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1966 Toyota Land Cruiser - Family Tradition

Posted in Features on December 22, 2006 Comment (0)
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This Land Cruiser started its life in the Odom family 28 years ago. Originally it was owned by Dustin's father, but as a youngster Dustin fell in love with it and his dad promised it would be his when he came of driving age. When Dustin was 14 years old, his dad pulled the 'Cruiser into the garage and they started their first father/son rebuild. Dustin drove the FJ all through high school and continues to drive it to this day. It has taken Dustin the last five years to bring the FJ to its current state of beauty. He scratch-built the front and rear bumpers, rollcage, seat mounts, and custom diamond-plate tailgate. He also painted the FJ himself with Omni Light Olive metallic paint and did a great job for a first-time painter.

The Chevy 350ci engine produces more than enough horsepower and torque to get the FJ going where Dustin points it.

The Toyota is powered by a Chevy 350ci small-block. Southern Auto in Manchester, Tennessee, completed the machine work. The engine is bored 0.40 inch over and utilizes a COMP Cams camshaft and hydraulic roller tip rockers. Feeding the engine fuel is a GM TPI system. For intake, Dustin uses a K&N filter with the air going out through a Renegade Header and a 3 1/4-inch exhaust system. The engine was dyno-tested at 290 hp with 390 lb-ft of torque - enough power for any trail or road. To keep it running cool, Dustin installed a custom radiator with an electric fan from a Corvette. In addition to the factory fuel tank, a custom-built aluminum fuel cell holds an additional 18 gallons for extended travel.

This '66's front axle is from a '78 and is fitted with an ARB Air Locker, 4:11 gears, All-Pro axleshafts, and high-strength Profields (Birfield joints). The steering was custom-built by Danny Warden and includes high-steer arms and a tie rod with 1-ton ends and custom drag link. To complete the steering system, a Chevy S-10 tilt column and a GM power steering box were installed. In the rear, Dustin uses a non-USA, full-floating axle from an '86 FJ60 with 4:11 gears and a Detroit Locker. To tie it all together, an SM420 Advance Adapters Rock Box and the stock three-speed T-case were installed for low-gear crawling.

The driveshafts were built by Precision Shaft Technologies (PST). The suspension system consists of Old Man Emu front springs and custom rear leaf springs, with Rancho RS9000X shocks softening the ride. The FJ rolls around the trail on 15x10 Allied beadlocks and 37x12.5R15LT Goodyear Wrangler MT/R tires. Dustin had to trim the rocker panels and wheelwells a little to get the tire-and-wheel combo to fit. The Toyota stops on a dime with a Wilwood braking system. The interior and chassis were completely Line-X'd for toughness and durability. The custom aluminum dash is filled with Auto Meter gauges to keep tabs on the powerplant, and the MasterCraft racing seats were fitted with a four-point harness system for safety. A Tuffy Security center console box keeps additional gear and personal items safe.

After finishing this rig, Dustin learned that everything you do takes twice as long as you planned. He is especially proud of the fact that he did most of the work himself. He is also the first one to tell you that he could not have done any of it without the support of his wife, both of his kids, and his parents. We caught Dustin and his FJ at the 18th Annual Rubithon on the Rubicon Trail where he was having a blast wheeling with his son. Obviously, the FJ family tradition is going strong.

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