If you’re going to spend your life fighting unstoppable robots from a post-apocalyptic hellscape, there’s probably no better vehicle to drive than a Toyota Land Cruiser. It’s tough as nails, can go anywhere and, most importantly, is dead reliable. There’s nothing worse than suffering some terrible electrical malady as you’re trying to escape a mindless killing machine. And of all the Land Cruisers, the 80-Series might just be the ideal generation.
As indestructible as they are, earlier FJ40s and FJ60s are too slow for the routine high-speed pursuits you’ll endure. A stock FJ60 has only four gears and spins pretty high on the rev counter even at 65 mph. The 80, especially the 1993-97 models, run a 24-valve 1FZ straight-six that won’t have any problem getting up to illegal speeds, and have the option of triple locking diffs from the factory in case you need to climb a mountain of dusty human skulls. And unlike the newer 100-Series Cruisers, 80s are still old school enough to retain a solid front axle, for rock-strewn environments when you must hide off-grid or venture to your remote weapons cache.
Of course, this isn’t the first time Toyotas have featured prominently in the Terminator world. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines in 2003 included a pretty epic car chase with a 165-ton crane and a then-new Tundra pickup. There, it was a result of product placement and Toyota’s sponsorship of the movie, which also resulted a gratuitous scene involving a Lexus SC430 and a T3 Special Edition Tundra you could actually buy.
The new Terminator movie marks the return of original creator James Cameron’s involvement with the franchise, and he has said that it will effectively wipe T3 and the other movies from the official timelines (Sorry, Tundra!). Cameron has also said that he likes to pair the heroes with smaller vehicles while giving the villains the largest ones possible, even if they’re not typically car chase fare — such as John Connor’s dirtbike in Terminator 2: Judgement Day versus a Freightliner tow truck — to represent the frailness of humans against the strength and power of machines.
Unfortunately for the human resistance, 80-Series Land Cruisers are surging in price. Well-kept examples with triple lockers sell for nearly $15,000, even with well over 250,000 miles on the odometer. Mint ones with fewer than 60,000 miles can trade for an eye-watering $42,000, even without the locking diffs. Hopefully Connor has a few stashed away.