Multiple Versions of the Toyota Land Cruiser through the Years

History of the Toyota Land Cruiser

We have a ton of vehicles that pass through our dealership, but one of our favorites to see hit the lot is the Toyota Land Cruiser – no matter what generation or how many miles or on the odometer. The Land Cruiser is a rare vehicle, even in terms of new models. But it’s only rare here in America, where off-roading is more of a weekend hobby than a fact of life. In other countries where off-roading is a little more prevalent, the Land Cruiser thrives.

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First Generation

Original Toyota Jeep BJ Exterior Driver Side Front AngleThe Land Cruiser’s rich heritage begins in the wake of World War II, when Japan was suffering through a recession and the automotive market was struggling. Because the U.S. Military was in need of military vehicles for use throughout Asia, most Japanese automakers – Toyota among them – were asked to build compact trucks and similar vehicles that operate with 4-wheel drive. Eventually, this would result in the Toyota Jeep BJ, which would become the official patrol car of the National Police Agency.

Over the next few years, the Toyota Jeep BJ would eventually reach full-scale production, and in 1954 it came under scrutiny over trademark violations with its name. A competing vehicle called the Willys Jeep had beat the Toyota Jeep BJ to some key landmarks in its lifeline, and so it had earned the right to keep its name. So, a Toyota executive decided to rename the vehicle the Land Cruiser – thus, the birth of an icon.

Through the Years

Since those first few years of production, the Toyota Land Cruiser has seen a number of different redesigns as it passed through a number of different generations and iterations – some designed to keep up the off-roading heritage that it still very much upholds today, others designed more with comfort in mind. After the initial BJ Series ended in 1955, the Land Cruiser has seen:

Off-road Oriented

  • Model 20-30 Series (1955-1960)
  • Model 40 Series (1960-1984)
  • Model 70 Series (1984-present)

Comfort Oriented

  • Model 55 Series (1967-1980)
  • Model 60 Series (1980-1989)
  • Model 80 Series (1989-1997)
  • Model 90 Series (1996-present)
  • Model 100 Series (1998-present)
  • Model 120 Series (2002-present)

We could talk about the Toyota Land Cruiser all day, but we can’t do it quite the justice that Toyota can itself, so read more on the Toyota Global Heritage site! If you’re interested in a Land Cruiser of your own, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us right here at Lowcountry Performance Autos. Similarly, if you have a Land Cruiser of your own – or any Toyota vehicle, for that matter – that you’re looking to sell, we’d love to talk to you about taking it off your hands.