The Toyota Land Cruiser was born in the middle of a war. When North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950, the United Nations and the United States supported the latter. Indirectly, Japan became their vehicle supplier and they were commissioned to design a compact vehicle for the US military. Based on your military experience, Toyota was the chosen one.
De Jeep BJ a Toyota Land Cruiser
In 1951, the Japanese brand combined the chassis of the Type SB truck with the 3.4-liter gasoline engine of the Type B. Taking inspiration from the Jeep Willys, Toyota christened it the Jeep BJ and two years later it was ready for large-scale production. However, in 1954 Willys Company reminded them that theirs was a registered trademark and they were forced to change the name of that 4×4. The Toyota Land Cruiser had just arrived.
In 1955 the 20 Series arrived, that is, the second generation of the Toyota Land Cruiser. At the aesthetic level the evolution was slight since the real changes were under the body with a cast iron motor of the F series, which offered 23% more power. It came with a leaf spring suspension to absorb shock and new rubber suspension bearings to reduce vibrations in the cabin. In addition, the wheelbase was further shortened to improve maneuverability and a variant with greater wheelbase and a higher load capacity appeared.
The third generation Toyota Land Cruiser, the 40 Series, arrived in 1960, retaining the same formula and applying an overall refinement. One of the main changes was the ability to select three different driving modes depending on the type of terrain. In addition, a three-speed manual transmission continued to be used, which now featured a transfer case that lowered overall ratios to offer six speeds: three for highway and three for all terrain.
In 1967 the new variant FJ55 with a greater load capacity and in 1980 it was replaced by the Series 60, which was larger, more spacious and, in addition, improved the quality of the ride while offering a more luxurious interior.
After just over two decades, the Toyota Land Cruiser 70 Series arrived – a generation for which the Japanese made clean slate. At that time, the market was more competitive and drivers were increasingly asking for recreational vehicles. Thus, the Land Cruiser was presented in two formats:
- Heavy Duty (high performance): focused on those who needed resistance at the expense of more limited comfort.
- Light Duty (low performance): for those who needed more comfort on their long trips with friends and family. This version would end up separating from the first to adopt a new identity: the Land Cruiser Prado.
In 1996 the 90 Series was launched to give the Toyota Land Cruiser a 4×4 driving without sacrificing comfort nor to the pleasure of driving. With an attractive new look, the Japanese manufacturer gave its SUV a new rack and pinion steering to create a more car-like feel and a new front suspension that provided a bit more comfort without sacrificing off-road capability. The family bodywork, meanwhile, was updated with the 100 Series.
For the first time in its history, the exterior design of the Toyota Land Cruiser came out of Japan to set course for France. The 120 Series made the difference early on, adding the world’s first electronic hill start assist system, descent control and increased structural rigidity to improve handling, stability and quiet. Five years later, its older brother, the 100 Series was replaced by the 200 Series: longer and wider.
Series 150: so far, the last chapter
In 2009, Toyota wrote what, so far, is the latest chapter in the Land Cruiser: the 150 Series. Once again, France led the redesign by conceiving a smaller model incorporating design features from the 200 Series.
With a more powerful image, the new Toyota Land Cruiser It included creep control and a new terrain selection system that gave drivers the possibility of adapting the vehicle’s configuration depending on whether they were driving on the beach, on more technical terrain, on other more treacherous … thus maintaining the attributes for which he became famous.