Back in the day, around halfway through the twentieth century, representatives of the U.S. Army entered talks with Toyota to request a vehicle suitable for the needs of their soldiers that were stationed in Japan at the time. The result was an immensely capable and heavy duty four-wheel truck, similar to the likes of the Jeeps and Land Rovers that were already popular in Western Europe and America.

The new army-ready Toyota, dubbed as the FJ40 Land Cruiser, would go on to become immensely popular after being introduced to foreign markets for public consumer purchase later. Even these days, more than 70 years after the release of the original, the Land Cruiser is still going strong, albeit with plenty of differences and little similarities when compared to the earlier generations.

Now that we know how the FJ40 Land Cruiser came to be, let's take a look at some of the best features found in the 1978 model.

Related: 10 Great Cars To Modify Into Off-Roaders For Cheap

Toyota Mated The 1978 Land Cruiser To An Amazing Engine

1978 toyota-land-cruiser-fj40-
via: Pinterest

The first Land Cruisers came with large, 3.9 liter inline six-cylinder engines capable of putting out 125 horsepower along with 209 pound-feet of torque, but starting in 1975 (including the 1978 version on which this article is based), Toyota upgraded the Land Cruiser's engine to an even larger 4.2 liter inline six-cylinder engine with 135 horsepower and 210 pound feet of torque.

These numbers may not sound like much when compared to those of today's vehicles, but at the time, they were more than enough for what was intended of the FJ40, and more importantly, the engine that made them was incredibly reliable, able to resist thousands upon thousands of miles of use without presenting any issues.

Off-Roading Is The 1978 Toyota Land Cruiser's Bread And Butter

1978 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser
via: Pinterest

Aside from four-wheel-drive, the 78 FJ40 came with several other amenities that made it a certified off-roader that could tackle all but the most demanding terrains. With large tires and a tall stance, the Land Cruiser could easily dive into shallow waters or climb over rock formations. In terms of drivability while doing that, it also had you covered; equipped with a silky smooth four-speed transmission with low-range gearing. Visibility is also amazing from the inside of the FJ40, which is not a minor detail when it comes to off-roading.

Looking back, It's safe to say that the Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser from 1978 is a true beast that allows for a driving experience that many off-roading aficionados would enjoy even today. If you ever get the chance to drive one yourself, you should definitely take it.

RELATED: What Makes Classic Land Cruisers Better Overlanders Than New Ones

The 1978 Toyota Land Cruiser Can Be Taken Apart Just Like Lego

via: Legacy Overland

The '78 Land Cruiser, which could comfortably seat four people even though it only had two doors, could be transformed immensely simply by removing several exterior parts. The hardtop roof and both doors could be removed with ease to provide easier access and greater utility for soldiers and consumers, and even the windshield could be folded down!

The 1978 Toyota Land Cruiser Is Still As Reliable As They Come

1971 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 V8 Swap 3
via Legacy Overland

Well-kept FJ40 units are still usable even to this day, and that's because they truly were 'built different', as people say these days. The Japanese have always been known for making incredibly reliable vehicles, but the Land Cruisers of old took this reputation to a whole other level.

Parts on the FJ40 would rarely break or malfunction even after numerous beatings, and the vehicle's rock-solid exterior was equally durable, able to sustain taps and rock-chips as if they were nothing more than water drops.

The Best Run-Around Vehicle: Here's Why Everyone Should Own A Toyota RAV4
Read Next
About The Author