While Americans are used to enormous bus-like emergency vehicles, things are different in other parts of the world. Case in point is this 1989 Toyota Land Cruiser firetruck, which was a real emergency vehicle in Japan.
As for the firetruck version, Toyota indeed built the SUV to spec with almost everything needed to join an emergency vehicle fleet. A Japanese company called Morita completed the finishing touches, however. There, it was painted fire engine red, received the water pumps, and was finished off with traditional gold-flake graphics to signify it as a fire truck.
According to Corsetti, this model specification was actually available to the public, save for the actual fire truck components from Morita. It wasn’t, however, sold in the United States. Toyota. which appropriately nicknamed the SUV the “bubble top” for Japan, fitted the SUV with beefier axles, an inline-6 engine, and a 5-speed manual transmission.
The specifications were available in other right-hand-drive markets, but the bubble top was reserved for Japan only. Also, Leno guesses the carbureted engine is something exclusive to Japan since the U.S. market had largely moved away from carburetors by the mid-1980s.
Although it seems like this Land Cruiser would weigh a lot, it actually tips the scales at about 4,600 pounds, per the owner.
Corsetti adds this specific fire truck was only decommissioned from duty in 2015, which is a long service period for this type of vehicle. It still came with a wicker/bamboo filter for the water that a department could source from a local river or lake to fight a fire. The SUV is full of obscurities, so take a look at Leno’s video.