AN­TON TOLICH 1977 TOY­OTA LAND CRUISER (FJ40)

NZV8 - - DAILY GRIND -

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!

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