20 Series Land Cruiser Specifications

It was the second world war. Japan had just taken control of the Philippines and the Americans had left some Jeeps behind. The Imperial Japanese Army were so impressed, they took one back to Japan and commanded Toyota to make them one, just make sure it didn't look like the American version. This birthed a lightweight truck named the AK10 for the Japanese military but it was never used in the field. It wasn't until the 1950s where the Korean War, being right on Japan's doorstep, created a new demand for a light utility vehicle for that campaign. Japan and Toyota, being newly acquired friends, were actually asked to build new Willys spec Jeep and thus the Toyota Jeep Bj was developed. This vehicle was larger than the original Jeep but had no low range transfer case. By 1953 regular production of this Jeep was began after Toyota's test driver drove it up Mount Fuji, breaking the vehicle altitude record and orders began.


1954 saw the name "Land Cruiser" coined because Toyota wanted to compete with the UK's Land Rover but wanted a name that would not sound any less dignified. Imagine if they had gone with Corolla or Blue Bird! 1955 rolled around and the second generation 20 series was introduced. Toyota built it with civilians in mind and to appeal to an export market. It had longer four plate leaf springs and a 3.9 L gas six cylinder. The FJ25 was the first Toyota vehicle built outside of Japan when production started in Brazil in 1958. In 1957 They made it even bigger in the 4 door FJ35 and importation began in Australia where the Aussies were just bringing in the chassis and making bodies themselves.

By the end of the 1950s, the FJ was born and I am sorry to say, it sure was ugly :-)