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1989 Toyota Land Cruiser HJ61

1989 Toyota Land Cruiser HJ61

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Details

Price: $23,000

Mileage: 228,000 Kilometers (141,672 Miles)

Engine: 12HT 4.0-Liter Inline 6-Cylinder Turbo Diesel Engine

Transmission: 4-Speed Automatic Transmission

Exterior color: White Exterior (045) with Factory Red Turbo Stripes and Decals

Interior: Brown “Turbo” Cloth Interior

Additional features:

Manual Hubs

Push Button High 4-Wheel Drive

Shift Lever Low 4-Wheel Drive

Original White Paint

TJM Products Kangaroo Bumper

Two-tone Turbo Embroidered Cloth Seats

Folding Rear Seats

Rear Temperature Control

Rear Side “jail bar” Cargo Bars

Factory Tool Roll

Interior / Exterior Temperature Display and Altimeter

Japanese Domestic Market

25-Year Rule Exempt Import

Clean Colorado Title

1989 Toyota Land Cruiser HJ61 exterior photo

Background

The Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) HJ61 was the pinnacle of 60 Series Land Cruisers. Based on the same FJ60 Series we got in the United States, the HJ61 is powered by the 12HT 4.0-liter inline 6-cylinder turbocharged direct injection diesel engine. The turbo charged diesel power of the 12HT is a significant upgrade to the anemic petrol engines U.S. spec FJ60 Land Cruisers received. Coupled with the 4-Speed overdrive automatic transmission, the 12HT’s plentiful torque and turbocharged power give the HJ61 the ability to comfortably cruise at highway speeds and go up the passes with ease. On flat ground a turbo-friendly 2,600 RPM power setting will yield 120 kilometers per hour, or 75 miles per hour. A 3,500-RPM redline leaves ample room for passing speeds when necessary. In the mountains 55-65 mph speeds are possible at turbo-friendly RPMs on all but the steepest grades. The HJ61 received many exclusive top tier options like Turbo decals, Turbo embroidered bolstered seats, push button 4-Wheel High, outside air temperature gauge, altimeter, rear temperature control, and power door locks and windows. Yet because it is based on the FJ60 Series, nearly all parts are readily available in the U.S. market. JDM specific parts can be easily sourced through multitude of Land Cruiser suppliers with a little lead-time.

1989 Toyota Land Cruiser HJ61 exterior photo

Impressions

There is just something that makes you smile when you drive a 60 Series Land Cruiser; it’s a simple, honest, and capable rig that will take you anywhere you want to go. The HJ61 takes this to another level with significantly increased drivability thanks to its extra torque and power. I’m a staunch manual transmission advocated, but I never missed the third pedal in our automatic transmission equipped example. In the six months we have been sorting and legalizing this HJ61 it has been a personal favorite. I absolutely love it! Factory red turbo stripes on the outside and turbo logos embroidered on two-tone brown and tan cloth seats inside differentiate it from the run-of-the-mill US-spec 60 series Cruisers. Land Cruiser fanatics come out of the woodworks to share stories and enthusiasm; it gets thumbs up and friendly waves on every trip. The old-school “steam” gauges with warning lights for everything appeal to the pilot in me and the green Turbo light is super cool! It does everything you ask of it without complaint from highway cruising to serious 4x4ing.

1989 Toyota Land Cruiser HJ61 exterior photo

Exterior

The white paint, accentuated by red “Turbo” stripes, is right out of the 1980s and they are cool as hell! The HJ61 came from an era where, in the words of James May, Turbo was plastered on everything, even a pair of sunglasses—I still shave with a Turbo razor. But unlike those marketing euphemisms, this cruiser is the real deal. The paint is original and overall in good condition. There are minor flaws commiserate with age (pics are on our website if you are reading this elsewhere). The worst is a previous owner’s touch up job on the hood and rear hatch, but white hides it very well. The red decals do have some crazing and minor UV fade, but they are original—chalk it up to patina. We used a body filler detector to search over the vehicle for any areas that may be hiding large dents or rust, and found no filler. There was one small rust spot in the right rear doorsill that we cut out and repaired. Underneath, the frame is clean with no corrosion. There was very minor corrosion on the rear frame inlays (not the frame itself). In our opinion this did not warrant repair yet, but our obsessive compulsiveness got the better of us and we replaced them with Trail Tailor reinforced inlays. I wouldn’t wish this job on my worst enemy, whoever buys this—you’re welcome! The suspension components, axles, and exhaust are all completely rust-free, sans minor surface browning on the leaf springs. All trim, chrome, and black-work is in place, including factory mud flaps. The glass and wind guards are all in excellent shape. The wheels are Toyota 15-inchers, with 8 spoke up front and 12 spoke in the rear. They are wrapped in 32” x 11.5” Bridgestone Dueler A/T tires. The tires are roadworthy, but they will need replacement for the long term. We have priced it accordingly to allow the buyer the flexibility to the purchase the tires of their choice.

 interior photo

Interior

The two-tone brown interior with Turbo logos embroidered in the seats are another JDM touch that set this Cruiser apart from the US-spec examples. The interior is above average with very little wear. There are no odors and it has never been smoked in. The carpet is in excellent condition with no rips or tears. The factory seats are deeply bolstered Recaro-style seats with multiple manual adjustments. For their age, the seats are in above average condition. The rear seats fold forward with ease, opening up copious cargo volume in the back. The dash has two cracks above the console, but otherwise is in good shape. All gauges and warning lights work, and the turbo light and overheat light in the tachometer are super cool. The double din JDM stereo doesn’t work and wouldn’t pick up US frequency bands even if it did, but it is easily removed for the aftermarket stereo of your choice. The HJ61 was equipped with power windows, door locks and air conditioning. The A/C blows ice cold and the heat is hot, and all door locks and power windows work. The power sunroof is the only function that doesn’t work. The motor activates, but the tracks / cables likely need refreshing. The center console has two spring-type cup holders, which I decided I liked after one coffee run. The factory tool kit is complete and present in the rear cargo compartment.

 engine photo

Mechanical

When it arrived in our hands we thoroughly inspected the HJ61 and gave it a complete service including:

  • Fresh Oil Change
  • Replace Air Filter
  • Inspected Drive Belts (they have been recently replaced)
  • Flush Cooling System
  • Replace Radiator
  • Flush Transmission and Transfer Case Fluid
  • Flush Brake Fluid

The result is a turn-key HJ61. The 12HT engines are timing gear-driven engines, meaning no timing belt or timing chain replacement. It requires virtually no glow plug warm up, even on the first start of the day. After that the engine starts instantaneously, idles and accelerates smoothly and pulls strong. Like all ‘80s JDM diesels, it smokes a little on start up, but the turbo-charged 12HT does so much less than normally aspirateed diesels we’ve imported. The A440f transmission shifts smoothly and drives nicely, allowing a free hand for your morning coffee. The four-wheel drive system engages on command and functions correctly. The factory suspension is the most compliant and comfortable option, in my opinion. It rides great at highway speeds and over bumpy roads, yet is super capable on the trail. There are no driveline or wheel bearing vibrations. The brakes are firm, but like all Land Cruisers require some planning. Variable brake boost gets a little taking used to at low RPMs. The exhaust has no leaks or holes. Overall it is mechanically sound, ready for a cross-country drive and your on and off-road adventures.

1989 Toyota Land Cruiser HJ61 exterior photo

Right Hand Drive / JDM Imported Vehicle FAQs

Right Hand Drive: Driving a right hand drive vehicle is as easy a left hand drive—don’t be intimidated by it. The HJ61 is one of the easiest right hand drive vehicles to drive thanks to excellent visibility. I teach performance driving and would be happy to give any necessary instruction required to develop confidence driving from the right seat.

25-Year Rule Import: Owning a 25-year rule imported vehicle is legal according to Federal regulations, as long as it passes emissions. The only states that have extra requirements are California and Hawaii. California requires 1975 and later vehicles to be CARB legal, which the HJ61 is not. You would need to have it independently tested ($1500 per test at most labs) and CARB compliant in order to get it CARB certified. Hawaii is even stricter, making it cost-prohibitive to certify a 25-year rule car there.

Parts Supply and Maintenance: HJ61 Land Cruisers are very simple vehicles. They were designed to be ultra reliable and repaired easily—in the field if necessary. Parts can be sourced via a multitude of Land Cruiser sources and many were available on US-spec Land Cruiser models. Ordering JDM only parts can take some time, usually less than one to two weeks, but plan accordingly.