Seventy years ago, Toyota’s unassuming BJ off-roader went on sale. It was offered to the National Police Reserve in 1951, but they declined it in favor of the Mitsubishi Jeep—a license-built version of the Willys Jeep that stayed in production until 1998. It was an inauspicious beginning, really, for a vehicle that eventually sprouted a dynasty. It didn’t even look much like the FJ-series 4x4s that would follow, which were renamed “Land Cruiser” to avoid a trademark fracas with Willys-Overland. It was an ugly, angular thing that looked like a rejected knock-off Jeep. But the Land Cruiser persisted, and it succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of its creators. On the 70th anniversary of the beginning of this remarkable journey, Toyota is taking a moment to celebrate with a special edition of its living fossil: the 70 Series Land Cruiser.
This is all a little bittersweet for Land Cruiser fans in the United States because not a single iteration of Toyota’s legendary SUV is earmarked for our shores after the 2021 model year. The all-new 2022 Toyota Land Cruiser, the 300 Series, will only be sold abroad, though its twin-turbo V-6 is almost certainly going to show up in the 2022 Toyota Tundra. But for the rest of the world, particularly in markets where the amazingly rugged and long-lived 70 Series models are sold, it’s cause for celebration.
In that vein, Toyota’s Australian arm revealed this slightly revamped 70 Series Land Cruiser for local consumption. Going a step further than the Land Cruiser Heritage Edition we got in America, the Australian anniversary edition gets a heritage grille with the classic “TOYOTA” badge that seemingly floats above a blacked-out front bumper. Additionally, the model includes darker headlamp bezels and dark-toned 16-inch alloy wheels. The fender extensions are also black, giving it a rugged throwback look to an era when truck bumpers weren’t body color, or even very well integrated … you know, the same era that birthed the 70 Series itself, which has been on sale since 1984. The interior features fancier black upholstery and some woodgrain bits sprinkled throughout the cabin.
You can get a trio of variants with the special add-ons, including the single- and double-cab pickup versions, as well as the wagon. Three colors are available: French Vanilla, Merlot Red, and the pictured Sandy Taupe. All are powered by a 4.5-liter turbodiesel V-8 backed up by a five-speed manual transmission. The cheapest is the wagon variant, starting at $78,500 Australian (roughly $58,000 at today’s exchange rates). It goes on sale in September in Australia.
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