The Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser has been out of production for 26 years, but you wouldn't know it when talking with the "FJ40 Faithful." They're as devoted to their vehicles now as they were when the last one rolled off the assembly line in 1983. Maybe even more so, now that the FJ40-inspired FJ Cruiser has hit the buying public right between the eyes and fed the FJ40 frenzy.
One FJ40 aficionado is Scott Truitt of Litchfield Park, Arizona. He's the owner of this incredible '77. Never mind that Truitt was only nine years old when the last FJ40 was factory-assembled. Truitt grew up in Saudi Arabia, where he says FJ40s were plentiful and a popular choice for exploring the sand-saturated environment. The more he saw 'em in action, the more he wanted one.
Fast forward to 2005, when Truitt was finally able to get an FJ40 of his own and begin the buildup he had always dreamed about. He purchased this rig from a gentleman who had owned it since 1978. It was maroon in color and dotted with rust, but it only had 79,000 miles on the ticker. Truitt's goal was to "build the baddest ride out there." What he ended up with is a rig that garners major style points. It's a great-looking, solid-performing rig that combines new tech with the classic FJ40 style.
Some FJ40 purists may initially gasp when they see the factory dash has been replaced, but gasps are soon turned to oohs and aahs when they get a good look at this well-crafted, mega-functional, hand-formed, custom aluminum dash made by RPM. It's loaded with Auto Meter gauges and offers fingertip control of everything from the Art Carr shifter to the climate control. It even integrates air vents and 12-volt power receptacles. It blends nicely with the full six-point RPM-fabbed rollcage and the Vintage Air SureFit air conditioning system. Other interior mods include BS Sand seating, a Tuffy console, Line-X-lined floors, custom RPM steering wheel, and an Alpine/Rockford Fosgate audio system installed by Street Life Customs of Phoenix.
Pimp my engine bay: The 4.2L Six was a great engine, but Truitt wanted more. Hence, his FJ is fitted with an Escalade-sourced 6.0L Vortec V-8. The machine work was done by Duffee Motorsports, and the `plant was installed by Random Precision Manufacturing (RPM), both of whom are based in Phoenix. RPM also fabbed the custom headers with 1-inch tubes, as well as the 3-inch-diameter exhaust with IMCO mufflers. Custom RPM motor mounts locate the engine, a Delphi marine wiring harness and ECU take care of the electronics, and a pair of Optima Red Top batteries provide amperage. The result is an engine that produces an estimated 400 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of torque. The stock four-speed manual transmission was also replaced, and in its place is a 4L60E automatic on a custom crossmember. The trans has a Hughes torque converter, Derale Cooling Products transmission cooler with fan, and an Art Carr shifter.
Truitt also retained the stout factory front axle. Its internals underwent the same upgrades as the rear, with 4.88:1 gears and an ARB Air Locker. The front suspension is compromised of Old Man Emu 2-inch-lift springs, 2-inch Old Man Emu shackles, and Rancho RS9000XL shocks. Power steering wasn't offered on the FJ40 until '79, so Truitt had RPM install a power steering setup utilizing a Jeep-sourced Saginaw power steering box. The front section of the FJ40s frame was boxed to mount the new steering box, and the system uses a Superlift pitman arm, factory tie-rod, and an RPM-fabbed drag link made from 1.250-inch-diameter, 0.281-wall DOM tubing.
Owner/Hometown: Scott Truitt/Litchfield Park, Arizona
Vehicle/Model: 1977 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser
Estimated value: $100,000
Type: 6.0L GM Vortec V-8
Aspiration: Fuel injection, 1-in-diameter custom headers, custom 3-in exhaust, IMCO mufflers
Output, hp/torque (estimated): 400/650
Transmission: 4L60E, Hughes torque converter, Art Carr shifter, Derale cooler
Transfer Case: Orion 4:1
Front: Old Man Emu 2-in-lift leaf springs, Old Man Emu 2-in shackles, Rancho RS9000XL shocks
Rear: Old Man Emu 4-in-lift leaf springs, Old Man Emu greasable shackles, Rancho RS9000XL shocks
Front: Stock, power steering conversion, custom drag link, Superlift pitman arm/ARB Air Locker
Rear: Stock/ARB Air Locker
Ring and pinion: 4.88:1
Wheels: 17-in aluminum
Tires: 35x12.50-17 BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A