ANTON TOLICH 1977 TOYOTA LAND CRUISER (FJ40)
Hey, Anton. We haven’t run too many FJ Cruisers in the mag, so yours is a bit special. What attracted you to this one?
The FJ — it’s a Kiwi classic. They’re just like a Meccano set. Nuts and bolts, it all comes apart — no fancy shit; no computer.
What’s the history behind this one? It’s clearly had a bit of a restoration.
I’ve owned it for about 10 years, but two years ago we started a full restoration on it.
What was the reason behind that?
I was driving it before we pulled it apart, but it was a stuff-up because it was running on LPG, and swapping between LPG and petrol is a pain in the arse. Also, the LPG didn’t have a level indicator, so it would just run out, and then you would have to quickly try to swap it over to petrol.
How thorough was the resto? It looks like a brand-new truck.
It was right down to the chassis. I had it done by Anton at Automotive Anarchy Limited. The body was acid-dipped and the chassis taken back to bare metal. The biggest problem actually was that another guy pulled it apart. There were bits everywhere. He pulled it apart and left it in pieces, so it was a pain to piece it back together, but Anton restored it all in-house. The rust repairs, panel work, paint, V8 conversion — all done in house.
What was done in that V8 conversion?
It’s a 350 small block Chev crate engine, with a 650 Holley Double Pumper on an Edelbrock intake, and MSD 6AL ignition. It’s also got a TH400 transmission with an adapter, so we could keep the stock transfer case, and it still has the stock diffs, with manual-locking front hubs. It will haul anything. It actually drives a lot nicer when it’s towing, as it bounces around a lot less.
It’s gotta be a pretty neat driver regardless, though?
Yeah, it is. Even my boys have driven it — my eldest has taken it to university — but it’s not the most comfortable car to drive. There is no power steering, so it’s very heavy and you need both hands to turn the wheel — it’s a bit of a pain.
The interior looks a pretty nice place to be — unlike the original would have been!
Yeah, it has been done with custom bucket seats, and we got new rubbers from overseas, but, most important, it has a big stereo — four 6x9s through an amp.
It’s got it all! Will you ever take it off road?
Oh, hell no, but I’ll be driving it all the time, and I’m looking forward to driving it in summer. It was pretty much finished in March, which meant that I just missed being able to use it last summer. I’ll be towing the boat up to Omaha a lot, and cruising down Ponsonby Road! [Laughs]
Hey, it’s probably too nice to abuse, anyway — what a cool truck!