In 1976, chief Land Cruiser engineer Hiroshi Ohsawa began planning for the next generation of the 50-series Land Cruiser. In order to compete in the US market, something more was needed beyond what the FJ55V had to offer. It had to have a larger body, feel closer to an estate car, include more luxurious touches in the interior, and offer a more comfortable ride.
The Land Cruiser was first introduced as a personal 4x4 type vehicle for civilians and a small military transport alternative to the American military Jeep, but people had begun to accept the idea that it could also be used as a family utility vehicle and a station wagon. Demand increased for a vehicle with a larger body that could carry more people and more cargo.
The 40-series lineup included the short wheelbase FJ40 (soft top and light van model), the middle
wheelbase FJ43, and the long wheelbase FJ45. The FJ28 had three variations, a soft top, hard top and light van model. The FJ43 came in only soft top and hard top models.
The Land Cruiser 100 represents the culmination of 50 years of building 4x4s. Today, the Land Cruiser has evolved from a serious Jeep type 4x4 into the ultimate luxury all wheel drive sport utility vehicle. While it is considered by most as far more of an upscale luxury sport utility, than the down in the dirt rough and ready 4x4 that is it’s roots, Toyota still managed to maintain it’s incredible off road durability, while making this model the most highway friendly Land Cruiser yet.