This is the FJ Cruiser pickup truck that Toyota should have built

This is the FJ Cruiser pickup truck that Toyota should have built
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The history of the Land Cruiser FJ45 — from which the ever-popular FJ Cruiser took its namesake — included a pickup truck version from 1963 to 1986. And despite being sold in the land of the Ute, Toyota never saw fit to sell a truck-ified version of the FJ Cruiser in Australia. That’s why those who desire a pickup bed will go to some great lengths to have their own FJ Cruiser ute, just as Les Camilleri has done to his own daily driver.

Camilleri is owner of Tinman Fabrications, a custom fabrication shop in Melton, Victoria, Australia, and isn’t afraid of such conversions. He’s done many, and the work done at the end of the conversion is very close to factory. You can already see just how far he takes the process in this iteration of his two-year conversion process of his own FJ Cruiser.

It’s more than just finding a ute bed, which is made for a Nissan Patrol GU for this conversion. First, the body was chopped about a foot behind the doors and a factory-looking cab wall was welded into place. It even has provisions to reduce the internal pressure of the cab when closing the doors along with the bead rolled strengthening ribs. That’s on purpose, as those walls were cut from old trucks to allow Camilleri to do ute conversions for those who want that factory look.

Even then, there was more needed to convert this FJ Cruiser into the perfect ute. As the wheelbase of a standard FJ Cruiser is rather short, it needed to gain some wheelbase length. Thus, the frame was cut just behind the new cab wall and a nearly 12-inch section was added to the frame. It really adds to the look as the bed and the rear wheel are better-proportioned to the rest of the FJ Cruiser. Oh, if you’re wondering, the original cargo door of the FJ Cruiser has been repurposed as a clever way to hide his tools in the shop.

With as good as a job as Camilleri has done, it’s a wonder why Toyota didn’t offer this to their Australian customers. It also makes us wonder just how a 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser would look as a pickup truck, even if Toyota won’t do it because of the Tacoma.

This is the FJ Cruiser pickup truck that Toyota should have built
This is the FJ Cruiser pickup truck that Toyota should have built

Toyota FJ Cruiser Pickup Truck

The FJ Cruiser was built off Toyota’s heavy-duty Prado (or J120), but it is important to note that it is not its direct successor even if the latter went defunct nearly 5 years after the debut of the FJ due for the factors like gunning against Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Expedition and Nissan Armada instead of taking a more adventurous stance in the pickup bed where mid and full-size off-roaders meet. Rather, the onset of the Ford Ranger T6 heralds the visual appearance of the final iteration FJ Cruiser you see here, as unapologetically advertised by the visibly upright, geometric and boxy roof, main body and bedpanel, with a façade encouraging appreciators old and new to think of a diesel-powered 4×4 version in the pipeline that sits around the area between the tenth-gen Tundras intended for rough use and Fortuners aimed at the Y-generation mods and mod-wannabes alike.

Shift your mind back 11 years in 2007 when you couldn’t escape the sight of Toyota FJ Cruisers running around the city streets and (in some instances more eye-catchingly) charged up on the freeway, a truly muscle-bound Japanese SUV that cited a rich history, as embodied by the prominently placed “Toyota Land Cruiser” badging on its front wings. If spotting a manufactured in the 2000s in a dealer inventory is a special sight, one can only imagine how special the sight of a the time brand new FJ Cruiser in the showroom must have been, that and actually taking delivery of one to hear its characteristic 245-pony available performance (as it shared the same 4.0L V6 engine like the 4Runner) and to find out where in the world you can actually take it wheeling in an era-overlooking setting.

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