You've seen them racing across deserts, slogging through jungles, and carrying people through some of the most remote areas on Earth. For five decades, trucks like this 1976 Toyota FJ40 have been the way people get places where others fear to tread, and today they're red-hot collectables with all the off-street cred you'll ever need.
The boxy, upright shape must be the most efficient for going to remote places, because all the great off-roaders share it. The Toyota is a little more butch than most, with a wide stance and snub-nosed attitude that suggests a stubborn resilience. In fact, that describes the Toyota perfectly, since it's as reliable as a mountain goat and just as sure-footed. The bright white paint is a flashy upgrade from the usual tan that you see in the National Geographic films, but it looks fantastic thanks to a recent high-quality restoration in 2013. The doors and hardtop top fit quite well, sealing it up for inclement weather and making it practical enough for everyday use and if you feel ambitious, you can unbolt them for the traditional open-air experience. The grille and close-set headlights are iconic and still echo in the late-model FJ Cruiser, flanked by a set of simple flat fenders and a hood that still uses spring-loaded hooks to hold it in place. Glass, rubber, and the heavy-duty bumpers are also in very good condition and unlike so many FJs, it hasn't been modified or over-burdened with ersatz mud gear. Instead, it sticks to the mantra that simple is better.
That theme continues inside where basic black is the dominant color, offering a pair of high-back bucket seats and enough cargo room to move your brother out of his apartment. The seats are brand new units from BesTop and are wrapped in leather, not vinyl, so the rear seat had to be upholstered to match. Nice work! Nevertheless, the overall vibe is spartan, showing off exposed hardware on the door panels and a rubber floor mat designed to be hosed off after an afternoon of fun in the dirt. The dash looks busy, but the controls are simple to use and easy to find without looking, which was entirely the point, and a locking center console is a nice addition to a vehicle like this. The floors were covered in spray-on bedliner material, so you'll never have to worry about scuffs again, and the twin shift levers manage the off-road system and 4-speed manual gearbox. Someone obviously spent a lot of time restoring this one to factory specs, and it looks awesome.
Power comes from a correct 4.2 liter inline-six, which soldiered on in one form or another for more than two decades. Reliable, torquey, and surprisingly smooth, it was the powerplant of choice when your mechanic was also a goat herder in the desert. Rebuilt and detailed with factory-correct finishes, plus a mini air cleaner, it looks, sounds, and feels just like it might have in 1976. The chassis is equally nice, showing lots of restored or repainted equipment, heavy-duty Rancho shocks, and a mild lift kit. A recent exhaust system gives it the proper sound, and beefy black steel wheels wear huge 31x10.5-15 Goodyear Wrangler off-road tires.
Prices have settled on these trucks, but they'll never be cheap again. It's not every day you get the chance to own an icon, and you either get it or you don't. If you're one of the folks who do get it, call today!