Editor’s note: November is Import Month on the ClassicCars.com Journal. Get all the news you could ever need about German, English, French, Japanese and lots of other cars at our dedicated page.
Toyota re-established itself from the shambles of World War II with the rugged Land Cruiser, which helped the Japanese automaker in 1958 to enter the U.S. market, where the company also introduced the Toyopet Crown sedan. Sales started modestly, with only about 250 vehicles sold during the following year.
The Pick of the Day is a 1957 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ25 built just before Toyota arrived here, and it displays the original purity of design that morphed into the popular FJ40, a popular choice both for classic car collectors and for off-roaders who appreciate its intrepid 4X4 capabilities.
This FJ25 has been totally restored to an original Jeep-like style, and it stands in show-ready condition, according to the St. Louis, Missouri, dealer advertising the Land Cruiser on ClassicCars.com.
The Dealer’s ad offers a brief history of how the FJ came to be.
“The genesis of the Land Cruiser came with a post-war agreement between Toyota and the U.S. Military,” the dealer notes, recalling the American occupation of Japan after World War II. “In 1950, the U.S. government commissioned Toyota to build 100 Willys Jeeps that were to be used by soldiers and Military Police stationed in Japan during the Korean War. Toyota obliged but immediately saw room for improvement on the venerable American design.
“In 1951, Toyota developed their own prototype which drew the best the Jeep and the British Land Rover had to offer, combined into one new package. Production of the Toyota Jeep BJ began in 1953, and the vehicle was put into service by American MPs. In 1954, a civilian version (FJ) was introduced, and the Land Cruiser name was born.
“The civilian FJ25 led Toyota’s expansion into new markets, where the sturdy and dependable little truck paved the way for the hugely successful 40-series.”
The little four-wheeler is powered by Toyota’s sturdy 3.9-liter inline-6 engine and 4-speed manual transmission, fitted to the solid 4-wheel-drive system. Land Cruisers have a well-earn reputation for durability, and it’s not uncommon to find them in decent condition with well over 200,000 miles.
But this one is in essentially brand-new condition, the dealer says, after its professional restoration. The odometer shows just nine miles, or possibly kilometers, likely reset after its rebirth.
“This 1957 FJ25 is an extremely rare and desirable early-production FJ-series Land Cruiser,” the ad says. “This truck has been treated to a comprehensive restoration performed by a Toyota specialist. Freshly completed in 2018, it is very attractive, finished in dark green with brown seats. The deep green paint and body quality is good without appearing over-restored, which is appropriate for a utilitarian vehicle such as this.
“It is one of the earliest of its kind in North America and represents a significant and vital period for Land Cruiser enthusiasts. Rarely do such early pre-40 Series FJs become available, and this is an exceptional opportunity to acquire a restored and usable example.”
While it may not be over-restored, the FJ25 looks far too nice to thrash through the woods, and a potential buyer should consider it as a collector vehicle to be cherished and driven only in civilized circumstances.
The asking price is a substantial $84,500, but considering that the Land Cruiser is from the pre-importation era and a rarity in the U.S., and that values have soared for much-more-common FJ40s, this seems fair and perhaps even reasonable.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.