Hagerty Video: BEST in the World: $275,000 Toyota FJ & G40-S Land Cruisers From Colombia | Capturing Car Culture

Posted: 2023-09-09 11:00:16
Author: Hagerty
Larry Chen travels to Bogotá, Colombia, to visit the world famous Toyota Land Cruiser shop, The FJ Company. They use a modern GRJ 70 series Land Cruisers and merge it with a vintage FJ Land Cruiser to make a supercharged modern Land Cruiser with the vintage look we all know and love. Follow along as Larry Chen walks you through the process of how a 2023 FJ Land Cruiser is made.

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Hagerty Video Transcript

Getting a workout in dude workout just trying to go straight so I am in the original fully original uh fj40 from 1976. [Applause] [Applause] If you enjoy our YouTube videos and have been wondering how you can help support their creation consider joining the Hagerty Drivers Club which includes a subscription to Hagerty magazine unlimited access to our evaluation tool exclusive offers and rewards with reputable Brands 24 7 roadside assistance with flatbed towing Early

Access and VIP perks to select Hagerty member events and unlimited classified listings with no additional fees you can find the link in the description below foreign The roads are rough and the mountainous terrain can be treacherous you really need a capable off-road vehicle to get around and the Toyota Land Cruiser is widely regarded as the most capable of them all it’s safe to say that many Colombians grew up riding in every generation of Land Cruiser starting with

The fj40 this especially includes Nelson Kaye the founder of the FJ company they build some of the best and most expensive Toyota Land Cruisers the world has ever seen we went all the way to Bogota to see where they’re being built Thank you this particular FJ company gs40s sold for 275 000 US dollars what justifies this Hefty price tag well first off they buy two vehicles and they merge them together what you’re looking at is a brand new 2023 grj70 merged with what’s left of a 1973 Toyota fj40 Land Cruiser everything that

Makes the vehicle run is from the brand new 2023 grj 70 series Land Cruiser the only things used from the original fj40 is a little bit of the body and the frame which is fully rebuilt this place is absolutely incredible I don’t even know what to say this is this

A factory is this a shop what is this I think you hit it right on the spot it’s like a combination between as much as you can combine a factory with a restoration shop there’s definitely Two Worlds there will always be a restoration component where every car is

Different from each other and there’s no standardization it’s a mix of Both Worlds and you’ll be able to see that when we go station by station and project by project where we have standardized a couple of the steps but then our cars are so personalized and customized that in the end each project

Is its own restyl modification or restoration There’s so much to unpack when it comes to what the FJ company actually does to build one of these vehicles from the ground up first up the 40 series chassis and body are separated the chassis goes through an extensive process where they straighten it exactly back to factory

Spec on their own jig they reinforce it they brace it they modify it to receive the 70 series powertrain and suspension once it’s modified it’s actually dipped in a zinc pool to strengthen and also to prevent corrosion on the finished chassis while that’s happening in the

Metal shop the body goes through a crazy process they actually strip 80 percent of the metal from the body and replace it with galvanized steel most of what they’re saving is the firewall area because it’s really hard to recreate that from scratch many of the body parts like the doors

Are made new because the old doors were really prone to rusting out because it was made of really low quality steel and it was not galvanized after all said and done these FJ company vehicles are made to last another couple lifetimes The process of getting the body ready for paint actually takes about four months of dedicated hard work by these metal Artisans prior to being sent to paint the body is modified to fit updated electronics and features honestly seeing these guys work in the metal shop made me realize that I’ve

Never built a car in my life I say that I’ve done all these SEMA cars and have all these track cars but in the end of the day I’m just the assembly guy I just do bolt-ons these guys are actually really building cars from the ground up with their hands Before the vehicle goes to paint it’s actually completely pre-assembled to check for panel gaps everything is then disassembled and then painted all at once their in-house painter has over 40 years of experience the interior is something that’s completely overhauled not only does the vehicle get brand new freshly reupholstered seats with locally sourced

Colombian leather but they also get updated Tech you have USB ports wireless charging Bluetooth heated seats every bit of the interior leather and soft tops are done in-house by their own team to ensure the perfect quality fit the wiring harness is something else that gets completely overhauled they take the

Brand new wiring harness from the 70 series and they rework it by hand to fit all the old 40 series Parts like turn signals windshield wipers brake lights everything still works they have a dedicated wiring room where they plug everything in and they test it

On a board when you plug the car into a Toyota OBD2 scanner it actually reads as a brand new 2023 grj70 Toyota Land Cruiser so in the end of the day essentially what you have is a brand new 40 series Land Cruiser with all of the technology and goodies from a 2023 off

The assembly line 70 series Land Cruiser which includes ABS traction control fuel start assist everything works if you leave the door open if you leave the lights on there’s a chime it’s a hundred percent complete modern vehicle with old school looks So we drove like two and a half hours into the mountains this is the city of swesca this is kind of like the Town Square I guess we have all three vehicles here we have the gs40 uh original fj40 and then the 70s series that is fully modified the two newer vehicles have

Superchargers both Magnus and superchargers [Applause] both of them the 1gr Fe they’re so cool and all three of them are manual so we’re actually gonna go off-roading we figured it’d be cool to kind of get some photos and some videos of these three in the town with all these textures and nice colors and yeah

This is cool we’re in Colombia Foreign Foreign [Laughter] Foreign Look at this scene we got sheep we got this awesome unrestored 40 series Oh sick this thing is pretty scary to drive actually I kind of scared because I don’t know if it’s going in reverse or a second or third or whatever the brakes feel fully manual like I’m using so much strength just to stop but also the steering is just out of

This world not precise at all um it’s amazing that this thing can even make any more I mean obviously we are at over 10 000 feet so that doesn’t help but this carbureted motor yeah I’m flooring it and it’s all she’s got like that’s going downhill

It’s kind of fun though you you got to keep on your toes just to keep this thing on the road because it’s like it’s vaguely suggesting where you want it to turn and then it kind of does it she’s a Survivor though oh yes this was an original Columbia delivery

Vehicle for the government and these are painted this shade of green these are actually very sought after because there wasn’t many of them but the fact that I’m driving this in the mountains at serious elevation just so cool look how beautiful it is Columbia God I love this so much I love that everything is just hidden you know so good now I am driving the FJ company gs40s the S stands for supercharged so I’ve actually had a chance to drive a couple of these now I actually really like the short wheelbase ones

But right now we’re just kind of cruising through some back roads it’s a little rocky it’s a little bumpy but they’re just so much fun to drive I am having the most fun at 10 kilometers an hour is incredible they’re so cute oh terrible dogs hello this is awesome oh

The 40 series Land Cruisers aren’t the only vehicles that the FJ company builds they also build 70 series Land Cruisers for the U.S market I know what you guys are thinking how is it possible that you’re able to import a 2023 Toyota Land Cruiser from Japan or from Australia or

From Dubai because traditionally they have to be 25 years old to import what the FJ company does is they actually buy a brand new vehicle from the Middle East or from wherever and they actually swap the frame with the Columbia Market 70 series that is older than 25 years old

This is only legal because the 70 series itself as a vehicle has not changed since the 80s it’s still essentially the same vehicle with just a couple more bells and whistles and an updated body so essentially what the FJ company is doing now is a body swap therefore you’re legally allowed to

Import these vehicles the one you see here with all the bells and whistles including a supercharger is about a hundred and fifty thousand dollars this really like sends home the message why this vehicle exists because look where we are look at this road I just drove up this road this is like Farmland

This is back roads this is how you get to your farm this is how you get to your house absolutely we’re at 10 000 feet this is how we get those views of the valley down there and this type of dirt road is all over the country

This is how still a lot of the population go to work transport their produce transport to school Etc they do their daily lives on these dirt roads right now it’s pretty dry but whenever it’s the rainy season this won’t be as easy to drive as as we

Drove it today and then so now let’s let’s talk about your brand new g40s FJ company build as this sits how much is something like this so this is probably close to 275 000. and how would you justify having that price tag when the two cars look extremely similar

Well that’s about as similar as they get After getting to drive both 40 series back to back it’s an unfair comparison the brand new gs40s with a Magnuson supercharger is such an improvement on the original car there’s power when you need it every input is precise and the suspension feels fantastic we drove all over Bogota Colombia and because these

Vehicles are so ingrained into the Colombian culture most of the time we just blended into traffic it wasn’t until we got more into the rural areas people started to take notice in fact a farmer wanted to trade three cows for the blue one it really goes to show that

No matter where you are in the world car culture is a universal passion