In Celebration of the Toyota FJ40

Forest Gump once said, “It’s funny what a young man recollects.”  And while we might not be great with names or faces, gear-heads like us at BoldRide never forget a car, or their unique history, provenance, color, make, model etc. This author recollects how ten years ago he came across a 1978 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser plow truck sitting in a parking lot for sale. It was rusting into oblivion as many 1960-1982 FJ40 Land Cruisers seemed destined. The paint was faded from red to almost a pink. Oxidation was all over the body. This was in the days before the ICON 4×4 company had started remanufacturing FJ40’s.

Ten years ago, when considering purchasing this FJ40 Land Cruiser, everyone this author talked to about it said, “You are nuts it is a rusted piece of junk!!!” Granted, that may have been true, but hindsight is oftentimes 20/20.  If this author had bought that plow for the $1,500 being asked for it, he could’ve easily doubled or tripled his money just by reselling it or parting it out.

Now for some reason this author as a teen saw potential in that vehicle’s utilitarian design and styling and predicted some ten years ago to his father that someday those FJ40 Land Cruisers are going to be collectible. Today celebrates the ICON 4X4, inspired by the FJ. Original Toyota models in good condition can sell for $20,000-$40,000 or more. Icon reproductions can go into the $100,000-plus range.

So while rust is a big killer of cars by decreasing the supply of vehicles, it also can increase demand in the future. Not always mind you, but sometimes this is true as in the case of the FJ40. All rust is a chemical reaction akin to metal turning from iron to iron oxide – a process that is similar to fire, in that it destroys or decomposes what ever in its path.

The moral of this story is that it doesn’t take a genius to pick out what is cool or bold.  Sometimes even a 14 year-old kid can see potential in the most unlikely of places. ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ couldn’t apply more than in this instance.

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