Matilda - 1976 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser
Part Restoration, Part Rockcrawler
Keith Hansen isn’t the kind of guy who just dabbles in things. When he gets in to something, he is 100 percent committed. A former competitive body builder, Keith’s latest obsession is four-wheeling, more specifically Land Cruisers. He started with an FJ62 but soon realized that it was too big for the tight, rocky trails that he wanted to explore near his home in Reno, Nevada. So he purchased a basket-case FJ40 and turned it into the beauty you see before you.
Keith is a study in contrasts. While he is all muscle, he is also a registered nurse and has a soft side. Similarly, he treated his ’74 FJ40 to a concourse-level restoration and then added hardcore rockcrawling components as well. Keith did most of the work himself in his three-car garage, and the process took several years before it saw the light of day. “Keeping the Cruiser on rollers so I could make space in the garage every night for my wife Julie to park was a small concession to make for all of her support,” Keith reveals to anyone else considering a similar project.
He also wasn’t afraid to ask for help though from fellow Cruiser enthusiasts like Dan Johnson and Jack Peeler. By jumping in with both feet Keith learned lots of new skills along the way. He says, “My father taught me not to be afraid to try anything. You can do something ten times to get it right and it still costs less than paying someone to do it. That stuck with me.”
With the Land Cruiser finished, Keith’s new passion is preserving land use. If his track record is any indication he should have Surprise Canyon and Tellico reopened in no time.
1976 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser
Engine: 5.3L Chevy Gen III V-8
Transmission: 4L60E 4-speed automatic
Transfer case: NP203-to-FJ62 Land Cruiser split case with Jerry Nichols adapter
Front Axle: FJ60 Land Cruiser axle with Longfield birfields, 4.88 gears, Lockright Locker, and Trail Gear knuckles
Rear Axle: FJ60 Land Cruiser axle with 4.88 gears and Aussie Locker
Springs & Such: FJ62 Land Cruiser leaf springs over the axle with Pro Comp shocks
Tires & Wheels: 37x12.5R15 Super Swamper Iroks on 15x8 black steel rims
Steering: Saginaw crossover steering with Trail Gear arms and Borgeson steering shaft
Other Stuff: Custom fuel tank, Griffin radiator, Metal Tech ’cage and tube fenders, Summit heater, custom bumpers, tire carrier, and rear storage