If you have an old Land Cruiser there is probably no better place to get it customized than Toyota itself. At the 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon what appeared to be a yellow FJ40 was displayed, but it was no ordinary Land Cruiser. The FJ40 body was mated to a J70 chassis, and it was there to promote a semi-official customization shop run by Toyota.
The shop is called Land Cruiser Base and is located in Kariya, Aichi Prefecture and is operated by Toyota Auto Body. It sounds like a shop, but Toyota Auto Body is a wholly owned subsidiary of Toyota itself and runs several factories. These factories build the Land Cruiser and Lexus LX, as well as many other models such as the Alphard, Vellfire, HiAce, and more.
It’s similar to how Mitsubishi’s Pajero Manufacturing Co. Ltd. built the Pajero and Delica. Toyota Auto Body also builds specialty vehicles like the Toyota HiMedic ambulance, which is based off of a HiAce, as well as Toyota’s Dakar Rally Land Cruisers. Since Toyota Auto Body is where the Land Cruiser is born, the custom FJ40 is as close to a factory restomod as one can get.
Toyota Auto Body calls this rig the Land Cruiser 40×70. It uses a 2002 model year HZJ71 as the foundation. The FJ40 body wasn’t a direct fit, and had to be stretched by 6.5 inches. Extra sheetmetal was fabricated and welded into place for a seamless look. The only visible clue that something’s amiss is are some slight welding marks on the underside of the hood and inside of the fenders. Toyota Auto Body craftsmen also modified the electrical system to merge the FJ40’s 24-volt system with the J70’s modern 12-volt system.
The yellow Cruiser was unveiled at the 2023 Tokyo Auto Salon, but at the time it was wearing a display sign where the license plate should be. This year, it was displayed proudly with a Mikawa, Aichi license plate. That means the builders were actually able to register the car through Japan’s notoriously stringent Shaken inspection. To get it passed, they had to reupholster the seats, carpeting, headliner, and other interior fabrics with modern flame-resistant materials.
Furthermore, the 2002 HZ-series diesel that powers the J70 is no longer compliant with modern emissions standards. Many urban areas, Aichi included, no longer permit diesels older than a certain age to be registered, according to Motor-Fan, Representatives at the Auto Salon didn’t disclose how they did it, but leave it to Toyota to figure out how to clean up the engine and get it passed.
Land Cruiser Base was soft-opened last summer, but now it’s official Toyota Auto Body launched the Land Cruiser Base website a few days before the Auto Salon and have opened its doors to inspections, service, and customization of all kinds of Cruisers. They even plan to develop Land Cruiser parts in the future. With Toyota Auto Body and TOM’s, a semi-works Toyota racing team, getting in on the restomod business, it’s never been a better time to be a classic Toyota owner in Japan.