QotW: What’s the best Japanese nostalgic SUV?


We’ve asked you before what’s the coolest Japanese nostalgic truck, and the comments were as diverse as they were plentiful thanks to Nihon having pioneered the mini-truck segment altogether. However, Japan was also building SUVs before the term SUV even existed, back when they were still called four-wheel-drives. Nevertheless, we ask:

What’s the coolest Japanese nostalgic SUV?

From Suzuki Jimny rock crawlers to Mitsubishi Pajero Dakar dominators, there have been plenty of great off roaders. However, if there was one that has moved humanity to the farthest reaches of planet Earth, it would be the Toyota Land Cruiser. It comes in second only to the 2000GT in terms of collectible Toyotas, but it was the first Japanese car to have, like the Mustang or Camaro, its own retro-styled tribute.

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining or inspiring comment by next Monday will receive a toy. Click through to see the winner from last week’s question, “What’s the worst thing about loving JNCs?” 


JNCers shared many tales of heartache in response to this question, but the heartachiest came from ErikFM and the tale of his Datsun 510:


From waking up in the extremely cold mornings and trying to heat up your car just to START it, running late because you just HAD to leave the car running for 10 minutes to make sure she’s all prepped and ready to go. As you start to pull out, you see oil on the concrete where your JNC slumbers, and drop to your knees to find the leak.

Then, on the way to work, that all too familiar rattle noise starts to get louder and louder and you pull over to investigate why, but still can’t find a reason. So you spend your day wondering what the hell it was, and if it’s safe to drive home. After a nervous ride home, you spend your free time researching the possible causes, stripping the whole car down for the 3rd time this month not finding anything. The remainder of your free time goes to forums asking questions trying to find a possible answer, and to do more research on them. You then realize it’s past 3am, and you’ve spent the night looking at parts for JNCs you don’t have, at prices you can’t afford. And you STILL haven’t replaced that rusty floorboard that is desperately calling your attention. That asshole on the forum didn’t reply to you if he would sell you that one-of-a-kind-ultra-rare-part yet either.

After thinking about that paint job you’ll finally get next paycheck, you realize that you have a great date tonight, and girls just LOVE the smell of gasoline and lap belts, not to mention that rattle noise still hasn’t dissapated. You question to yourself if your JNC will even drive successfully for extended amounts of time.

So you go back to your job, to fund a car that you use to go to work, but constantly breaks down, so your money goes back into fixing it instead of upgrading it. A Catch 22 for sure, your finances are stuck in limbo.

But it’s worth it all to me. There is nothing I love more than waking up every morning, peering outside my windows and seeing a bright yellow ’72 510 sitting comfortably, and knowing that 40 years have passed, and this car, no, HISTORY is still here today.

(Albeit in a frankenstein, parts from other donors kind of way.)

Omedetou! Your inspiring comment has earned you a rare Hot Wheels Super Speeders mystery pack Mazda RX-7!


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13 Responses to QotW: What’s the best Japanese nostalgic SUV?

  1. Nigel says:

    Why do you guys keep answering the QotW of the week with my answers ?
    (So now I must change my answer to the Nissan Pathfinder).

  2. Dave says:

    I love Land Cruisers, but I love Mitsubishi Pajeros almost as much. How many Paris-Dakar rallies did your truck win?

  3. kazz77 says:

    I think the 1st gen Toyota 4runner, the FJ40 land cruiser is almost impossible to find these days. The 4runner is accessible cheap and virtually indestructible, and there still around today.

  4. Alvin says:

    Not really as significant as the Toyota Land Cruiser or the Mitsubishi Pajero, but probably still pretty sturdy- Isuzu Trooper.

    Probably still more reliable than your average Range Rover and still found in some rural areas I would imagine.

  5. James says:

    This 1973 Mitsubishi Jeep powered by a 2.2 inline 4 running on charcoal gas.

    Its brilliant that someone put the time and effort in to restoring such an old car to a pristine condition, yet modified the engine to run on such an unusual fossil fuel.

  6. norman521 says:

    International harvester scout ii with the factory installed Nissan diesel. Just to be different…

  7. jon says:

    Has to be the Land Cruiser. While the U.S. has the Humvee, the rest of the world has the Land Cruiser.

  8. dickie says:

    How about the awesomely capable and equally rare Nissan Patrol? I am a Toyota guy at heart, but a chance encounter with one at the end of its undoubtedly utilitarian life cycle had me rethinking my position. After all, I see all manner of Land Cruisers from just about every generation driving around on a daily basis, but seeing what was arguably the last decent truck Nissan made is something I’d consider a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing.


    ^ Here’s a link to my post with the pictures I grabbed while I was there. Everything you need and nothing you don’t was obviously the mantra at the time this was designed and assembled, a far cry from the hulking SUV’s you see clogging the roads today. I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone bragging about their Pathfinder or Armada’s off-road capabilities and ruggedness.

    Sold in the US from 1962-1969, this truck predates the term “SUV,” and seeing it reminded me of being a kid and everything that looked like this was a “Jeep,” trademarks and brand names aside. I don’t think that disqualifies it though; I feel like it makes it even more of a QOTW contender than later models more deserving of the acronym.

  9. pstar says:

    I’m having trouble with registration for the forums. At the bottom there is a secutiy/anti-spam question: “?vanna (write the complete word):” My first attempt I typed literally “?vanna”. Since this was incorrect, the message was “?chiro (write the complete word):” So I tried just “chiro”. Also wrong. Then I was locked out from even trying again. How are you supposed to register?

    Oh yeah and this weeks Q is obviously the FJ40. This is like asking “What’s the best rear-engined German sportscar? Yeah, you can find contrarians, but still…even they don’t buy their own argument. Come on.

  10. Arend says:

    suzuki sj410 longbody

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