The market for classic cars, we’d argue, is driven by one factor more than any other: what we pined for as children is what we want to buy when we’re grown up enough to have the license and the means. And when we were kids, what we wanted more than anything else was to play soldier. This truck right here, then, would be just the ticket.
It’s a 1981 Toyota Land Cruiser – more specifically a long-wheelbase FJ45, known as the “Troopy” because (as you might have guessed) the type was often used for transporting troops. The FJ Company – which has made a name for itself restoring and modifying classic Land Cruisers – recently got its hands on this vehicle after it served as transportation for the Colombian National Guard, a local university, and an NGO for troubled teens.
The restomod shop resprayed it in Toyota OEM beige, upgraded the suspension with Old Man Emu components, fitted a custom soft top, upgraded the exterior lighting with LEDs, replaced the rusty old badges with new ones, trimmed the interior in tan vinyl, and fitted modern air conditioning and audio systems. It also upgraded the 3F engine and automatic transmission, which was already the most powerful version in the series.
With the frame-off restoration now complete, the FJ45 is off to its commissioning customer’s ranch in Texas. But this writer’s inner child wishes it was headed my way instead – especially now that the retro FJ Cruiser has been discontinued. That it was built the same year I was born is only the proverbial icing on the birthday cake.