The Love of Land Cruiser – Toyota Builds NEW Vintage 70 Series for Japan

By Steve & Tamami Laser

Toyota’s longest-running nameplate is the Land Cruiser. Originally launched in 1951 as the model BJ, the rugged, go-anywhere vehicle was inspired by the Jeep and Land Rover. Over the years, the Land Cruiser has taken many forms and been sold across the globe. Today’s U.S. market Land Cruiser remains true to its roots while it has evolved into a luxury SUV. Things are a bit different in Japan where the Land Cruiser is offered in a variety of models. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the popular Land Cruiser 70 series, Toyota put the model back into production in Japan last year.


Lucky Japanese consumers can order the newly built 70 series in both wagon and pickup versions until production is scheduled to end on June 30, 2015. The Land Cruiser 70, first launched in Japan in 1984, has heavy-duty specifications adapted for off-road driving. The 70 series went back on sale in August 2014 at Toyota dealers throughout Japan.


Toyota expects to receive 200 orders a month during the one-year period. In addition to the four-door wagon model previously available, for the first time in Japan customers can also choose a double-cab pickup truck. The vehicles are produced at Toyota Auto Body Co., Ltd.’s Yoshiwara Plant.


To see how important this relaunch was to Land Cruiser fans in Japan, take a look at the photo below of the crowded press conference that was held at Toyota’s Mega Web in Odaiba (near Tokyo) where Land Cruiser Chief Engineer Sadayoshi Koyari addressed the audience of hundreds of journalists and enthusiasts.


Toyota says the Land Cruiser 70 draws on the heritage of previous models with its ladder-frame construction that provides legendary robustness and durability. These features are combined with a 4.0-liter V6 engine and part-time four-wheel drive to reproduce the Land Cruiser’s classic features. The “new” model incorporates modern interior and exterior design elements and safety features.

The Land Cruiser 70’s traditional closed ladder-frame mounting with cross-braces provides a high degree of rigidity for traveling on rough roads. Generous approach, break-over and departure angles for driving on rugged roads and over obstacles enable the vehicle to traverse grueling terrain beyond the capabilities of a regular passenger vehicle.

These videos pay tribute to the legendary Land Cruiser 70 series, the most rugged of the three series currently produced by Toyota in Japan. Sadayoshi Koyari explains how the 70 series has changed over the years while remaining true to the principles that have made it such a success.

According to Toyota, the 4.0-liter 1GR-FE V6 engine is the first of its kind in Japan. The use of VVT-i provides high intake efficiency, while a light aluminum cylinder block and an Acoustic Control Induction System (ACIS) enable a 6.6 km/L fuel efficiency (under the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s JC08 test cycle) along with high power performance of 170 kW (231 PS) maximum rpm and 360 N/m (36.7 kgf/m) maximum torque.


The five-speed manual transmission uses triple cone synchros on the second and third gears for durability. The vehicle is equipped with a part-time four-wheel-drive system (with dual-mode automatic locking hubs) allowing the driver to select driveline choices using the transfer lever. This offers the option of quiet and fuel-efficient two-wheel drive in town and on the freeway, while switching to four-wheel drive provides increased traction on uneven ground and slippery roads.


An optional power differential lock (front and rear) prevents the vehicle from getting stuck due to wheel-spin. Switch-operated locking of the differential gear transfers power to the grounded wheels, improving the vehicle’s capability to traverse mud and ruts. An optional power winch for the front bumper assists in moving the vehicle if it gets stuck; in removal of obstacles, and for moving heavy loads.


The interior also maintains the signature look of the Land Cruiser 70 while incorporating some modern design features. The instrument panel is a no-nonsese affair, featuring a straight horizontal design to help the driver stay aware of the vehicle’s position when driving off-road.


On the exterior, a 30th anniversary commemorative emblem is featured on both sides of the vehicle. A special leather key case and leather maintenance record holder are also included.


Modern safety features include SRS airbags to assist in passenger protection in the event of a collision, and ABS to ensure greater control in an emergency by preventing the wheels from locking during braking.

News source and photos courtesy of Toyota Motor Corp. Product information and specifications for Japanese market models is subject to change without notice.

Story (commentary) © 2015