After 70 years in production and over 10 million units sold, the legendary Land Cruiser will be no more after the 2021 model year. In its current form, the Land Cruiser remains a costly, overbuilt, incredibly capable favorite of the stealth-wealth crowd, yet minuscule sales numbers mean its sad elimination comes as no shock.
However, Land Cruiser junkies are spoiled for choice when it comes to finding an older FJ, and in the shadows of huge FJ40, FJ55, and FJ60/62 values, we suggest giving the 1991–97 FJ80 series a long, hard look. The reasons are many, but chief among them are its notable “lasts”: It’s the last FJ with the silky inline-six and the last with a solid front axle. But we can’t overlook its important FJ “firsts”: a supple coil-spring suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, and livable on-road manners. These 80s were also designed to “wheel,” with full-time 4WD and available locking front, center, and rear differentials.
These machines are so stout, it’s not uncommon to see one still going strong with 300,000 miles on the odometer—a result of Toyota building them to a standard, not a price. These aren’t Chevy Tahoes, in other words.
Our suggestion: Focus on the 1993–97 FZJ80, which replaced the earlier 150-hp 3FE engine (essentially an updated version of the 1951-up “F” engine) with the modern 1FZ-FE DOHC 24V six with 212 horsepower, along with a host of other improvements. Of these “ZJs,” two special editions were sold in the U.S. in 1997—the “Collector’s Edition” pictured here and a “40th Anniversary” model. No matter the trim, the FZJ80 is the Porsche 993 of the Land Cruiser world.
It’s clear the time to buy these best-of-the-breed Cruisers is now, folks. –Colin Comer
Toyota’s lumbering U.N. fleet truck, here owned by John Gross, was never built to be collectible, but time is an unpredictable force when it comes to picking winners. The affection for these runs deep, but Toyota has yet to capitalize on it by producing a worthy successor for American buyers.
1997 Toyota Land Cruiser FZJ80
Engine: 4.5-liter I-6
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Power: 212 hp @ 4600 rpm
Torque: 275 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm
Weight: 4800 lb
Power-to-weight: 22.6 lb/hp
Price when new: $41,000
Hagerty #2 value: $23,500–$37,000
Last of the “true” Land Cruisers, the FZJ80 is now popular with Gen X and millennial buyers, and values are up with the increased demand. Still, the 80 is cheaper than the FJ40 and FJ60/62, so substitution is at work in this market as shoppers look for their forever TLC. Hagerty Media
Highs: Tough, reliable, handsome, and willing to go anywhere or do anything; if there were a dating app for older SUVs, these would be busy every night.
Lows: Fuel mileage that makes oil barons smile; heft that is tough on tires and brakes; good low-mileage examples are now very hard to find at cheap prices.
THE HAGERTY VALUATION TEAM SAYS:
Quotes are up 74% from 2019 to 2020 and 162% from 2018 to 2020. What’s more, millennials hold 35% of them, and their numbers rise every year, with Gen Xers accounting for 46% of quotes. Quote values, too, are up 26% from 2018 to 2020. Off-roaders are hot, and these are still relatively cheap.