Thursday, December 13, 2007
Lost in Lone Pine: '60s Toyota Land Cruiser FJ45
It's not often I make it to the small hamlet of Lone Pine, California, but I savor the opportunities I do get. Located just east of the most rugged of the Sierra Nevadas, Lone Pine is a breathtaking place of natural beauty. 11,000 foot cliffs jut out of the earth's surface a stone's throw away, reminding us of the violence of nature and the limitations of our "go anywhere" vehicles. There are no roads west of Lone Pine. In this pristine alpine setting, mountain goats still trump Gelandewagens.
If we are to believe the words of John Muir, the mountain goats here also jump horns-first off of 150-foot precipices (let's see you drive your G500 off a sheer Sierra cliff!). I was always intrigued by Muir's tale of a mountain goat melee in the Sierras, and hoped to find evidence of such events on a recent trip to Lone Pine.
I failed. I didn't see a single mountain goat or big-horned sheep whatsoever. Nevertheless I did stumble across a different breed of mountain goat: a somewhat forlorn, but complete mid-sixties Land Cruiser FJ45 pickup.
In its original Mint Green paint (about 12% of which is still on the car), this FJ45 was a real find. I believe this looks to be a long wheelbase model, but I'm not familiar enough with Land Cruisers to say conclusively. Year? Circa 1965.
This is one that should definitely be brought back instead of being left to rot or turned into a parts car! Much rarer than the FJ40 models, the FJ45 is truly a classic, and one of the first truly heavy-duty Japanese pickups. Someone save it!