The Land Cruiser has been around so long that many people don't realize its historical importance to Toyota.
The rugged durability of the Land Cruiser is, in many ways, responsible for Toyota's success today. To shine a light on Toyota's history, we created this Land Cruiser Spotter's Guide. This guide points out easy-to-spot differences in each Land Cruiser generation.
The immediate predecessor to the Land Cruiser was the BJ. The BJ was built at the request of the US government during the Korean War. The US needed a Jeep-like vehicle manufactured close to Korea, so Toyota based the BJ on the Willys Jeep. The BJ was a rugged, no-frills vehicle but was ultimately passed over in favor of the Willys Jeep.
By the late 50s, demand was growing around the world for a rugged, comfortable vehicle that could travel anywhere. Toyota quickly updated the BJ and created the 20 Series, a more comfortable and civilian-friendly vehicle than the BJ. The 20 Series was given the Land Cruiser name and led Toyota's expansion throughout the world. The FJ40 Land Cruiser was further refined and more powerful. It became Toyota's best selling vehicle in the US for several years. Essentially, the Land Cruiser put Toyota on the map in the US.
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