Six decades and going strong

by Andy Bryenton

The Toyota Land Cruiser is an icon of off-road driving — the archetype of the SUV and a machine found in every environment on earth, from burning deserts to thick jungles to arctic tundra. 

Right now, Toyota are celebrating 60 years since the first Land Cruisers — the venerable 1957 FJ series — came to Australasia. 

Australia was first to see the FJ, that jeep-like 4×4 with its canvas top and unashamedly military appearance. A handful worked on the Snowy Mountain hydro electric scheme, but soon the floodgates would open as people caught on to the reliability and grit of the Japanese off-roader. With leaf springs and a six-cylinder motor coupled to a four-speed manual, this machine was a long way from the Land Cruiser of today, but it proved its worth in toughness. The market share of competitor off-road machines went into freefall as people in Australia and New Zealand cottoned on.

The DNA of the Land Cruiser split during the 1980s with the introduction of the 70 Series alongside more luxurious seven-seater family adventure models.

Throughout this time, however, Toyota’s big off-roader continued to be seen all over the world, often in the news as a rescue vehicle, in wildlife shows carrying camera crews to the wilderness, or even deployed during wartime. Today, 60 years on from those first Land Cruisers coming to the Antipodes, the top of the range in Toyota’s SUV stable is a sleek nd luxurious machine, filled with safety and entertainment features and able to transport the whole family anywhere in comfort. But under the sculpted facade there’s still a true terrain-conquering beast — part of a heritage that has literally taken on the world and won. 

It’s the perfect fit for lifestyle block owners who want the perfect blend of town and country — combining the ability to go anywhere with the ride of a luxury sedan.

With ample power under the hood, Land Cruiser owners can tow all those lifestyle accessories such as boats, off-road bikes and trailer loads of landscaping materials.

The formula has been refined, but the ingredients remain the same, delivering a winning result that is still reckoned to be the benchmark in its class.