Vintage 1979 HJ45 is Land Cruiser History in a Nutshell

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Rare truck has everything that makes a Land Cruiser special. 

In the Holy Trinity of 4x4s, there’s the Jeep CJ, the Land Rover, and the Toyota Land Cruiser. Of course, Jeeps own Moab, but they generally need to be modded to the hilt. The Land Rover will get you anywhere, but it’ll probably need to be rebuilt along the way. And in that sweet spot between the two lies the Land Cruiser. Built virtually unchanged from 1960 to 1984 (and until 2001 in Brazil), the J40-Series has it all. Timeless looks, Toyota reliability, and incredible ruggedness right out of the factory. Sure, because of that reliability, plenty are still on the road today. But we can’t help but stop and appreciate a beautifully restored model. And that’s just what we have here today.

Offered for sale in Pensacola, Florida, this 41,000-mile 1979 Land Cruiser is the HJ45 pickup version of the venerable 4×4. Offered for sale by the owner (and restorer) via Hemmings, he’s asking a cool $35,000 for it before he sends it off to auction. And looking at the rising values of these Toyotas (via Bring a Trailer), this one seems to be a lot of truck for the money.

It also comes across as a cross-section of everything that’s great about the J40-Series Land Cruiser. On top of its Toyota 416 Dune Beige (one of the best colors for vintage LCs), this truck looks perfect with its contrasting white roof, long wheelbase, and pickup bed out back. In short, the HJ45 was a long-wheelbase version of the FJ40. That platform underpinned a three-door hardtop, four-door station wagon, and the pickup. That’s all on top of the more common short-wheelbase models. Talk about versatility.

A work truck with a one-of-a-kind story

Power for this specific truck comes from Toyota’s H-Series 3.6 liter diesel engine. This inline-six made 90 horses and 151 pounds of twist from the factory. It’s one of seven engine choices offered by Toyota during the model’s lifespan, though the Brazilian-market Bandeirante models also had a number of Mercedes-Benz diesels to choose from.

Highlighting the Land Cruiser’s international appeal, this Florida-based truck was imported from Las Palmas, an island off the coast of Spain. Built specifically for the Las Palmas market, it shows just how willing Toyota was to build a model that appeals to specific rural market. This left-hand drive model spent 28 years as a farm truck before being imported stateside and getting a restoration. Having already lived one rough-and-tumble previous life, we hope that the next owner isn’t afraid to put this truck back to work.

So this HJ45 is a work truck from Toyota’s golden age of 4x4s. It was built for an obscure corner of the world and lived a lifetime of work. Now it’s been finished to a high degree and available stateside, all at a price that’s about average for a good Land Cruiser. If you ask us, this truck is the Land Cruiser story in a nutshell.

All vintage Land Cruisers are a rolling piece of 4×4 history. We’re glad this one has been brought back to tell its story for many more years to come.

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