The Land Cruiser FJ40 was a big part in helping make the Toyota Motor Company one of the most profitable and well known auto makers in the world today. The FJ40 was produced from 1960 to 1983. In fact during war time the production and development of the FJ40 helped the company gain a strong foot hold in the 4×4 world. However even the FJ40 was for sale the vehicle that preceded it and helped start it all was called the Toyota BJ. The BJ was produced in the early 50’s and was Toyota’s first 4×4 utility vehicle and was powered by a prewar B-type 75 hp engine. The 3.4 liter 6-cylinder engine was originally designed for medium-light trucks and proved to be a perfect fit for the BJ.
The Toyota BJ and Jeep at that time had a lot to be compared. For example both were boxy and stubby, had great 4×4 capabilities, both were an open framed body, but where the BJ out preformed the Jeep was in the engine department due to its supreme torque and factory standard low 5.53:1 first-gear ratio.
The Toyota marketing team decided to put the Toyota BJ to the test and sent a driver to scale Japan’s Mt. Fuji up to a 12,388 feet. The marketing proved to be a great success as the National Police Agency, as well as Japan’s forestry agencies were present for the climb. Shortly after this test 1,300 BJ’s were on order.
The only thing lacking to complete the marketing make over was the name of the vehicle. After Toyota saw the BJ out preform anything that they could throw at it, the Toyota marketing team came together and landed on the name Toyota Land Cruiser in 1954. This name proved to be one that would last as it has truly cruised the entire globe for over 50 years!