For petrol-heads, one of the oddest sights that you will see in the Gibraltar region is a car transporter loaded with six new, all white, Toyota J70 series Land Cruisers.
The variety of versions seem familiar, including the full body “Troop Carrier” – with its distinctive 1/3rd:2/3rd rear door, four door/double cabs, “panelled tray” (single cab/pick-up) and rag-sided versions. They look like time capsule vehicles from an 1980’s film set.
Surely production of these vehicles, perhaps the most iconic in Toyota’s long and illustrious off-road history, was discontinued some years ago? Actually no, production wasn’t discontinued. This sounds like good news for those, like me, who really like these cars – but it really isn’t.
Toyota’s J70 series was complimented by increasingly large and sumptuously upholstered versions of the Land Cruiser, a pioneer of four wheeled drive and a noted work horse, that dates originally from 1951. Its lineage is alleged to have come from a Bantam Mk II Jeep that the Imperial Army requested Toyota to reverse engineer having seized it in the Philippines in 1941. Curiously, the J70 Land Cruiser was never sold in the US.
Unlike fellow players in the utility/off-road market, including the iconic Land Rover 90’s and 110’s – see our Defender post here – Land Rover Defender , the J70 series Land Cruiser models were first produced in 1984 and continue to be made to the present day. The market moved on and the Health and Safety folk effectively saw an end to the Land Rover models but, faced with the same issues, Toyota sought opportunities outside Europe, most notably in Australia and South Africa.
See here Toyota Australia’s on-line offer of the J70 series – Land Cruiser J70 Australia – current list prices between Aus$63,000 (£37,000) and Aus$69,000 (£40,000).
Ten years after the J70 range was withdrawn in Japan (after a twenty years sales run) in 2014, and for one year only, Toyota offered the J70 range for sale in Japan. It is understood this was primarily in response to fan demand to celebrate the model’s 30th Anniversary.
From 1984 to 1999, the 70 series Toyota Land Cruiser effectively replaced its predecessor, the 40 series work-horse. Post 1990, in an attempt to soften the utility nature of the car, the name “Prado” was given to some versions. In 1999, the pick-up version became the 79 series, the Troop Carrier the 78 series and the short-wheelbase version was phased out in most markets.
A face lift in 2007 changed the long-used bumpers and the engine in line with European emissions compliance. In 2012, Toyota introduced a double-cabin pickup body type with 130 litre fuel tank.
In 2015, production for the African market was moved to Ovar in Portugal. Which, I guess must be the reason that the transporters ladened with J70’s are so frequently seen in the Campo de Gibraltar.
Since 1984, Toyota has sold over 260,000 Land Cruiser J70’s – with sales continuing.
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