1965 Toyota FJ45LV Land Cruiser Wagon - Half-Century Cruiser

    Reviving a ’65 Toyota FJ45LV

    Jay KopycinskiPhotographer, Writer

    Ask any Toyota fan about old Land Cruisers and the venerable FJ40 typically gets the popular nod of approval and recognition. But over the decades, there have been some lesser-known models to cross the shores from Japan to the United States. Sport utilities, trucks, and wagons were all created from those early Cruiser roots decades ago.

    One of those variations, the FJ45LV wagon, was made from 1963 to 1967, and it’s estimated that only about 1000 were exported to the United States from Japan. Some were sent to Australia and South America (many having the ambulance-style rear doors). While a Toyota factory assembled much of the running gear and chassis, the majority of the coach work was completed by the Gifu Auto Body Industry Co.

    Jack Adams, the owner of this FJ45LV, has suffered an ongoing addiction to vintage Land Cruisers and has built and wheeled a handful of them that were all wrought from steel before he was born. His fascination with these iron beasts have kept him vigilant to online auto ads and sensitive to whispers of old Cruisers that may lay neglected in yards in his home state of Arizona.

    This classic FJ45LV supposedly sat for many years in the historic mining town of Jerome, Arizona, and then was later rescued from a junkyard in 2004 by a previous owner. Fast forward a bit to the year 2010, and Adams became the latest owner after spotting it for sale on Craigslist. Adams dragged it into his backyard, and there it sat for a few years while he was wheeling and giving his attention to an old FJ55 Cruiser.

    When it was time to revive the classic wagon, Adams set out to preserve much of the Cruiser’s heritage and personality, while giving attention to the vehicle mechanicals. You see, this Cruiser was not going to sit silent any longer; it was to be highway driven and taken down 4WD trails.

    At A Glance
    General
    Vehicle: ‘65 Toyota FJ45LV Land Cruiser Wagon
    Owner: Jack Adams
    Stomping grounds: Phoenix, Arizona
    Build time: Eight months

    Drivetrain
    Engine: ‘74 F155 I-6, Man-A-Fre header, Flowmaster muffler
    Transmission: ‘74 Land Cruiser four-speed manual
    Transfer case: ‘74 Land Cruiser
    Low range ratio: 1.96:1
    Crawl ratio: 28.13:1
    Front axle/differential: ‘72 FJ55 housing, 4.10 gears, mini-truck vented disc brakes and outer axle components
    Rear axle/differential: ‘74 Land Cruiser housing, 4.10 gears, Chevy swapped disc brakes using FJ80 master cylinder

    Suspension
    Front: Stock leaf springs, NAPA OEM shocks
    Rear: Stock leaf springs, NAPA OEM shocks
    Steering: Rebuilt stock manual steering

    Tires/Wheels
    Tires: 33x10.50R15 BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2
    Wheels: 15x5.5 Land Cruiser disc brake wheels with vintage-correct hubcaps

    Miscellaneous
    Interior: MasterCraft Safety low-back suspension seats on custom mount, interior repainted in factory paint scheme
    Cool stuff: Natural patina paint, custom bumpers, Optima YellowTop battery, ammo can console

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