1991 Toyota LJ73 Land Cruiser
1991 Toyota LJ73 Land Cruiser
Imported: Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
Engine: 2LT Turbo Diesel
Transmission: 5-Speed Manual
Virginia was very much spared from Hurricane Florence this week, instead seeing a few very gray days with the weather running the spectrum from light mist to all-out-downpour. Nonetheless, watching the container race towards the same coastline as the monster storm was nerve-wracking. Cracking open the doors of the large shipping container was a welcome relief then, with the face of the 1991 Toyota LJ73 Land Cruiser dry, intact, and staring us down, ready to get back on the road here in a very different part of the world.
This LJ73 Land Cruiser comes to us from Santa Cruz de Tenerife, a Spanish province off the coast of North Africa. The weather there is beautiful. It’s the place picturesque honeymoons are made of. So, for the poor Toyota, seeing the lights of the container doors close in sunny Tenerife and waking back up again in wet and gray Virginia was probably a huge disappointment. I figured stretching its legs was probably a good way to get it’s spirits back up, and so rather than a pep-talk out on the trails where it would need to work, I flicked the engine to life and did the most un-Land Cruiser activity I could think of: Running errands.
Boring. Yes. A good shake down cruise? Definitely. I ran back and forth between Marshall and some of the nearby towns last week dropping off this, picking up that, and exploring various points in-between. Why? Well, I have a sense for how the 2LT handles out on the trail. We imported one of these trucks a few months ago and quickly ran out to a trail system to dump the truck in creeks and over logs. It did great. Of course it did. You see that badge on the fender? “Land Cruiser.” That means something. What I was less sure about what how it might handle the day-to-day. I’m not sure how many people on the trail are dialing in climate control, concerning themselves with cruising speeds, fretting about ambient noise, or attempting to parallel park. The verdict?
Well, it did fine there too.
You knew that was coming, right?
Top speed on this truck, powered by the 2LT 4-cylinder turbo diesel appears to be around 75mph when up around 3,500 rpm in 5th gear. You might be able to push it further, but I think that’s excessive. A comfortable cruising speed is probably closer to 65/70mph. Yes, you can have a phone call from inside the cabin. No, it’s not going to be as comfortable as doing so inside an Accord. The knobby BF Goodrich Mud-Terrain T/A tires don’t exactly help the road noise situation either (but come on: They look great). Even parallel parking was a snap; the light steering makes the big truck easy to manipulate.
The aspect that takes getting used to is something entirely different from the driving experience: The folks who recognize 70-Series Land Cruisers are a knowledgeable and passionate people. They will speed up, slow down, turn-around, and do whatever else is necessary to get a better look at the truck they’re-not-entirely-sure-they-just-saw-correctly. And for good reason. The 70-Series was never sold in the U.S. Amid a sea of Land Cruisers of from the iconic FJ40 through to the trucks sold today, tons of which are still on the road as a testament to these things longevity, the 70-Series somehow blends in and stands out all at once.
Driveline. The 2LT 4-cylinder turbo diesel is mated to a five-speed manual transmission. Truck is part-time 4WD, going between 2H and 4L with front hubs controlled from within the cabin. Truck starts with ease, especially with the factory integrated glow plug circuit to help on colder mornings. Engine doesn’t smoke, and the truck moves through the gears without issue. Truck is good for about 75mph around 3,500 rpm in 5th gear. Truck shows 202k miles.
Exterior. The black paint is recent and presents as a very nice driver-quality vehicle, contrasting against the white removable fiberglass FRP top. 285/75/16 BF Goodrich Mud-Terrain T/A tires wrap the 5x OEM 16” wheels. Lights and signals all work. Chrome front bumper shines nicely; and exterior trim is intact and complete. Two small bubbles in the paint are visible under the windshield. No other rust has been seen on the truck.
Interior. Interior is extremely clean and largely original. Seats have been reupholstered and look excellent against the Land Cruiser’s controls and dash. Radio has been replaced with an aftermarket Pioneer unit (not currently working) paired with Pioneer speakers. The roll cage is inside the cabin for when the white FRP top is removed, and fold-forward front seats provide easy access to the rear bench. Factory altimeter, roll, and pitch gauges are intact.
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