Red and White Toyota Land Cruiser Needs Some Brown on It

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FJ43 Land Cruiser looks nice and fresh. Too nice and fresh. We’d love to get some dirt on it.

Jeeps aren’t the only vehicles that look better with some earth on them. We feel that way about a variety of vehicles. Power Wagon? Give it a mud bath makeover. Ford F-150 Raptor? Powder it all over with fine desert sand. This 1979 Toyota Land Cruiser has been extensively restored and rejuvenated, but we can’t help feeling that its handsome and rugged looks could only improve if we were to take it off-road.

Nevertheless, it’s easy on the eyes. According to Bring a Trailer, “This 1979 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ43 was imported to Buenaventura, Colombia when new, where it reportedly had two owners in the same family. It was acquired by the seller about two years ago, imported to the US in 2018.”

This rig has been refreshed pretty much from the ground up. The grey steel wheels are wrapped in BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A K02 rubber. The chassis and other underpinnings have been sandblasted, coated in corrosion-resistant primer, painted, and sealed. There are new bumpers at both ends. Under the hood is a rebuilt 4.2-liter I6. That’s connected to a rebuilt four-speed manual gearbox and transfer case. The shiny red and white you see on the outside was applied during a body-off repaint.

The inside has received just as much TLC as the exterior. The current owner yanked out the old interior and put in fresh upholstery, rubber floor mats, seatbelts, and door cards, as well as an Alpine radio and aftermarket speakers.

The end result of all of that work is just…so…pretty. We mean that in the best way. Red and white is such an attractive combination, especially with the grey wheels. However, it would be a shame not to lock the front hubs, use this off-road legend for its intended purpose, and give it a coat of dirt…or three.

Photos via Bring a Trailer

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Derek Shiekhi's father raised him on cars. As a boy, Derek accompanied his dad as he bought classics such as post-WWII GM trucks and early Ford Mustang convertibles.

After loving cars for years and getting a bachelor's degree in Business Management, Derek decided to get an associate degree in journalism. His networking put him in contact with the editor of the Austin-American Statesman newspaper, who hired him to write freelance about automotive culture and events in Austin, Texas in 2013. One particular story led to him getting a certificate for learning the foundations of road racing.

While watching TV with his parents one fateful evening, he saw a commercial that changed his life. In it, Jeep touted the Wrangler as the Texas Auto Writers Association's "SUV of Texas." Derek knew he had to join the organization if he was going to advance as an automotive writer. He joined the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in 2014 and was fortunate to meet several nice people who connected him to the representatives of several automakers and the people who could give him access to press vehicles (the first one he ever got the keys to was a Lexus LX 570). He's now a regular at TAWA's two main events: the Texas Auto Roundup in the spring and the Texas Truck Rodeo in the fall.

Over the past several years, Derek has learned how to drive off-road in various four-wheel-drive SUVs (he even camped out for two nights in a Land Rover), and driven around various tracks in hot hatches, muscle cars, and exotics. Several of his pieces, including his article about the 2015 Ford F-150 being crowned TAWA's 2014 "Truck of Texas" and his review of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, have won awards in TAWA's annual Excellence in Craft Competition. Last year, his JK Forum profile of Wagonmaster, a business that restores Jeep Wagoneers, won prizes in TAWA’s signature writing contest and its pickup- and SUV-focused Texas Truck Invitational.

In addition to writing for a variety of Internet Brands sites, including JK Forum and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, Derek also contributes to other outlets. He started There Will Be Cars on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube to get even more automotive content out to fellow enthusiasts.

He can be reached at [email protected]

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