With the announcement of the new Toyota Land Cruiser, it is interesting to look back at the many versions of that model from the past. Especially since the new one is full of retro elements. We single out the J6, the big Land Cruiser of the 1980s.
In our region, a classic Land Cruiser is quite a special sight, since few copies of Toyota’s full-size off-road vehicle have landed on European soil at the time. That does not alter the fact that this car feels at home on all continents. Connoisseurs speak of ‘the Six’ with respect when they encounter a large Land Cruiser of this generation (1980 to 1989) in the wild. The new generation of the large Station Wagon once had the task of replacing the J5, which had developed gray temples after thirteen years of production.
This Land Cruiser as an answer to Wagoneer and Range Rover
After more than 900,000 off-road vehicles had been produced, Toyota dealers finally had a weapon to attack the higher segment. Particularly in the American market, the competitors made serious money with their posh status symbols such as the Jeep Wagoneer and the Range Rover, and Toyota naturally wanted to get a piece of that. The new J6 hit like a bomb, as buyers could enjoy more than thirty years of 4×4 know-how in the most comfortable way possible in Toyota’s first luxury off-roader.
In 2023, the J6 does not so much function as a luxurious battleship, it is above all a tough statement in our contemporary disposable society. A mileage of 600,000, 700,000 or even 800,000 is no problem for diehard Land Cruiser drivers. Seen soberly, this device is actually much too large for today’s traffic image, but that does not make it any less fascinating. In fact, this car has only one enemy: the rust devil. As long as it does not get the upper hand, a Land Cruiser will probably drive around on this earth until the fossil fuels run out. Of course, few people in our country need a car with such impressive off-road capabilities as the time-honored J6, but the friendly glance of this giant nevertheless manages to seduce many. And anyway, it’s okay to treat yourself once in a while.
Even more than three decades after the production line was discontinued in 1989, the J6 remains an impregnable fortress on wheels. His indestructible technique and his authoritarian appearance continue to appeal to the imagination. The modernized design with its strict geometric shapes was considered a revolution internally at Toyota: for the first time in model history, a Land Cruiser no longer had free-standing fenders, it emphasized its robustness with a massive body and slightly bulging front wings. In terms of technology, on the other hand, as with the predecessor J5, which was built until 1967, the principle of ‘no experiments’ was used. The layout with solid ladder chassis and leaf springs in combination with rigid axles formed the basis for the good off-road characteristics, which are still impressive today.
The engine of the J6 is also no small feat: under the hood there are only thick six-cylinder engines, with a choice of an indestructible petrol engine and a surprisingly economical diesel engine. The well-thought-out drive concept consists of a rear-wheel drive platform with selectable four-wheel drive, manual freewheel hubs and low gearing. Two limited-slip differentials were also available at an additional cost.
Intuitively, the Land Cruiser – which was delivered as a five- to ten-seater depending on the market – once seemed huge, even larger than the outer dimensions on paper underline. It is 4.68 meters long (including winch and large bumper a sloppy five meters), the width is at least 1.80 meters and, depending on the tires mounted and the type of roof, the height is 1.79 to 2.18 meters. Equally impressive: the maximum luggage compartment volume of 2,760 litres. Seen from a contemporary point of view, the Japanese youngtimer combines the best of both worlds: it is just as go-getter as its predecessors, but at the same time it knows how to please spoiled drivers of modern cars with its comfort.
Less elegant, but more impressive endurance
The large Land Cruiser did not build its reputation with a posh appearance like the competition, it mainly impresses with its almost endless endurance. And when it comes to transporting people and their luggage safely and reliably through the African wilderness, desert or snow, the J6 is still the first choice for off-road professionals. Whether they live in Iceland or in Tanzania.
We can see from the prices that the sturdy Toyota has a cult status. Here is a very neat copy with a nice mileage. Looks like it could last for decades. For this you pay a little more, the mileage is higher.
Engine 6-cyl. in line
Engine capacity 4,230 cc
Assets 88 kW/120 hp at 3,600 rpm
Couple 275 Nm at 1,600 rpm
Consumption 15 l/100 km
Drive four-wheel drive, manual transmission
Weight 1,895 kilograms
Top speed 140km/h
This item about the Toyota Land Cruiser J6 was previously published in AutoWeek Classics 11 2018
– Thanks for information from Autoweek.nl