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Auto Drive | J40 a timeless masterpiece

Published:Monday | July 11, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Surprisingly, all the gauges function properly.
This engine was built with torque in mind, not speed.
One of its selling points is its high ground clearance which allows it to manoeuvre any terrain.

The Toyota Landcruiser J40 was produced between 1960 and 1985 and established a reputation for being a workhorse that can travel treacherous terrains. The model comes equipped with six cylinders, which provides power primarily for towing and not speed.

Its older sibling, the Toyota BJ, was patented off Jeep's Bantam Mk II, which was made popular by United States soldiers in World War Two. In keeping with the tradition of the BJ, the J40 has a similar design language with removable roofs and adjustable windshields.

Its versatility and durability garnered admiration from farmer Colin Burton, who has always had an appreciation for any pickup that can execute the arduous task associated with his profession. "I have always liked these pickups and, one day, while reading the Sunday Gleaner, I saw it up for tender and I took a gamble and bought it," revealed Burton.

Luckily for him, faith was on his side as the engine was still in operational condition. "When I took it to the garage, my mechanic, Byran Lee, was able to start it on the wrecker. This was remarkable because it was sitting down since 2006, but that's how diesel engines work - they just need to be primed," said Burton.

This motivated Burton to immediately start the restoration process, by first working on the body of the vehicle. He then moved to the interior, which was an arduous task because he wanted it stocked with original parts, as well as all the knobs to be functioning properly. Ironically, his greatest challenge came when he tried to source the cover for the gas tank. "There was a lot of residue in the gas tank because it had no cover, hence we had to drain the tank, then I had to look for a cover. I had to take off the gooseneck to find a match, however, there was none in Kingston. I eventually found one in May Pen," said Burton.

Burton affirms he has no plans to sell the vehicle as he intends to use it casually on his farm. "I plan to use it in a limited way. Sometimes I have to cross rivers or drive through landslides, which the four-wheel capability of this vehicle can easily manage." Burton jokingly adds, "Even though everything has a price, it's not for sale and I wouldn't want anyone to come and tempt me either."

Want to know how this vehicle drives?

Check out the review on our Youtube page: Jamaica Gleaner, Playlist: Auto Drive.