There are car anniversaries that somehow pass by fairly silently. Take the Toyota Land Cruiser's seventieth birthday, for example, which was not celebrated with too much drum roll. It also fits the Toyota icon, because that is modest in all its grandeur. Or modest in grandeur. Nevertheless, we are happy to commemorate the XNUMXth anniversary of the Land Cruiser, which for generations has been counted among the very strongest in the world.
In 1941 Japan occupied the Philippines. The occupiers found an old Bantam Mk II Jeep there and shipped it to the homeland. There, Toyota was instructed by the authorities to make a similar vehicle on the basis of this. The result was the AK prototype. With results. After the war, Jeep gave Toyota permission to build the cars under license. It was a harbinger of what would become one of the most powerful cars in the world.
The Toyota Land Cruiser was introduced in 1951 as BJ was born, and its genesis actually lay in the United States of America. In the early 100s, the Korean War was in full swing, and in order to operate properly in Korea, the Americans placed an order for 1954 new Jeeps. Toyota was asked to build these cars. and it soon became clear what the Toyota Jeeps could do. This was the first car to reach the Sixth Stage of Mount Fuji. And that while the BJ was still in the prototype stage. Impressed, the National Police Agency placed an order for the Toyota Jeep BJ, which was initially only available on special order. At the Toyota headquarters people became convinced, and the BJ was officially called Land Cruiser from XNUMX. The regular production of the BJ had started a year earlier.
From 1955/1956, the Land Cruiser also became a spearhead for Toyota to introduce the phenomenon of quality and reliability to a larger part of the world. Meanwhile, the "20 series" had been introduced and Toyota wanted to conquer the world with it. Thus, the FJ25 became the first Toyota to be produced outside Japan. That happened in Brazil, where the Landcruiser was called Bandeirante from 1962. Toyota installed a Mercedes-Benz diesel engine in the Land Cruiser from 1962. And so the 4WD Toyota got its own chapter in South America. The Bandeirante was renewed in 1968 and on that basis it ran fairly unchanged until 2001.
The basis of the 1968 Bandeirant was the 40 series of the Land Cruiser. That was a real long-runner, it lasted no less than 24 years. It was available for various application areas and in numerous versions, delivery options and with various engines. This series was also the first Land Cruiser with a Toyota diesel engine. This 3.6 H power unit was added to the Land Cruiser program during the first half of the 40s. That turned out to be an excellent move, especially with the energy sentiment at the time, and the combination was also striking. Later, several diesels would follow for the 3.8 series, which, for example, was also supplied with 4.2 and XNUMX liter petrol engines.
In 1984 the next evergreen in the Land Cruiser range was introduced and that was the 70 Series. This one is still being built. Of course, the technology and appearance have been adapted over time, but it is significant that the 70 Series is still being built. In fact, the WHO recently recognized the Land Cruiser 78 as the first vehicle to meet the requirements for transporting refrigerated vaccines. The news passed everyone quite silently, but Toyota also got this feat just for each other.
Back to history. Early on, the Japanese varied wildly with the Land Cruiser. For example, the station wagon appeared based on the 40 series, and in 1967 the 55 series had also come. Those were the versions that drew the Land Cruiser into the atmosphere of the comfort-oriented models. Toyota continued to stick to the heavy-duty series, and with the arrival of the 70-series they also opened the range of lighter light-duty variants, better known as the Land Cruiser Prado. At that time, the popular 60-series had been in high demand for a number of years and we don't mention it for nothing. Today this version - together with the 40 series and all variants - is a welcome guest in classic country. For example, the director of Toyota and Lexus Netherlands, Jan Christiaan Koenders, also has one.
Ah. From the first BJ to the most recent 300 series. There is so much to tell about all those different Land Cruiser generations and versions, which were often and still are built next to each other. But the great variation in models and versions, the continuous development and above all the primal reliability that characterizes every Landcruiser in every corner of the world says it all. This combination means that this primal force Toyota's all over the world and in the most inhospitable areas connect people and reach people. And you know that regardless of environment, a Land Cruiser will always return to base. That reputation was not without consequences, as Toyota continued to gain ground at the expense of the established European 4 x 4 order in the world. A development that started decades ago.
Every Land Cruiser deserves praise, without the car itself asking for it. That is not necessary. Really good wine does not need a wreath, no matter how pleasantly reliable the aftertaste is. This Japanese wine does not mislead anyone. Doesn't ask for cult status. From the moment the BJ climbed Mount Fuji as a prototype, the Landcruiser in numerous generations and versions shows what Above and Beyond really means, without shouting it from the rooftops. Toyota is not like that. That is not necessary. Simply because they have been building the best 4 x 4 in its segment for years. By far.
Cheers, Land Cruiser!