Trio of Toyota Land Cruisers Roll into Jay Leno’s Garage

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Jay Leno shares fascinating history of 60 series Land Cruisers and goes for a spin in a 1988 model.

Here’s something you don’t see much on Jay Leno’s Garage: an SUV. This isn’t just any SUV, though. It’s a Toyota Land Cruiser. In fact, it’s three of them.

Brian Corsetti of Corsetti Cruisers, an avid 60 series Land Cruiser collector and restorer, recently stopped by Leno’s garage. When he was a child, he would ride in the back of his family’s Land Cruiser on the way to junior high school. He likes Jeep Wagoneers and old Land Rovers, but the 60 series has always had his heart. “For me, these were an inexpensive kind of classic that I could drive every day and also fix myself,” he tells Leno.

yotatech.com Jay Leno's Garage Toyota Land Cruiser

Corsetti says that he already had a few Land Cruisers when he met his girlfriend. Her interest in them only stoked the flames of Corsetti’s passion for the off-roaders and caused him to buy more of them. He tells Leno, “I have 12 of them. These are three of the 12 and…I’ve just been restoring these for the last three years and all my life.” He enjoys the hunt for his next model and typically goes for 1981-1990 specimens with only one to two owners and less than 180,000 miles.

yotatech.com Jay Leno's Garage Toyota Land Cruiser

The trio of Land Cruisers Corsetti brings to Leno’s garage show a mild evolution of the 60 series. There’s a 1987 model with the carbureted 2F straight-six and a four-speed manual. Its meager 135 horsepower and 65-mph top speed make it more of a trail vehicle than a highway cruiser. Corsetti says, “It’s very slow, but it’ll pull anything out of the mud.” There’s also an ’88 with the 155-horsepower fuel-injected 3F 4.0-liter I6 and a four-speed auto that allow it to sail down the highway at 75-80 mph. According to Corsetti, it’s a “great daily driver” and his favorite of the three. The third Land Cruiser is a 1989 model with a lift and more equipment on it, including a better sound system and electric windows.

yotatech.com Jay Leno's Garage Toyota Land Cruiser

The two auto enthusiasts hit the road in the ’88. It’s a learning experience for Leno, who’s pleased by the Land Cruiser’s basic, dependable engineering and fascinated by the fact that he’s lived long enough to see this once common vehicle become a sought-after modern classic. He manages to teach Corsetti a lesson, though. While discussing Corsetti’s dozen Land Cruisers and his relationship with his girlfriend in the garage, Leno tells him, “I predict after the wedding, you’ll have three.”

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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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