A Jeep called BJ … 1951

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 The Toyota Land Cruiser had it’s debut in 1951.

Production of the first generation Land Cruiser began in 1951 as Toyota’s version of a Willys MB U.S. Army Jeep. It sprung from a post-war demand for military-type utility vehicles, much like the British Land Rover Series 1 that appeared in 1948.

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 The Toyota Jeep BJ  prototype was developed in January 1951.  

In July 1951, Toyota’s test driver Ichiro Taira drove the protype up to the sixth stage check-point of Mount Fuji, the first vehicle to climb that high. This demonstration secured a large order from Japan’s National Police Agency for 289 of these off-road vehicles, making the Jeep BJ  their official patrol car.

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The Toyota team at Mount Fuji with Toyota Jeep BJ, 1951 Photo: Toyota Motors

By 1953, the Toyota Jeep BJ was in regular production. Meanwhile, the American company Willys-Overland had begun legal actions to copywrite the name Jeep as a trademark. As a result of this, in 1954, Toyota renamed the Jeep BJ  the Land Cruiser. 

Over the past 60+ years the Land Cruiser has enjoyed massive worldwide sales in successive models and variants.

Toyota Land Cruiser 2015

Toyota Land Cruiser 2015

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