When we Brits talk about classic 4x4s we think Land Rover. For the rest of the world the royalty of vintage off-roaders is the Toyota FJ40. In 2014 Gooding & Co drew $137,000 for a beautifully restored ’80 FJ at Pebble Beach, and then two years later scored a world record of $174,000 for an ’81 with a similarly perfect frame-off restoration.
But last month at Amelia Island Bonhams sold a final-year ’85 matching numbers and ‘exquisitely restored’ FJ40 soft top in Heath Grey for just $42,560 – or probably less than its resto cost. This surprisingly flat price could just be a blip, but it’s worth watching the market for original or perfectly restored FJs because these are the models that kickstarted the global craze for vintage SUVs and their cult desirability certainly isn’t going to disappear anytime soon.
Production ran from 1960-1985 (2001 in Brazil) and early cars had a 3.9-litre six with a three-speed ’box and from ’1975 a 4.2 six with four speed, with PAS arriving in ‘79. The later FJs, particularly the ’84s and ’85s are the most usable and desirable.
An FJ is way cooler than a Land Rover and will sell anywhere in the world to a young and passionate demographic. Pastel shades like Mustard Yellow and Feel Like Blue give a carefree surfboard vibe and the Seventies Japanese detailing is a joy. Eclectic Auctions in Brighton has just sold ‘the best rhd FJ40 in the UK’, a rare 1980 factory soft-top with a frame-off resto, for £24,500, and a restored ’77 factory rhd hardtop in Cadet Blue for £26,750. While UK buyers begin to get their heads around the FJ’s global allure there are bargains to be snapped up.
Value 2012 £18k
Value now 2019 £25k