The 70 Series Land Cruiser embodies the best of Toyota trucks. It’s a formidable off-roader that’s nearly indestructible. And believe it or not, we can use the present tense because the 70 Series, introduced in 1984, remains in production. In fact, Toyota South Africa unveiled the special edition “Land Cruiser Namib”, a double-cab truck based on the 70 Series, just last week — and it looks spectacular.
The Land Cruiser Namib’s name comes from the notably inhospitable Namib desert on Africa’s West Coast. Toyota South Africa describes the Namib as “the ultimate die-hard survivalist tool.” The style is retro meets modern; it has the original boxy 70 Series body, but with modern touches like the mesh grille, bull bar, floodlights, and snorkel.
Toyota includes an upgraded solid-axle suspension designed for off-roading. The Land Cruiser Namib uses a 4.5-liter diesel V8 putting out 202 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission is a five-speed manual.
The present conversion rate would put the starting price a little under $61,000 in U.S. dollars, which is more than $20,000 cheaper than the U.S. edition of the Land Cruiser.
But here comes the bad news: There’s no chance of this or something like it ever being sold new in the United States. Toyota never brought the more work-oriented 70 Series to America in the 1980s, opting instead for the softer, more family-oriented 60 series. It would make even less sense conceptually and logistically now than it did then. But going smaller, simpler, and cheaper may be a direction for Toyota to consider for a next-generation Land Cruiser sold in America…if there is one.