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ARB’s Iconic 1976 Toyota FJ40

Posted in Features on December 30, 2016
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Photographers: ARB-OffroadImages

This 1976 Toyota FJ40 rolled off the assembly line 40 years ago, the same year ARB was just getting started when Anthony “Tony” Ronald Brown (ARB) started building off-road parts in his parent’s driveway. ARB now celebrates 40 years of business with an Off Road Icons adventure across the Australian Outback, and this little 40 was one of four iconic 4x4s that made the trek. The Land Cruiser was purchased and built by the ARB store in ARB Kilsyth, Victoria, where it was upfitted with parts that ARB still offers for FJ-40s.

The Land Cruiser was rawest of all the vehicles on the trip, meaning it felt more connected to the driver and the trail than the others. The lack of power steering and short wheelbase kept drivers awake with the constant attention it demanded to drive, and the metal hardtop echoed every rattle or pinging rock that bounced off the underside. But this Cruiser wasn’t a penalty box that attendees ran from. Instead, most interpreted the rugged driving experience as fun and reminiscent of a simpler time compared to the super-insulated feeling of a modern 4x4. The Old Man Emu suspension and Recaro seats kept driver fatigue at bay, and only minor old ignition issues ever slowed the FJ down during the trip.

The FJ-40 needed all the fuel it could carry. A rear Kaymar bumper with a swingout spare Cooper tire and dual gas cans had that job covered. Under the rear was an additional Long Ranger fuel tank. Just above the license plate is an ARB backup camera that broadcasts to an LCD screen in the rearview mirror, giving better vision reward than the mirror alone. Just inside those rear barns doors is a set of storage drawers from Outback Solutions.

As the sole gas vehicle on the adventure, the FJ was the butt of every gas consumption joke, but it never ended up on the towstrap for lack of fuel thanks to a Long Ranger 87-litre (23-gallon) fuel tank and a Kaymar rear bumper with two spare jerrycans of fuel. Of course there was that one day when ignition wiring gremlins had the FJ on the end of a strap for about 200 kilometers (125 miles), but that story is for another day.

Check back soon for more iconic vehicles that made this trip and, of course, our coverage of the trip itself.

All of the icons were fitted with Recaro Specialist seats. Although you may think Recaro seats are meant more for sports cars, these were very comfortable bouncing across the Outback. The interior of the FJ40 was still quite Spartan, with just some communications and gauge upgrades, like Redarc gauges and a GME UHF radio. Of course, behind the seat is the tried-and-true ARB Fridge Freezer. Don’t venture into the Outback without one.
The 40 was kitted up for long nights of desert driving with a protective ARB ’roo-bar in case a hopping marsupial gets in the way, but likely the Intensity LED lights will show you him before he gets in the way. A classic Warn 8274 winch rides in the Deluxe winch bumper, looking the part and adding security. The stock 2F straight-six engine is under the hood, and it is followed by the stock gearboxes, which have been rebuilt prior to the trip. Both axles are stuffed with ARB Air Lockers.
The distributor was acting up, and moisture was a problem for the little Cruiser early in our adventure. One day the poor little ’Yota died and wouldn’t start. Everyone gathered around to sort it out, but we eventually towed it to the next station (Outback town) and got it sorted out. The rest of the trip it ran like a top.
Even with a short wheelbase and leaf-sprung suspension, the 40 wasn’t a dreadful ride thank to ARB’s Old Man Emu suspension and Nitrocharger shocks. Driving the 40 was fun. It really fit the part of the vehicle you’d expect to see bombing across the desert in Australia. Sure, it had rattles and quirks, but that’s what makes it so great.

Tech Specs

1976 Toyota FJ40
Engine: 2F inline-six
Transmission: Stock
Transfer Case: Stock
Front Axle: Stock with ARB Air Locker AVM Freewheeling hubs
Rear Axle: Stock with ARB Air Locker
Springs & Such: ARB Old Man Emu leaf springs and shocks
Tires & Wheels: Cooper ST Maxx tyres (Australian spelling) with Dynamic steel rims
Steering: Stock
Lighting: AR32 Intensity LED lights; IPF headlight upgrade with IPF Fatboy globes and upgraded loom
Other Stuff: ARB Deluxe winch bar; W88631 Warn M8274-50 high-mount winch; Kaymar rear bar with twin tire carriers; front and rear ARB Air Lockers with heavy-duty air lines; ARB twin compressor and diff breathers; Kaymar rear work light; Wurton light bars plus scout work lights; Redarc BCDC battery charger, auxiliary batter, and solar setup; Redarc gauges; ARB reverse camera kit; Kaymar Hi-lift jack holder; Safari Snorkel; GME TX4500S UHF radio and AE4073B aerial; Long Ranger 87L auxiliary fuel tank; Outback Solutions drawers (PN RDRF945); Recaro seats; ARB 60L Fridge Freezer and remote monitor kit; ARB tyre pressure monitors; custom exhaust; rebuilt gearbox

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