|The Stationwagon - Series 55
|All pictures are of the foreign version (non-North American market) of the LC55 series unless otherwise noted.
Click on images for larger view.
|Why is there no FJ50? The reason is because the final numeral digit in the Landcruiser designation denotes
frame length. Usually 0 for short, 3 for middle and 5 for long wheel base. A short wheel model was never
mass produced, hence there being no 50 series. Only the long wheelbase 5 was ever mass produced, therefore
all models are called the 55. If it came equiped with an F petrol engine, it was called the FJ55. Diesel engine
models (if any existed) would have been called the BJ55. Later models, such as the 60, 80, 90 and 100 series,
would drop the short, long frame designation, since all models were of the same frame length. Only the
muliple varient 70 series would retain the frame denotation in the numerial designation.
|Specifications of a 1975 French FJ55
|Luke Miller took these pictures on a recent trip to Africa. Luke said this is a Japanese Landcruiser series 55 Firetruck
that was located at a game lodge in Namibia. Note the dataplate in the far right pictures. If anyone can read this, I'd love to
know what it says.
|A 1975 Landcruiser 55 series firetruck from Japan. These pictures were borrowed from owens-export.com
|More FJ55 fire trucks. It appears the 55 series was a common platform for Japanese fire trucks.
|A dual rear axle FJ55. Most likely from Australia. This 55 series was converted into a pickup and had the second rear axle
installed by an aftermarket company as this is not a factory option. The dual axle conversion and pick-up conversion are
common in Australia where 4 wheel drive Landcruisers are used for extreme heavy duty off road use and load carrying.
|The Land Cruiser was first introduced as a personal 4x4 type vehicle for civilians and a small military
transport alternative to the American military Jeep, but people had begun to accept the idea that it could also
be used as a family utility vehicle and a station wagon. Demand increased for a vehicle with a larger body
that could carry more people and more cargo.
Toyota initially responded by building wagons like the FJ35V and the FJ45V onto the original Land Cruiser
frames. The wheelbase would be lengthened and special custom made bodies mounted to make the first
wagons. After that, demand became strong for a genuine original estate car. An ordinary truck could carry
people or cargo, but after getting to a work site by road, trucks were frequently expected to cross difficult
ground, often in severe weather conditions where roads might be washed out or otherwise impassable,
especially in remote parts of the world other than the U.S. The newly designed Land Cruiser 55 satisfied
these multiple needs.
Toyota had put a priority on development of passenger cars such as the Crown and the Corona, and the
design staff was too busy to work on the original Land Cruisers. As a result, the design was handled by on-
site technical staff working with little more than rulers and compasses. It was not until the 50-series that
designers were able to pay serious attention to the Land Cruiser, creating design sketches and clay models.
Leaving some traces of the original 40-series, in July of 1967 they released a new model, the FJ55V wagon,
to replace the FJ45V wagon. The body was larger than a compact car, the ride was as comfortable as a
passenger car (of the day), and it was designed not just for utility but for leisure use as well.
Now the export market's influence outside of Japan really came into play. The 50-series was made to be
sold in America and Australia. It was designed to cruise at over 80 mph on US highways, and built heavy
duty enough to handle the rugged Australian landscape. The first time that a Toyota truck was build entirely
with fully enclosed box cross-section welded members. It was also engineered to meet US safety standards
established through frontal crash testing at 30 mph.
Because of its shape and size, it was known affectionately around the world as the Moose, or more
commonly, the Iron Pig.
The 55 model was Toyota's first real station wagon. The FJ55V body type was produced for sale only in
Japan, while export vehicles took on the newer 2F-type petrol engine instead of the original F-type petrol
engine and were named FJ55V. There were many differences in appearances between the two types, with the
FJ556V having a larger bulge in the bonnet, as well as the same combination lamp parts as in the 40-series
but with the triangular windows abolished and blinkers integrated into the side lamps.
The rear seat folded forward to create more cargo room. The cargo area itself was flat and was made
entirely of steel. The rear gate came in two types: a fold-down type or one that opened out from the center
like ambulance doors (also found on some 40 series models). The gate could only be opened after lowering
the gate window electronically, done by remote control from the driver's seat. The centre-opening gates
opened a full 90 degrees, which was convenient for loading and unload cargo. The rear combination lamp
was arranged vertically and put on the lower side of the body in the FJ56V. The FJ55V featured a square
lamp mounted a bit higher than the waistline.
Up front, the instrument panel gained a resinous pad to protect passengers in a collision. The gauges were
made more reliable with print layout in the wiring and a thermostat for the water temperature gauge. The
shape of the switches above the instrument panel resembled those on the 40-series.
Like the 40-series, the FJ55V had a bench-type front seat that could hold three people; FJ56V buyers could
order separate seats.
The 55 series was very popular as a 4x4 family wagon, but it also served in some military capacities and was
very commonly used as a fire fighting vehicle in Japan. Fire truck Land Cruisers used extremely modified
bodies, but the narrow body and frame and 4 wheel drive allowed them to reach almost any location to fight
fires. In later years, these very unusual fire fighting vehicles would find their way dispersed throughout the
world in some remote regions such as Africa and New Zealand to continue their duty.
By the time it was replaced with an all new model in 1980, the 55 series had been in production for more than
13 years. A very long time by today’s standards. The design was showing its age, but it will go down in
history as perhaps the most rugged and durable of all the Land Cruiser wagons.
|Produced from 1967 through 1980