A Unique Diesel-Powered Trail Machine That's Also a Backcountry Base Camp
We were exploring the high country near Silverton, Colorado, when John Floyd and his diesel-powered Toyota HJ47 appeared on the trail in front of us. We were so blinded by the ’yotas coolness we darn near drove our rig into a lodgepole pine tree. We knew a unique rig like this had to have a story, and this one does.
Floyd has been into Toyotas for a long time. “My affection (affliction?) started in June of 1969 when my father purchased a new blue FJ40 Land Cruiser. I learned to drive in this vehicle and spent most of my free time exploring the mountains around Golden, Colorado. In 1976, I moved up to Steamboat Springs and took the Cruiser with me. For the next 30 years it served me faithfully as a snow plow and daily driver. I still have it with well over 250,000 miles and it still runs great,” he says.
I have always liked the original body style and am particularly fond of the Land Cruiser pickup. Unfortunately, Toyota only brought them into the States for a few years in the early ‘60s and they are very scarce today. My travels as a blasting consultant have taken me to Australia a few dozen times. There are a lot of Land Cuiser ’utes (Australian for pickup) running around and most of them are diesels, too cool! After a few years of indecision, I finally purchased one, an ’82 HJ47, with a strong 4.0L diesel and a relatively solid body in Perth. I drove it straight to the wreckers to replace a few rusted parts. I named it Frank (short for Frankenstein because of all the different body parts I ended up with),” Floyd says. Shortly thereafter, he had a number of other items installed, including the TL Engineering “tray,” which is Australian terminology for what most of us call a flatbed.
According to Floyd, current regulations allow the importation of vehicles to the U.S. that are more than 25 years old without the hassle of converting the righthand drive to lefthand drive, so he had the vehicle shipped from Perth to Los Angeles. The vehicle cleared customs “without a hitch,” so Floyd picked it up and headed east to Colorado.
Nowadays, Floyd uses the unique, versatile rig to explore the backcountry of the Rocky Mountains and in the near future he plans to point the rig north toward Alaska.
Owner/Hometown: John Floyd/Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Vehicle/Model: 1982 Toyota HJ47
Estimated value: “Who knows?”
Type: Toyota 2H I-6 diesel
Aspiration: Denco turbocharger, custom 3-in-diameter exhaust
Output, hp/torque: 107/177 (stock)
Transmission: Toyota H41 4-spd manual
Transfer case: Toyota 2-spd
Front: Leaf spring, shocks
Rear: Leaf spring, shocks
Ring and pinion: 4.11:1
Wheels: Factory 16-in split
Tires: 235x85R16 Dunlop SP Road Gripper fw