Earlier this week we asked what classic Japanese car would be the best investment. Turns out the answer may not be a car at all, but a Japanese nostalgic truck. During the height of the Arizona auto auctions this past week, FJ40 Toyota Land Cruisers continued to fetch ever-higher prices. When all was said and done at Gooding & Co. the 1979 FJ40 above went for $61,600 including fees.
Every January the Scottsdale, Arizona area is ground zero to bidding frenzies held by no less than five major houses. Last year they brought in a combined $182 million. This year, at RM Auctions, the gavel came down on a beautiful Freeborn Red 1978 FJ40 restored by our friends at The Finishing Touch — known best around these parts for their Mazda Cosmo Sport and Mazda R360 restos — for 77,000.
And finally, at Barrett-Jackson’s money spewing free-for-all a 1981 FJ40 with blueprinted 4.2L straight six crossed the block at a whopping $88,000. It’s interesting to note that none of these cars appear to have their original suspensions.
I have to wonder what is causing these berserk bids.
Also, alot of these Trucks that i’ve seen in my area are owned by the fringes of society. Political Activists, hippies, etc. Who will let these things get clapped out and rust to the ground.
Toyota Landcruisers have been great investments as compared to their American counterpart, the JEEP for 20 years. The vast majority of owners of TLCs nationwide are divided into two camps; rock crawlers who don’t enjoy breaking down (like their Jeep buddies), and those who enjoy factory original TLCs and buy them as investments. I fit the second category, and have made money on every one I’ve owned. Can’t say this about JEEP !!!
i can’t believe i actually agree with cj up there… well, the rest of you don’t get all excited they’ll be a “trickle down” increase in your jnc
One word: showpiece. “Hey babe, check out the new showpiece I got for the auto collection. I needed something rugged and manly to park between the 356 and the GT40, so I picked up this old red Jeep. I bet you didn’t know that back in 1978, Jeep used to own Toyota. In ’79 Chrysler went bankrupt, and Iacocca sold off Toyota to the Japanese. I blame Carter. It took six years of Reagan for Toyota to come back to America, but it was never the same. What you are looking at here is piece of automotive history.”
LOL, if this should really win the CotW!
Believe it or not a lot of buyer of the FJ’s at these big US auctions are foreigners from Brazil and other South American countries. They trucks are BIG out there.
That is strange, since Americans are just as eager to import many of the TLC varieties offered in South America that were never sold in the US. I’d rather own a well-used 70 series over an impeccably restored FJ40 any day.
Retired South African businessmen trying to re-live the “glory” years.
Landcruisers are legendary. They’re just about all you see across the outback of Australia.
If there is one correctly restored FJ40 that would be worthy of the ridiculous bids it would receive should it ever cross the auction block, it is this one: http://www.tlca.org/trails/2012/0910/toyotafest.shtml
Oh wait; it isn’t red, and it doesn’t have Warn locking hubs. Never mind.
I like original trucks with original paint better than restorations. I have seen some that still look like new with less than 10,000 miles.
You guys have no clue as to WHY TLCs bring such high prices….
First of all, they engineered and manufactured to be reliable in the worst possible conditions. On my recent trip to Tanzania, the ONLY vehicles used by ALL safari companies on the Serengetti Plain is the Toyota Landcruiser. Why?? They stated that it was the only vehicle over the past 30 years that was reliable. They tried Land Rovers and JEEPs with no success.
Secondly, the quality of construction of the TLC FJ40 far exceeds its American rival, the JEEP. Toyota puts more steel in their battery box (40 Lbs) than JEEP puts in their engine!!!
When one bolt would suffice for JEEP, Toyota uses three.
Thirdly, if you want a vehicle that REALLY can travel to hell and back, you buy a Toyota. They are predominant in the Middle East, South America, Africa, Canada. Jeeps are cheaper; why isn’t the world using them to cross the wilderness (instead of Toyota)? Because you can’t depend on a JEEP to do so.
Just ran across your site. Interesting to see how the old Toyota FJ-40’s have gone up in value. In hindsight, I should have kept both of mine. I owned a 1976 FJ-40 with the split double-door rear tailgate, and a “78 with the swing away one piece tailgate. They were reliable, would go almost anywhere, and indestructible. Kind of like driving a small tank. The differentials are the size of those on a three ton dump truck, the main output shaft to the driveline is three times thicker than that of a Jeep. If you couldn’t find a trail in the brush you just made one, they were heavy and solid and unstoppable. Three feet of snow was easy going up a closed fire service road in the mountains. The Forest Rangers were astonished to see us come up the back side of a ridge line they thought was impassable. in the winter. You had to keep your thumbs outside the steering wheel as the kickback from the front tires pulling and slipping was so powerful. Going through water crossing creeks the Cruiser would create a bow wave as water came over the hood, and just keep going. When I got cut off in traffic and had to brake hard and rolled the FJ onto it’s side, passers by helped roll it back upright ,and it just kept going. When I got rear ended at a stop light by a pickup truck going 45mph it just sat there, and the pickup was smashed back to the windshield. No damage to the FJ. When I got stuck 400 feet up a very steep dirt trail and slipped sideways due to no front lockers, and the rear wheel came up off the ground about 2 feet the front wheels had enough shock travel to drop into a hole and kept the FJ from rolling over and bouncing down the hillside with my big carpentry tool box loose inside the cab. When I got into a deep tide pool in a riverbed leading to the Pacific by mistake the old six cylinder pulled itself out with two cylinders still firing even though the engine was under water. The FJ would go through mud, sands, dunes, rocky trails, brush, and never falter. I also owned a Jeep Grand Cherokee, a Jeep Wrangler, and a Ford f-150 4X4 pickup. None were as tough as the Land Cruiser. The new ones are nothing like the old FJ-40’s, but based on my experience Toyota knows how to make some very tough vehicles. I doubt the investors now will take them off road, but that’s what they were built for.