Saturday, April 16, 2011


As I wrote here at LETTER TO TOYOTA: WHY CAN'T I BUY THIS TRUCK IN THE USA... back last year in May, and here as well MORE RANTS ABOUT WHY I CAN'T BUY TOYOTA LANDCRUISER PICKUP TRUCK IN AMERICA, we Americans have been denied the ability to purchase some very cool vehicles. Those of us who appreciate a rugged cool Landcruiser and can't afford or don't want the luxury SUV the Landcruiser has evolved into and yearn for the days of a great ride but with some technological advances in electronics and suspension and other areas in the past twenty + years since this vehicle has been marketed in America.

Watching the various revolutions and uprisings and battles and wars going on in the Middle East and seemingly all over Africa, one sees these Landcruiser pickup trucks and the modernized version of the Landcruiser FJ-60 5 door SUV EVERYWHERE.

So to import one of these babies you have to have all kinds of Americanization done to them for thousands and thousands of dollars and it takes months and months and federal red tape and all sorts of customs paperwork and a guy like me can't afford it.

I wonder why Toyota doesn't market a truck like this here? They make it elsewhere, and it would be relatively cheap on a large basis to modify it to fit American safety and pollution standards from the start. I mean, they already have all the parts from other vehicles, it's just a matter of adding them to the design.

A rugged truck like this has so many uses for a normal fellow who not only enjoys outdoors activities that need a 4x4 to do but one who has a missus who has projects for her man when he's not out running around. True, Toyota makes several great 4x4 trucks, but none are rugged like the Landcruiser truck.

The other trucks do have some  features that are nice, like extended cabs or double cabs and long beds on double cabs for a sporting truck. Ideally, in an ideal world for El Fisho and the thousands of Landcruiser FJ-60 afficiandos out there, would settle for even the hatchback 4 door version of the FJ-60 Landcruiser sold here in the USA until 1991.

The updated overseas versions are nice, as many of my friends who have worked or fished or hunted or trekked overseas have invariably been transported in one. I know one attorney in Austin, back in the spring of 1992 had the opportunity to buy two from a car dealer at a discounted price, new on the lot, and did so, even though he and his wife already had two of them. He simply thought it was the best car ever made and being an avid Texas Hill Country avid fisherman, appreciated his FJ-60 Landcruiser for what it was.

He kept them in the garage of his downtown office that was a former residence. He and his fly fishing wife had a brand new car waiting on them whenever their fairly new (then) Landcruisers finally wore out. I haven't seen that lawyer since then, but one day I'll run into him at a fishing store and find out how long those Cruiser's went in years and miles. I bet he still has one or more of them.

So I'm a fan of the Landcruiser, and were it not for a myriad of experiences restoring first a 1970 Mustang Mach One with a wild 351 Cleveland engine and then a 1967 Mustang Fastback, I'd probably be all in for the restoration of an old Landcruiser. The wife and I almost went for it in the late 90's, and looked at a myriad of candidates, hoping to find one mostly restored. We didn't find one and I'm glad we didn't tackle that job, because it's never ending.

So that's why I'd like a new Toyota 4x4 Landcruiser Truck based on the FJ-60 platform. Simple. Spartan. Roll down windows. No power doors. A solid engine and transmission tough enough for African wilds and South American jungles. All I ask for is a virtuous oversized Air Conditioner and cooling system from the Tundra line (Big, high output) and some real good seats and everything else I'll take without grumbling.

Another Japanese or Korean car maker could take a cue and built an old school 4x4 truck or SUV copying the Landcruiser philosophy and sell many vehicles. The current FJ Cruisers are close to being a perfect vehicle but it's hard to find the more basic models for outdoorsing. They are a bit short for fishermen like me who, for local fishing and despite my ferver for travel rods, for local fishing use one piece rods, or for using the back of the SUV cabin with back seats folded down for camping and sleeping, as I can in my SUV. 

The beauty of the FJ 60 was the larger than a 4 Runner rear cargo compartment, which when combined with folded down rear seats, was a spacious wide area that one could sleep comfortably and one could carry a ton of gear even with the back seats up in seating position. In this case, it's the width that differentiates the Landcruiser from the Tacoma.

And of course, there's that legendary, low gas milage getting 4wd system used by the FJ-60. It's all a man or woman could want in a 4wd.

Some of these manufacturers probably already sell vehicles like this, as I know one Korean car maker makes a very cool 4x4 Mini Van that is sold in Canada and is extra tough. They don't sell it here in America either, although that maker sells other cars here.

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