There is a lot of info to be found on the Short Wheel Based (SWB) 40 series like the FJ40, BJ40 and BJ42, and even info about the Long Wheel Based (LWB) versions BJ45, FJ45, HJ47 aka “Troopie” is easy to obtain. But many people have never heard of a Medium Wheel Base (MWB) LandCruiser, or even claim some versions do not exist. Most of the time because they have never seen one, which is not strange because the MWB is the rarest of all LandCruisers and is mostly seen in Japan.
Since I dedicate this site to restoring an MWB LandCruiser, I would like to share with the reader some information about the MWB based versions of LandCruisers.
The whole LandCruiser story began in 1950. After WWII, Japan was still under influence of US troops. In that period the conflict between North and South Korea had started to explode.
The demand for military Jeeps grew and Toyota answered with their first prototype, the Toyota BJ, where B stands for the B type engine and J for Jeep. Although it had a slow start, the design proofed to be successful, In 1953 Willy’s Overland Company claimed copyright violation on the name “Jeep” and therefore Toyota renamed their Jeep into “Land Cruiser”. The official Land Cruiser production started in 1954.
In 1956 Toyota launched the BJ25 with a diesel engine. It was followed up by the FJ25 equipped with a gasoline engine. The 20 series came in 3 versions: the short 25/25V, the semi long 28V and the longer 28VA.
The 40 series.
With the appearance of the FJ20 series the reputation of the LandCruiser was secure, especially in foreign markets. From this point on it was a matter of pursuing higher output, better performance, and making improvements and refinements throughout. Toyota only equipped the LandCruisers with the F gasoline engine in those days.
In 1960 the 40-series lineup included the short wheelbase FJ40 (soft top and light van model), the middle wheelbase FJ43, and the long wheelbase FJ45. The FJ43 came in only 2 variations, a soft top and a hard top model. The FJ45V was a van type, and there was also a pickup truck model made for export.
Due to regulations in Japan, the gasoline versions became too expensive to sell to the consumer market, and therefore Toyota launched the diesel versions starting in 1974. From this moment on, the story of the MWB diesel LandCruiser starts with the BJ43. In the US there was no similar gasoline regulation, so the popular FJ40 series remained available. Canada and South America continued with the BJ versions, as did the rest of the world.
From 1974 until 1979 the BJ43 was the only MWB version available, and only as a soft top version. The BJ43 had the same engine as the BJ40, the 3.0 liter B engine. The BJ43 was originally delivered with a 3 speed and a 4 speed transmission in later production. The BJ43V (hard top version) never existed, although some variations of hard tops were seen on the BJ43 and FJ43 were aftermarket hardtops often seen in South American countries like Colombia.
In 1979 the BJ43 was replaced by the BJ44 which was first introduced as a soft top in 1979. In 1980 the BJ44 was also available as a V version, which stands for hard top. The BJ44 was only sold to the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) and was sporadically imported to Russia, Australia and New Zealand.
The BJ44 and BJ44V were equipped with a 3.2 liter 2B engine, with 4 speed H41 transmission. It had the drum brakes replaced with disk brakes on front and a full floating rear axle. As for the interior, the BJ44V was the first LandCruiser with a rear seat facing forward. Previously the LandCruisers were only equipped with two folding bench seats mounted on the side.
The luxury packages
In 1980 the idea of adding luxury to utility truck was a JDM marketing thing only. Toyota offered luxury packages for the BJ41V and BJ44V series. In 1980 this was called the L-package and consisted of luxury upholstery, white steel spring rims, chrome trimming (bumpers, grill and license plate light covers), black hood hooks, AC, tan colored floor mats and mid console. Power steering may have also been available as a factory option by then.
In 1982, the last BJ44’s were already equipped with the 3B engine and a 4 speed. The 3B engine also came with a “superglow” system which improved starting time. Toyota introduced the LX package that included the previous L package and also white steel 6 spoke rims, a luxury dashboard with tachometer and panels with chocolate brown upholstery on the sides of the hardtop interior. The seat covers were by this time a zebra stripe chocolate brown with white pattern.
At the end of 1982 the BJ46 was introduced, Equipped with the strong 3.4 liter 3B engine with a 5 speed H55 transmission. It came with front and rear full floating axles, power steering and factory AC. The BJ46 LX package offered the same options as 2 years ago, but added dark brown floor carpets.
In 1985 the production of the BJ46 in Japan stopped. This was a year after production stopped for the BJ42 and FJ40 worldwide.
At this time the 40 series of the Toyota LandCruiser came to an end. Although Toyota Brazil kept on producing their 40 series version called Bandeirante until 2002. The follow up for the “Heavy Duty” version of the Toyota LandCruiser became the 70’s series.