After a brief absence from the market, the Toyota Land Cruiser returns to the United States for the 2024 model year. The brand celebrates the return at this year’s SEMA Show by building an FJ45 Land Cruiser pickup into a hardcore, rock-crawling off-roader. The team calls it the FJ Bruiser.
The four-person team found a beat-up 1966 FJ45 as a starting point for this project. The truck didn’t run and was missing the grille and front fenders. The cargo bed was also in rough shape. Given the condition, the truck was a good candidate for an overhaul. It seems like a better choice than letting it continue to rot.
Judging from the computer images visible in the video, this truck is going to look wild. The wheels stick far out from the fenders, and the hood has a hole for the engine intake to pop through. The back has a partially exposed frame, and the team wants to keep the pickup’s original tailgate.
Where the original FJ45 uses a 3.9-liter inline-six making 125 horsepower, the FJ Bruiser gets a modified version of Toyota Racing Development’s NASCAR-spec V8. The engine generally makes around 725 hp, but what this tweaked version produces is unclear at this time. The mill should give the FJ Bruiser a mean sound, though.
The truck will sit on a custom tube frame to handle the massive increase in power. The crew used CAD software to mock up the chassis virtually before building it. A CNC machine cut out some of the attachment points.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Land Cruiser pickup, it’s probably because of the truck’s limited production run from 1963 to 1967 in the United States. Long- and short-bed variants were available.
Gallery: Toyota Tacozilla Tacoma Overlanding Camper
The team building the FJ Bruiser was also responsible for Tacozilla (above) at the 2021 SEMA Show. That truck was a tribute to the Chinook Toyota-pickup-based campers that debuted in the 1970s. The new concept added elements useful for off-roading, like a two-inch suspension lift and front-mounted winch. The cabin featured slatted wood flooring, a dining area, a small kitchenette, and a bed. Like many SEMA builds, it was a one-off creation.
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