A Jeep called BJ … 1951


 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.


 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.


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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