Saturday, August 15, 2015

1973-1974 Toyota Land Cruiser Hardtop

"Built to the teeth, the Land Cruiser is a solid example of traditional Toyota craftsmanship. Put together with nuts, bolts, cotter pins rivets and welds. For roads that are buckety, we don't build anything rickety."

The Jeep. The Land Rover. The Land Cruiser. For half a century, these were your best options if you went somewhere remote and needed a seriously tough off-road vehicle.

Just like the Willys Jeep, the Toyota Land Cruiser originates from military needs. The outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 urged the U.S. forces in Japan to commission domestic car manufacturers with the development and production of light 4x4 vehicles and trucks. Toyota had a prototype of the "Toyota Jeep BJ" ready by January 1951. The car was built in rather small numbers for governmental use since 1953, and soon would evolve into the Land Cruiser, when trademark violation claims by Willys made a renaming inevitable.

The commercial Toyota Land Cruiser debuted in 1954, but its stereotypical look should emerge with the second generation, built between 1960 and 1984. Throughout its lifetime, this generation of Land Cruiser models received a number of improvements which makes it possible to narrow down the production year of our pictured car to the time between 1973 and 1974. In 1973, Toyota added a fuel filler door, while 1974 was the last year of the flat doors. Redesigned doors from 1975 onwards would have lift-type door handles, and embossed sheet metal to increase stiffness. Accordingly, the door hinges were now recessed into the door panels.

Toyota's Land Cruiser is quite a familiar sight in Cuba. Mostly registered to state-owned businesses, they're usually in a good shape. The sunny climate of Cuba is no real tread to the most common corrosion problems, and their mechanically sound construction helps the Toyotas to keep marching on without too much trouble.

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