JDM Snow Days: 1988 Toyota Land Cruiser LX

Although my E46 325xi is performing sufficiently in inclement weather (as it did this fine slushy winter morning), there are occasional moments when I wish I had something with even more traction like this Land Cruiser that was never officially offered in North America, but is here now.

The Land Cruiser is up there with the Land Rover Defender 90 and Mercedes-Benz Galendenwagen as classic off-road vehicles of the 20th century. They are not only extremely capable, but as aesthetic masterpieces of form over function, they are stylish, too. I have no doubt the Land Cruiser is considered by some to be the best.

The J70 Land Cruiser replaced the legendary J40 series in 1984 and is still in production to this day. This is the short wheelbase model with a removable fiberglass top. These are extremely rugged and heavy cars, weighing about 2 tons to keep them planted to the ground. Body plates were made 1mm thicker than the J40 for extra strength.

Underneath the hood is a 4-cylinder diesel engine mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The seller says the engine should be good for 500k miles before a rebuild, which could very well be true given Toyota's build quality from this era. They also say it gets about 21-25 miles per gallon and is fun to drive even at high speeds.


Cosmetically, the seller says the underside of the vehicle was rust-proofed. They say the rocker panels were also replaced. There are some lingering spots of surface rust around the doors and windshield, however. They also say a carfax report regarding rear accident damage may be from having the rockers replaced and rear bumper being powder coated, and they have checked for dents and bondo and found none. Inside, occupants meet a no-nonsense, hyper-utilitarian interior of square angles and hard grey plastics. The seller says it has been treated with a wax/clay bar, and the carpets and seats have been shampooed and cleaned.

This is an extremely rare vehicle that seems to have had attentive ownership to date. The seller says it was brought here from Japan 100% legally by Outback Imports and they have a title and registration in hand. They say it now has about 86k miles, and could be ready for many more, despite the minor cosmetic flaws.

Available here on ebay in Kent, Washington with bidding starting at $14,600 but no takers so far and a Buy-It-Now of $15,950.

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