Toyota has put a 715bhp NASCAR V8 into a 1966 FJ45 Land Cruiser | Top Gear
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Wednesday 29th November

Toyota has put a 715bhp NASCAR V8 into a 1966 FJ45 Land Cruiser

We doubt you’ll see anything better than this all year. The brilliantly named FJ Bruiser even has secret tank tracks

Published: 01 Nov 2023

If anyone ever tries to tell you Toyota is boring, show them this. This is the FJ Bruiser Concept built by the Toyota Motorsports Garage team in the US, and it’s probably one of the greatest concept cars we’ve ever seen.

The FJ Bruiser (great name, btw) is a rock crawling colossus that blends a modified NASCAR engine with a 1966 Toyota FJ45 Land Cruiser Pickup.

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“At first it was referred to loosely as ‘The Unstoppable FJ', but by the time it was done it was a beastly vehicle, and so the team started referring to it as the ‘FJ Bruiser’,” said team manager Marty Schwerter.

We’re told the goal was to celebrate the return of the Land Cruiser to the US market, and the first call went to Toyota Racing Development in California. TRD supplied Schwerter’s team with a modified version of the current 5.8-litre NASCAR Camry V8 engine, which puts out 715bhp through a three-speed automatic race-built gearbox. Toyota describes the sound as ‘intimidating’ which, after hearing about the engine and seeing that side-exit MagnaFlow exhaust, we’d probably argue is underselling it somewhat.

To make sure the old Land Cruiser could cope with all that power, the body was transplanted onto a custom-built tubular frame chassis. To retain that old school Land Cruiser brawn the Bruiser still uses beam axles, and there’s a custom drivetrain with front and rear Currie differentials and an Advanced Adapter Atlas transfer case that provides four different 2WD speeds and four more 4WD speeds. In its lowest gear the Bruiser can apparently crawl at 12mph while revving to 7,000rpm, and in its highest gear it’ll be doing 165mph at that same 7,000rpm engine speed. Yeesh.

There are chunky Fox shocks and Eibach springs too, plus 20-inch beadlock wheels and massive 42-inch BF Goodrich off-road tyres. But there’s something else that’s ridiculously cool – if you somehow manage to run out of grip at all four corners and beach the bruiser, the tank track that replaces a central skid plate and runs underneath the centre of the car can power you out of properly sticky situations. Yep, we did say tank track. Heck, you can even activate it from inside the cockpit at the push of a button. Winches are a thing of the past with the Bruiser.

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Speaking of the cabin, the FJ45’s interior has been reworked by Complete Customs to include Momo bucket seats and a vintage 1968 Jackie Stewart championship steering wheel. How cool is that plaid trim too? That pays homage to the FJ’s original bench seating.

Best concept car you’ve ever seen?

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