In this week's Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Senior Editor Alex Kierstein and Senior Editor, Green, John Snyder. This week, they talk about driving the BMW 8 Series Coupe, Jeep Wrangler Rubicon and Toyota Corolla Hatchback. Then they talk about the news, including electric Hummer rumors and Tesla pickup timing. Finally, they consider whether or not Greg should buy his neighbor's 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser.
Autoblog Podcast #585
RM Auctions just held a spring auction in Auburn, Ind., and while many of the lots found new homes, some haven't. Among them were a surprising number of classic Toyota Land Cruisers. And since they haven't sold, they're yours for the taking if you want. Check them out in greater detail below.
This 1988 Toyota Land Cruiser is a particularly clean example of the two-door, short-wheelbase 70 Series Land Cruiser. This model was never offered in the U.S. originally, so it is an import, but it's one that will be easy to live with since it's left-hand drive. It has a manual transmission, and is equipped with a gas-powered 3F engine like what you would find in U.S.-spec Land Cruisers, so it should be easy to maintain. It doesn't look like it will need much maintenance, though, as it looks amazingly clean particularly under the truck and in the interior. It also happens to be a one-owner, unrestored example with Old-Man Emu suspension, lift shackles and all-terrain tires.
On sale since the 2008 model year and facelifted twice in the interim, the Toyota Land Cruiser has lately begun rolling out the special editions. Last year we got the 2019 Lexus LX Inspiration, this year we got the 2020 Land Cruiser Heritage Edition. This likely means a changing of the model guard is close, the 300-Series Land Cruiser on the horizon to replace the current 200-Series. When Motor Authority asked Toyota SVP Bill Fay about the U.S. getting the next generation, Fay replied, "We are fully committed to the Land Cruiser for the foreseeable future."
The reason for the question could have been Land Cruiser sales figures for the past 14 years, when the model never cleared 5,000 units. The swankier Lexus LX sibling sells in greater numbers, but even lumping the two trucks, they've crested 10,000 sales just twice since 2005. On top of that, two of the largest regional markets for the Land Cruiser are Australia and the Middle East, which have different regulatory regimes, and the 2019 Highlander has a three-row option.
Special edition cars can be a bit lame sometimes, but we wouldn't consider the 2020 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition, honoring six decades of continuous Land Cruiser production and set to debut at the Chicago Auto Show, to be one of them. We'll complain about meaningless badging from time to time, but take a look at the vintage "Toyota Land Cruiser" badge behind the rear window. The "Toyota" font and scripted "Land Cruiser" are about as old-school-cool as it gets, folks. It makes us wish Toyota would stick that badge on every Land Cruiser.
Enough with the badge, though. This Heritage Edition Land Cruiser gets bronze 18-inch forged BBS wheels with a "Toyota" center cap — also pretty cool. Other off-roading treatments include a running-board delete and lower body side molding delete for better clearances. All the other changes are appearance-related, but it's a pretty comprehensive overhaul for the ages-old Land Cruiser.