If you haven’t already seen it, allow me to introduce Riley’s UZJ40.
Wait… U Z J 40? Yep.
Take the classic 40 series, spend a few thousand hours (we won’t really cover the cost), and install a 2UZ iForce V8 engine, plus a750f A/T, then finish it with the highest attention to detail. That’s the UZJ40, and it’s gorgeous.
Reading through the 22-page build thread on IH8MUD will consume an afternoon, but it’s worth it. Riley covers the entire process, why he made each choice, and how his build evolved over time. For our part, we will look mostly at the finished machine.
The Land Cruiser is a 1976 vintage and was purchased by Riley from a private owner in Portland, OR. The LC had been heavily modified, which wasn’t a concern since Riley planned to rebuild it completely from the frame-up. While he originally planned to use an original FJ-40 beige color for the finished truck, he ended up choosing the more modern Toyota Cement Gray. One of our favorite current Toyota colors.
As you can see in the photos, the outside of the UZJ40 is impeccably finished. What I’ve learned in all these years though is that it’s only half the battle. A quick look inside the truck reveals the true artwork Riley has created with his Land Cruiser.
Riley contacted a local fab shop in Las Vegas to create custom dash pieces, door panels, speaker pods, and a center console. All items (including the OEM cluster bezel and glove box door) were powder coated to present a consistent look and feel inside. A custom switch panel includes just about everything you could imagine. Riley even wired an actuator to the original side-vent and set it up for recirculating air.
Under the dash you’ll see a variety of aircraft-style circuit breakers. That’s right, Riley decided against running standard fuses in his truck, so he built a custom circuit breaker system that’s similar to the helicopter units he’s familiar with. Speaking of circuits, the LC won’t start unless the specific transponder-enabled key is inside the truck. Talk about modern technology meeting a classic vehicle!
When you have the type of skill to complete a truly custom build, what do you do next? Build a custom Off-Road Trailer to go with it, of course. His custom trailer is everything you’d expect: custom table with sink, ARB tent, awnings, and fridge, Cook Partner stove and storage bins in a custom container, as well as a power center. The trailer is as capable as the UZJ40 and is truly ready to go anywhere.
I encourage you to read through the UZJ40 Build Thread on IH8MUD.com as well as the Trailer build thread on ExpeditionPortal.com. You can learn every detail, and possibly find inspiration for your own custom Land Cruiser.
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