4x4 Showdown: Toyota J40

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Sep 29, 2013 | By Chase Pellerin

The Toyota FJ40 is the like a middle child—extremely versatile, well traveled, and easy on the eyes, but receives half the attention it deserves. When the FJ40 read our first two 4x4 posts (here and here), it once again felt slighted. So, we came to its side, put our arm around its rugged, metalic shoulder, and told it all the things it needed to hear.

Like: You're the most kickass four wheel drive utility vehicle of we've seen. You'd ruin the Jeepster and Commando. You're our favorite. It was all ears.

Toyota released the FJ40 as part of their Land Cruiser line in 1960 until 1984. The FJ40 has the look and feel of your classic Jeep, but with a slightly larger build. The flexibility and versatility of this truck, however, is what sets it apart. 

The J40 (Toyota's base model) came in three configurations: the FJ40: a gas powered straight six engine (the most popular model), the BJ40: a diesel powered engine, and the FJ45: equivalent to the FJ40, but with a longer wheelbase. For additional options, the FJ40 comes with the capability of removing its roof, doors and windshield. It isn't afraid to air out the goods.

This early version of an SUV is all engine in the front, party in the back. The jumper seats are attached to the roll cables and can fold up allowing for maximum cargo space for your bike, surfboards, or team of Alaskan sleigh dogs.

Unable to sit still and looking to rebel, the FJ40 also made waves across the globe. It went incognito on the USA and changed its name—in Brazil, it was known as the Toyota Bandeirante. In Venezuela, the Macho.

Reveling in the mud, sand, and gravel of all climates, its performance on a world stage made the FJ40 a go-to work vehicle for the toughest environments on the planet.

Fifty plus years since its birth, the FJ40 is still kicking it, and with the ability to still buy replacement parts, you can sign’em up for another fifty. In homage to this classic 4x4, Toyota also released the FJ Cruiser in 2006.

So whether you stumble across an original in your uncle’s garage, or you take the new Cruiser out muddin’, it's always good to remember the guys in the middle, the unsung children—often overlooked but never outmatched.

Image credits: 1: RoadandTrack; 2: Expedition; 3: TopSpeed; 4: TruckTrend; 5: Flickr: HYW; 6: Flickr: Ali Rivzi; 7: Fav Cars 8: Cika 9: Restored FJ40.