La Aduana: Two 1989 Bandeirante FJ45 Land Cruisers

Finding a diesel FJ45 in good condition these days is hard, but finding one for less than a small fortune is impossible. This is especially true of the four seat models, which are so rare that their prices are simply absurd. So what is the Cruiser enthusiast to do when they don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars laying around? Why, buy a Bandeirante of course! And don’t worry, it’s not a cheap Chinese knock-off.

According to Toyota Global, the foundations for the Bandeirante were laid in 1952 when they leased out a portion of the Ford Brazil plant. It was their first production facility outside Japan, and the early years were plagued with problems. Few services options were available for the first generation vehicles, and when Brazil banned the import of car parts that could be produced locally, supplies of spares simply dried up. By 1958 Toyota had found a way around this problem, produce the vehicles in Brazil, and in 1962 the first Bandeirantes were rolling off the line.

Many of the parts were still sourced from the land of the rising sun, but as you might imagine there were several key differences. The motors for example are Mercedes diesels, and the bodies are different than those produced in Japan. Additionally these trucks are 1989’s, which many readers may have noticed is five years after the official end of 40 series production. That’s because the Bandeirantes were so successful, that Brazil and Toyota continued their partnership until 2001, a full 17 years later.

With such a long and successful history, it should come as no surprise that these trucks are very much like their rugged and reliable counterparts. No cheap tricks or fragile systems here. The two vehicles shown come with manual transmissions, four-cylinder diesels, new tires, and original paint. Mastodon claims they can run up to 70 mph on the highway, and the interiors look fresh and as comfortable as a 40 series can be.

Diesel FJ45s are rare enough these days, but finding a four seat version in good condition is just unheard of. While they may not wear the Land Cruiser badge, their heritage and capability is a bargain at less than $25,000 for one, and $29,800 for the other.

For more information on these cool trucks, check out the Mastodon pages below.

Brown 1989 – $24,800

Blue 1989 – $29,800

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Chris didn’t receive a real taste of the outdoors until moving to Prescott, Arizona, in 2009. While working on his business degree, he learned to fly and spent his weekends exploring the Arizona desert and high country. It was there that he fell in love with backcountry travel and four-wheel drive vehicles, eventually leading him to Overland Journal and Expedition Portal. After several years of honing his skills in writing, photography, and off-road driving, Chris now works for the company full time as Expedition Portal's Managing Editor.