The iconic Toyota Land Cruiser has been a staple of life in Australia since it came to our shores in the 1950s. Its history in Australia makes for an interesting story which, like so many Australian stories, starts with a treacherous landscape and a group of committed workers.
The Original Land Cruiser J20
Back in the 1950s an ambitious construction project was going on in New South Wales; the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme. The name is spot on – workers had to conquer imposing landscapes and dangerous snowdrift to move the huge project along. At the time they used Land Rovers, however demand outpaced supply and in 1959 when Theiss Brothers (now a Leighton Holdings company) were contracted to complete some of the biggest parts of the project, they sought a better option.
They found it in the second generation J20 model – kind of. The J20 only had a three-speed gearbox so although its beefy six-cylinder engine was more powerful than the competition, it still struggled in the rugged off road Snowy Mountains terrain so Theiss used it for sealed roads.
The Land Cruiser marketing campaign
Toyota Japan were working hard in the meantime to improve the vehicle they had christened Land Cruiser, which was (like so many modern vehicles) born from a need to cover ground more efficiently during WWII. Originally called the Toyota “Jeep” BJ, the name was changed to suit foreign markets and compete with the Land Rover.
J40: Making Toyota’s mark in Australia
Les Theiss looked to Queensland’s burgeoning farming industry and saw a huge potential for the Land Cruiser there. Thus, the FJ40, the next generation straight from Japan, gained popularity and was soon used by farmers, mining exploration companies, even the Army in the top end!
A low-range gearbox and more powerful petrol engine were added to the range, as well as a variety of new body types like the FJ47 Troopy and FJ45 wagon. This made Land Cruisers the ideal workhorse in Australia’s outback and the vehicle was cemented in Australia’s history.
The 80 Series
Fast forward to 1990 and the ‘Cruiser got a more rounded and modern look to mark its transition from farm to city. The 80 Series had a choice of six-cylinder petrol, six-cylinder diesel, or direct injection turbo diesel. It was well received by on road users and off road enthusiasts alike because it boasted constant 4WD, comfortable interiors, ABS, and coil springs for bush bashing.
Overall the 80 Series was a huge step up from the 60 Series and saw the Land Cruiser gain even more popularity among Australian families and 4WD adventurers alike. Performing a Land Cruiser service also got a whole lot more interesting as the cars gained prevalence in the Australian market, which was where Robson Brothers 4WD got our start.
80 to 200
Since then the iconic Land Cruiser has grown up even more. Currently in production as the J200 Series, Toyota have made leaps and bounds with safety and technology. Smart suspension systems, hill start assist, turn assist, improved braking, and CRAWL (4WD speed control system) have made the vehicles a pleasure to drive on the road and in the country.
Robson Brothers 4WD have worked on more ‘Cruisers than we can count, servicing old models and new side-by-side. As Land Cruiser service experts in Perth as well as 4WD enthusiasts ourselves we know these beasts top to bottom, inside and out. You won’t find better advice or a more professional Land Cruiser service anywhere in Perth!