you dare put that Christmas Tree on my “Jeep”!!! Sixty. Kay. Hmmm.

    These FJ’s look FauxBro. Stop the over-restoration.OK, I’ll see myself to the door…

    • Randy said:

      There’s a Hummer H1 I’ve seen in the next neighborhood. ALL black, and REALLY shiny. Unfortunately, it has the big wheels/way-low-profiles tires (“Baloney Skins”). It’s sharp, but pointless.

  8. Ben Hsu said:

    Well, there’s always the Montero.

    • Randy said:

      Now ya did it – THOSE ae going to skyrocket now! 🙂

      Have Isuzu Troopers gone wild yet? I don’t remember, except that they ALSO are very well-regarded.

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