8 years ago I followed a good mate of mine around the back of his shed with a glimmer in his eye. He’d picked up an original 1973 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ45 from some friends on a farm down in Katanning, and had grand plans to rebuild it.
It still ran, but was in need of some major attention. All I could see was a giant pile of work, but this wasn’t the first rodeo for Clayton, and I knew it was in good hands.
Way back in the past he’d picked up a short wheel base 40 Series Land Cruiser and done something similar, before trading it in a direct swap for an 80 series Land Cruiser.
Before we go any further, this is the finished product, with a serious amount of time, effort and money gone into getting it completely restored from the ground up. This was one major FJ45 restoration. If you’ve ever seen a FJ45 for sale that has had any major work, you’ll know they sell for a small fortune.
They are as classic as it gets in the 4WD world, and are highly sought after world wide.
Obviously, the way it looked when Clayton first got the vehicle was vastly different, but he wasted no time in stripping it down and starting the rebuild process. What took place over the next 8 years was nothing short of staggering, with every single nut and bolt removed, and a full rebuild taking place. Everything that was damaged or tired was replaced, with genuine parts where possible.
The FJ45 Landcruiser came in a number of different variants; short wheel base (FJ40), single cab ute, and troopy style, but this single cab Ute was the choice of project!
A full respray of every panel happened after he’d found decent panels for everything (going through 4 doors in the process) and it was slowly put together. You’ll find a lot of FJ45 restoration projects just cover anything dodgy up, but Clayton was determined to do everything to 100% perfection.
Clayton made his own canopy, from a steel frame and aluminium panels.
Every time I visited there was some small, but impressive progress made and the excitement grew as it got closer to being able to put it back on the road.
A visit to the pits landed a couple of minor fixes needed, and then it was registered, and I’ve never seen Clayton’s smile so big!
All in all, an absolutely incredible project that gets used all the time today, and realistically is a work of art. To finish, here’s a few more photos of it in use!
Have you done any major rebuilds of old 4WD’s? Let us know below!