Why We Love It: 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser 80-Series

We grew up in this car. I learned to drive in it and I drove it to pass my driver’s license exam. As of writing this, its the only new car our mom has ever bought. We still use this truck as a daily driver and it has never had an engine rebuild.

The 80-Series, in my opinion, is the last model in which the Land Cruiser retained it’s somewhat rugged good looks. It turns out that in the 1996 Dakar rally, a Land Cruiser pair took the top two podium spots in the unmodified diesel class (source).

Current total mileage: 339,184

Modifications: None. This is an all-stock vehicle. However, the fender flares have been repainted due to sun damage, all seats have been reupholstered, and the front driver’s side of the car had some reconstructive work done after an accident (see below). The speakers were also replaced at some point a few years back.

Engine: 212-hp, 4.5-liter I-6 gasoline

Transmission: 4-speed automatic

Trim Level: Gold. Gold plated emblems signify full time 4-wheel drive as well as leather seats.

Significant Life Events: On my way home from high school in February of 2010, I was in an accident. This car probably saved my life.

Current issues: Nothing serious. The engine is leaking oil in several places, the check engine light is on, and the electronic door lock stopped working on the rear passenger doors (doesn’t bother me too much). The solution to the first two issues would be to give this old girl an engine rebuild.

My favorite Land Cruisers (aside from the 80-Series) are 70-Series. However, these vehicles have never been available to U.S. customers. As of writing this, Toyota still makes them and I had a chance to see them in action in Costa Rica.

Check out our article from the trip we took to Costa Rica back in 2017.

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