HISTORY OF LANDCRUISER
Early Days The original LandCruiser design concept was developed in 1950 from a military style vehicle and was to be called the ‘Toyota Jeep’. In fact the original ‘BJ’ model name was derived from the B-type engine, in a ‘J-type’ Jeep body. For obvious reasons, the name was changed to Land Cruiser, and eventually LandCruiser.The first BJ25 LandCruiser model commenced production in 1954 with 298 units leaving the factory. Just 4 years later, with demand proving strong, that number grew to 2887 units.Since the iconic model’s introduction to Australia to 1958, well over half a million LandCruisers have been sold. Australians have bought more than one in 10 of all LandCruisers ever built, making this country the largest single market for the iconic offroader. Among the first customers in 1958 was construction magnate Sir Leslie Theiss, who bought several for use on the rugged construction site trails of a hydroelectric tunnel in the Snowy Mountains. Strong Market Impressed by the vehicle, Sir Leslie became the Queensland and later New South Wales distributor for the Toyota brand. Thanks to his business acumen, there were almost 4000 Toyota vehicles in Australia by 1964, half of them LandCruisers. The original FJ25 short-wheelbase model and its FJ28 long-wheelbase variant featured a canvas hood, a 3.6-litre six-cylinder engine and a single-range fourspeed transmission driving the rear wheels. In 1962 it was superseded by the FJ43/45 series, featuring for the first time Toyota lettering across the radiator grille and a three-speed, dual range transmission. The following year saw the introduction of a military-style wagon variant. In 1965, the FJ40 was introduced in both soft-top and hardtop forms and powered by a 3.9-litre engine, its arrival boosting LandCruiser sales to 150 a month. LandCruiser’s popularity grew further with the introduction in 1969 of the FJ55 series - the first LandCruiser designed specifically for civilian rather than military use. New Technology The first LandCruiser Wagon subsequently arrived and, in 1972, the four-speed six-cylinder HJ45 diesel powered LandCruiser ute was introduced to appeal to rural buyers. In 1975 new engines in the form of a 4.2-litre petrol and a 3.0-litre diesel were introduced, the diesel providing a huge boost to rural sales. In 1980 the FJ60 wagon and variants were introduced, including a 4.0-litre diesel. The following year, the 100,000th LandCruiser arrived in Australia. An entirely new generation appeared in 1985 with the 70, 73 and 75 Series models, as well as the four cylinder petrol-engined Bundera. In 1989 the military-style 70 Series and the 80 Series long-wheelbase wagon received a new overhead-cam 4.2-litre diesel engine and the following year the 80 Series gained full-time four wheel drive. An Australian Classic In 1994, Australian sales of LandCruiser passed the 300,000 mark, the 350,000 mark being reached just two years later. In 1998 LandCruiser celebrated the model’s 40th year in Australia with the introduction of the new generation 100 Series range. In 2002 the 100 Series received an all-new quad cam V8 engine and five-speed transmission along with numerous further refinements. LandCruiser has been one of Toyota Australia’s real success stories. It took 42 years to clock up the first 400,000 sales and only another 5 years to increase that to 500,000. The Toyota LandCruiser has been Australia’s number one choice in the large 4WD category for several decades. With the launch of the new 200 series, LandCruiser is bound to stay at the very top. After all — it is TOP OF THE FOOD CHAIN.