1983 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser Restomod Vortec V8

1983 Toyota Land Cruiser for sale in Huntington Beach, California, United States

Condition: Used
Item location: Huntington Beach, California, United States
Make: Toyota
Model: Land Cruiser
Type: SUV
Trim: Base Sport Utility 2-Door
Year: 1983
Mileage: 10,350
VIN: JT3FJ40C7D3364871
Color: Britsh Racing Green
Power options: Power Steering, Air Conditioning
Fuel: Gasoline
Transmission: 5 speed NV4500 w/ Overdrive
Drive type: 4WD
Interior color: Gray
Safety options: Disc Brakes
Options: 4-Wheel Drive
Vehicle Title: Clear
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Description for Toyota Land Cruiser 1983

1983 FJ40 'Resto-Mod' Fuel-Injected V8 For Sale - THE LAST YEAR (aka Holy Grail) of the FJ40

FULL DISCLOSURE TO CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS - THIS FJ IS CURRENTLY NOT STREET LEGAL IN CA DUE TO THE GOLDEN STATES 'HELPFUL' BUREAU OF AUTOMOTIVE REPAIR (BAR) REFEREE'S. While this vehicle not only performs flawlessly, uts out less polluting smog than my '09 Suburban (I have the smog tests to prove) and doesn't have a single safety operating concern, t has failed the BAR four times in the last 2.5 years and therefore I'm giving up (three sons under age 5 and a very busy working schedule means I can no longer fight the good fight w/ the bureaucrat idiots of Sacramento).

Please read below (warning: very long/in-depth, ut it will answer 99.9% of your questions I'm sure) for specific details and reasons why the BAR referees I've been dealing with have decided in their infinite wisdom why this vehicle should be restricted from getting a BAR exemption certification. The good news for any potential CA buyer is I honestly am at the finish line to get it certified, ut I simply don't have the free time needed...if after reading its history you believe you have the patience to deal w/ the BAR, do believe it's possible to get the vehicle legal in CA. For all the potential out-of-state buyers that don't have to worry about the crazy smog and/or engine swap regulations of CA, his FJ is 100% ready for you to enjoy.


  • Frame-up restoration which included powder-coating frame, umpers, tc.

  • 5.7L Fuel Injected Vortec V8 with ALL factory emission controls, atalytic convertors, 2 sensors, tc.

  • Saginaw Power Steering Conversion (extremely tight turning radius that can be executed w/ one finger on the wheel).

  • Disc Power Brake Conversion Kit

  • BTB Shackle Reversal Conversion (handling and ride quality are massively improved over the original FJ design).

  • Nitro 9000 Shocks

  • GM NV4500 Heavy Duty 5-speed overdrive transmission

  • Vintage Air A/C & Heating system

  • Aluminum Radiator w/ electric fan

  • Toyota 19-Spline Split-Case Transfer Case

  • Man-A-Fre Rear Bumper Tire Carrier

  • LINE-X bed liner sprayed under entire body tub & throughout interior for corrosion protection and sound control.

  • Long Range 21-Gallon Fuel Tank

  • Warn 9000I Planetary Gear Winch

  • Tuffy Center Consol

  • CD/AM/FM + rear speaker setup

  • American Racing 15x8 wheels (5), 1X10.5 Dunlop AT's


Offered for sale is an incredible, ully restored and performance enhanced 1983 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40. Professionally constructed at great expense approximately nine years ago, he vehicle was completely disassembled down to the frame and every component was rebuilt or replaced. It's painted British Racing Green (from factory Jaguar '00) and was reassembled using new hardware. All of the window seals were replaced (when washed, bsolutely zero leaking), he seats were reupholstered and a new headliner was installed.

Debate rages about exactly how many '83 FJ40 were produced (I've read reports of anywhere from 299 to 350), ut the simple fact is 1983 is a VERY collectible year for the FJ40 seeing as they were no longer available, or imported, o the US after '83. I personally have only seen a handful for sale over the years. While I love the stock look of the vintage FJ, will admit the actual driving experience leaves a lot to be desired if you want to drive your FJ on any modern streets and/or freeways. Because of those points, simply had to have this FJ when it was listed for sale three years ago due to the extensive mechanical improvements/upgrades.

Inside and outside the original design and look has been preserved (no rear wheel-well cutting has occurred), et the major mechanical components have been updated for greater & more reliable performance. The low horsepower (aka dangerously slow to accelerate & merge onto any modern freeway) 6-cylinder engine has been replaced with a modern 5.7L Vortec Fuel-Injected V8. The weak 4-speed transmission was removed in favor of a rebuilt (to stronger than stock) 5-speed NV4500 transmission with granny low (for awesome trail or stop-n-go traffic crawling performance) and overdrive for comfortable 65+ mph freeway driving. Modern power steering, ir-conditioning and a host of other upgrades and performance enhancements were also performed to make this classic FJ perform as well (or better) as any modern SUV. The vehicle runs and works perfectly and has approximately 10,000 miles on it since the restoration (odometer works and still reads the original total mileage on vehicle of 72,250). Absolutely ZERO leaks from the engine, ransmission, ransfer case or any other component (it's in my garage w/ no typical "classic car drips" that notoriously accompany older car ownership).

This is a smooth running, eliable FJ with impressive performance and unmatched classic looks built with great pride and care over a three year period. Over $75,000 has been invested in the purchase, estoration and performance upgrades to the vehicle (and I've got a massive box full of every receipt to prove the parts and cost that went into the build).


As previously mentioned, purchased this vehicle almost three years ago. I have always admired the looks & history of the FJ40 and have had it on my "Bucket List" of must-own vehicles since I was a young boy. My only dilemma was the fact I wanted a classic looking FJ, ut preferred to have modern driving reliability and speed associated with the "Resto-Mod" culture of vehicle builds today. Anyone that follows the FJ world knows those desires pose two challenges; 1) They are rare to find already built, nd 2) If you're lucky to find one (usually built by one of the known restoration/upgrade performance shops) they are pushing 6-figures. While I can appreciate those builds, just couldn't bring myself to pay $80K+ for a "modern" driving FJ40. So when this vehicle came on the market in my price range, had to have it.

The only issue was it was built by a father & son team out of state (built in Minnesota, hen the father moved to Michigan) that didn't have to deal with the CA regulations associated with post 1975 cars and engine swaps. Before I purchased the vehicle, spoke many times with the son who happened to be located in Northern CA and owned a number of AAMCO shops. Needless to say he was a "car-guy" and living in CA understood my concerns with purchasing the vehicle and getting it certified for CA street use. He was also a huge FJ fan (and owner) himself and assured me since the car was setup with all factory emissions in place, t shouldn't be too difficult to certify it via the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) process. We knew there would no doubt be a few hurdles, ut nothing that would ultimately be a show-stopper. To back up the assertion, e graciously offered to have me send the vehicle to him in NorCal, here he would store it in his shop and deal with the BAR inspections and take care of any issues that the referee might come up with for corrective actions.

I therefore purchased the vehicle from his father and had it shipped to his son's shop outside of Sacramento. It would be next to impossible for me to summarize almost three years of phone calls, mails and general history of what we went through (needless to say we've become friends through the process as we attempted to "Fight the Man" together), ut to give you a general idea of the craziness we have been dealing with, will list some of the NorCal BAR Ref disqualifiers over the course of the 3 inspections:

  • Rear evap sensor missing (fine, hat's easy, he engine worked fine w/o it and in Michigan it wasn't required, o we agreed to install another sensor and get the computer re-flashed).

  • Failed because the "Check Engine" light on the dash wasn't labeled (fine, e threw a sticker on).

  • Headers were not factory to the '96 Vortec engine (okay, e swapped to stock exhaust manifolds).

  • K&N air cleaner didn't have the model # sticker anymore; so we had to replace the perfectly working system with a new one so he could verify the model (okay, ow it's getting a little crazy...but wait...the insanity will grow...)

  • The location of the cat was not correct since it needed to line up with that of the '96 Tahoe schematic (since that's where the engine came from). What? How could all the exhaust pipe & cat location be the same as on a Tahoe when obviously we are dealing with a Toyota FJ frame? That took a few rounds to finally resolve and eventually he signed off on the corrections we made (oh yeah, e still had to redo the exhaust pipes from the exhaust manifold to the cat in order to change a few inches...as if those few inches of hollow pipe really matter...but I digress).

  • We had to re-flash the computer a few times in order to eliminate a bunch of codes. Even though the vehicle ran perfectly, he testing showed fault codes for things like ABS & anti-theft systems associated w/ the Tahoe (which obviously are not on the '83 FJ). So we sent the computer to a few custom shops out of state for the flashing. Then when we resolved the codes, he Ref failed us because the flashing was "Performed by a shop out of the state of CA." What?!?! That was the first time he mentioned that, o back to the drawing board. Another flash in CA, et he failed us again because, The CA shop is not an approved Chevy dealership." Are you kidding?!?! Since we didn't want to have to re-flash yet again (remember, his is a perfectly working/running vehicle), e were able to get him to approve the flash by getting documentation from a local GM dealership that put in writing the flash was stock & matched with the VIN/ENGINE/TRANS of the system we had.

  • Failed us because the speedometer was reading off from actual speed. When we asked for clarification, he initial response was "Can't be greater than 5mph error." When we pushed to see where that regulation was in writing, e wouldn't/couldn't produce it, et still stood behind the fact we would fail. When we corrected the error to 5mph on another visit, he SAME Ref said it was still too high and it needed to be, 3mph or less error." You can imagine the frustration that came! So an adjustment gear drive was installed in order to correct that issue.

  • Finally, he latest failure came when they ran the computer checks to verify all the monitors have set. Sure enough we still had 1 evap monitor that wouldn't set (again, ven though the vehicle is running/performing flawlessly), t didn't matter. We consulted multiple smog shops and even found per the BAR website/regs for passing emissions tests, hat '96-'99 vehicles can have up to ONE monitor that hasn't set and will still pass smog. That info wasn't good enough for him; he wanted ZERO issues and ALL monitors set.

  • I'm leaving out a plethora of even more trivial issues no doubt but seeing as I wasn't physically involved and it's been so many years, no doubt am not doing justice to how many hoops had to be jumped through.

At that point in time (Sept 2015 & our 3rd BAR failure in the last 2+ years), had had enough and decided I would bring the vehicle to SoCal and run it through my local BAR in Huntington Beach. I was convinced the Ref we dealt with in NorCal (the same "gentleman" for all 3 failures) no doubt had his high school sweetheart and/or wife run off with an FJ40 owner years ago and therefore absolutely refused to see another FJ on the road.

So I traveled to NorCal, icked up the car and drove it back to SoCal in one day. Here I was, he owner of the vehicle for almost 3 years and driving (and more shockingly seeing) it for the first time. As expected, t performed flawlessly, idn't miss a beat during the 6+ hr drive to SoCal.

I have been using it for short around-town errands for the past few months, ut have limited my time w/ it on the roads as obviously I'm concerned with getting pulled over without legal CA plates. I was able to get a BAR appointment for Dec 24th to see if my luck would be any different.

And wouldn't you know it, he Ref I encountered on Xmas Eve must have been related to The Grinch himself. I kid you not, hen I pulled up for my 7am appointment and introduced myself and asked him the customary, How are you doing?" He literally scowled at me and replied without even the slightest hint of friendliness, I've been better! Pull the car into the bay and tell me what you've done since your last failure." It was classic...where do they find these winners?!?!

As you can probably guess, he results were no different. My frustrations lie in the fact that he mentioned the following issues, ven though a number of them were supposedly resolved w/ Ref #1:

  • He didn't agree with the placement of the rear O2 sensor

  • He wasn't sure he would agree the front exhaust pipe to cat was the correct length

  • He didn't care for the location of the air filter

  • He too wanted to see all monitors set (even though he conceded CA smog laws for a '96-'99 will allow up to 1 monitor not set, e wanted a perfectly clear system)

Therefore, left dejected and finally beaten. While I would love to keep fighting these bureaucratic idiots, hat believe the letter of the law trumps the spirit, have to concede I simply do not have the patients or time anymore. I debated taking the FJ to Texas where my father lives and registering it out there (where DMV actually cares about normal things like the working e-brake, ights, lashers, orns and the fact the vehicle is safe to operate on the Texas roads), ut alas I didn't want to be driving a TX registered car in CA for any period of time. Therefore, 've decided to put this amazing FJ up for sale and let another owner get to actually experience the vehicle on a daily basis. While I know this has been a lengthy description & history, et me end by telling any prospective buyer all the remaining things I would do to the vehicle if I kept it. As with any older car (even one that is essentially modern, et restored a decade ago), here are some minor issues that I personally would eventually address. Nothing is a "show-stopper" for me to use this vehicle as-is right now and as I've said, t's been as reliable as any modern SUV in my collection. But if I kept it, would do the following:

  • Install the rear jump-seats and reupholster front/rear to match. The jump-seats are included in the purchase, ut there are currently speakers installed where the rear seats should mount. Also, here is a tear on the driver seat upholster (on surface - does not go all the way through material) that I would correct when I matched the rear seats.

  • Install front cabin insulation & carpet. While I appreciate the utility of the spayed liner bed, had no visions of using this FJ as a hard-core off-roader. 99% of the time it would be used for street & highway driving and trips to the beach. Therefore, would prefer to "soften" up the front cabin by installing the insulation and carpet.

  • Install 33" BFG's. The 31's are a little too small for my liking, here's plenty of clearance and eventually (say 10K miles) the 31's are going to need replacement. I would also probably eventually swap out the wheels for a more classic, raditional FJ steel wheel & hubcap.

  • There are 2 small rust spots (quarter & silver dollar in size) on the driver rear quarter. The spots were disclosed to me when I bought it and they have not grown any bigger. It would be a simple and small sand/re-spray job to correct those couple of minor visual blemishes. Not a huge deal, ut I would clean it up just the same.

  • Vintage AC system needs recharging & power - all components installed per the Vintage AC system, ut currently not running. AC is never a big deal for my beach cruiser classics, ut since this is a modern AC system, would spend some time charging it as it's obviously not some vintage system that would require a bunch of parts & work to get functional again. No doubt sitting for multiple years and not being used has taken its toll on the coolant in the system.

If you're interested, lease call me directly at 714.756.0993 to discuss. I REFUSE to answer a laundry list of question via email, o don't even bother sending them to me...and all you SCAMMERS out there, lease spare yourself & me the trouble of trying to contact me. I've sold enough classics over the years that I've seen every one of the current scams and I'm too busy and impatient to deal with you. If you're a seriously interested party, y all means call me and we'll talk about the car. But if you're simply the typical "internet tire-kicker" let's not play the games and talk when we both know you have no intention of buying (or the wife is never going to sign off on you buying this awesome classic...please seek permission to buy from The Boss BEFORE calling me). Also, 'm downsizing my stable, o please no offers for any kind of trades.

I'm asking $39,000, ut open to reasonable offers. I will NEVER be insulted or get upset over an offer; I just can't guarantee I won't laugh. I have a clear title in hand that will be turned over to the new owner to fill out as he/she sees fit (enough said J). I'm sure I've left out info, o please call me directly to ask specific questions that I didn't address in the above novella. Good luck.

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