Nitro Gear BJ73 Land Cruiser

30326266010_4556b34d2b_oThis is our BJ73. Around the world the 70 series Toyota Land Cruiser is renowned for it’s durability, simplicity and work horse nature. Available in both truck and SUV configurations with various wheelbase options the 70 series is the go to for many military, government and long distance travelers on every continent but North America. Why? Toyota chose to never officially import these vehicles despite their impressive pedigree.

A  10+ year quest for a clean, rust free, removeable top, mid wheelbase, left handdrive, 70 series Landcruiser finally yielded us this fine beauty. We had the unicorn vehicle to start this long awaited project. Spain must be a great place to live if you are a BJ73, as this arrived nearly rust free, and even the silver paint looked good.

Coined “Inigo” after Inigo Montoya another famed Spaniard from the 1980’s film ‘Princess Bride’ and the name Montoya. As is its owner’s last name.

This 1987 Toyota Land Cruiser BJ73 LX was built for the Spain domestic market and legally imported by JDMLandcruisers in TN.  It came equipped with left hand drive, original grey interior in great condition and without AC. This 73 has the rare removable upper doors on the rear which makes it look good when top is removed.  The windshield can fold down as well and the factory overhead hoop and supports are removable.

This really is a unique and highly sought after model.  Unlike Japanese domestic models this BJ is LEFT HAND DRIVE with the most desired mid-wheelbase, and a removable FRP top.  The truck originally had a 3B Diesel, but was swapped to a 13BT which is direct injected and factory turbo. This made a huge improvement in drivability, smoothness, and MPG.  The truck averages 16-18 around town and can get over 20 MPG on flat highway.  Not bad with 37” Nittos on Hutchinson double beadlock wheels!  This Toyota starts easily every time, even in single digit temps and the OEM hand throttle is nice for warming the engine in cold weather or when winching.

Ride quality is great with the Icon coilovers compared to the original leaf sprung setup and the entire build has proven very reliable.  Parts are pretty easy to get. Most are available from the local Toyota dealer or from the numerous Landcruiser specialty shops in the US and Canada that stock them.  It’s also quite easy to work on and simple.  Performance wise it’s zippy around town, decent on the highway and pulls our WA mountain passes better than 1980’s gasser Toyotas.  Low Range is amazing, You can idle over most anything with the 4.0:1 low range and engine braking works very well.  The rear seat has ample space and folds down and the rear cargo area features custom drawers to house all of our recovery gear, spares, etc..,and is wired for a an ARB fridge.  The Hutchinson double beadlocks allow you to air down to very low air pressures in nasty situations.

What its like owning it and maintaining it?  Well it’s actually daily driven quite a bit and often does a 50 mile round trip commute. Lack of AC wasn’t really an issue as we prefer the top off during the hot summer months (regularly 90-100 F here) anyway and the lightweight top can be removed in about 20 minutes by one person, but 2 people is easier.

Issues: Nothing major, its a 1980’s diesel, so it’s smoky for a bit when started in cold weather and likes a couple minutes to warm up.  There is very slight rust at lower pinch seams on rockers and  a couple of dents on rear corners and on the hood, but the body is in overall exceptional condition for the age of the rig. Finally the shocks and suspension aren’t as pretty and shiny as the day they were new.

List of upgrades:

Initially built for Ultimate Adventure 2013 the Toyota survived the event nearly unscathed and handled everything the magazine crew had lined up that year.

This vehicle has proven very popular everywhere it goes and even made the cover of Toyota Owner magazine a few years back. Well proven, reasonably comfortable and extremely capable it is without a doubt one of the best prepared 70 series trucks anywhere.

Click HERE for additional photos.

Vehicle Build THREAD. 

NITRO GEAR & AXLE

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