All it takes is one look at William Hartzell Jr.'s '72 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser to know that it is not your run-of-the-mill 4x4. Built by what William describes as "ordinary guys who aren't involved or connected with the industry," the team of himself and his brother from Emmanus, Pennsylvania, seem to have done an admirable job.
Tired of 'wheeling a rusty old FJ40, William's buildup took him and his brother, James, almost two years to complete and cost roughly $15,000. Before anything could be attempted in this restoration, the rusted body panels had to be removed along with the engine and the transmission; soon, all that was left was the frame. After a quick sandblast, it was prepped and repainted black. As for the body, the old panels were replaced with a Malotte fiberglass tub, a one-piece frontend, a '76 FJ40 windshield frame, fiberglass fenders, and a steel grille, which houses the twin-beam halogen headlamps. With all the pieces lined up, William painted them DuPont Centari Chevy Hugger Orange. The bumpers were custom-fabricated during the bodywork stage by Specter Off-Road.
While the paint was drying, the two brothers decided to tackle the suspension. Creating a custom spring-over-axle conversion kit, the duo was able to achieve a full 6 inches of suspension lift while still being able to use the OEM leaf springs, which afforded plenty of room for the 38.5x14.50x15 Super Swamper TSL/SX tires mounted on 15x10 American Eagle Type 146 wheels with 3-5/8-inch backspacing. Edelbrock IAS shocks assist with damping the ride.
Stopping power comes by the front disc brakes, which were taken from the front axle of a '76 Land Cruiser and adapted to fit the FJ. The rear drums were given a once-over and shod with a new pair of pads. To ensure that the brake fluid was delivered to each brake, the factory plumbing was replaced with stainless steel brake lines. Another issue to contend with, now that William had larger tires on the vehicle, was the antique steering system. By swapping the old OEM steering system for a Downey Saginaw power steering conversion kit, turning the huge tires could be steered with one hand.
Power for the rig is derived from a 350-cid Chevrolet V-8. Bored 0.060 over and fitted with high-end internal componentry, the small-block is equipped with a Crane Fireball cam and an ACCEL ignition system. The final compression ratio is 10:1. Helping to keep this fire-breather cool is the responsibility of a Perma-Cool electric fan, a custom-made aluminum radiator, and stainless steel radiator hoses. Mated to the Chevy V-8 is a '72 Toyota three-speed transmission and transfer case, which spin the custom shortened front driveshaft and the lengthened rear driveshaft. Helping to expend the hot gases from the engine is a pair of Jet-Hot block-hugger headers, which have a ceramic metallic finish. Paired with the headers is a catalytic converter, which meets a MagnaFlow 2-1/2-inch O.D. stainless steel exhaust system.