“Buddy,” my FJ45lpb, the backstory, trip, getting the rig going (1 Viewer)

Joined
Dec 14, 2003
Messages
178
Location
Colorado
It all began in the Summer of 1995.

My then girlfriend, now wife, and I took the opportunity to spend a few days at my Uncle and Aunt's ranch some 50 miles East of Ely, NV. It was a bit of a drive from Northern California, but I loved the area, having spent days in the region in attendance of my mom’s side of the family’ annual reunions. My mom, her 7 siblings, grew up in McGill, about 10 miles North of Ely. Most of the time my Uncle (and all of the time my Aunt) lived in Ely, some 60 miles away. So as it was, we had the place to ourselves. If you love high desert, you understand when I say how beautiful this part of the country is. His ranch is perched at the foot of Mt. Wheeler. A spectacular place. Heaven with unobstructed views to the horizon East where you can be afforded the gift of absence of all human sound.

While there, I noticed this blue rig in front of his cabin. I looked it over a bit when I noticed the Toyo Land Cruiser Emblem. “Huh,” I thought. “Didn’t know Toyota had a truck Land Cruiser?” With the key in the ignition, I fired up the engine. Then as quickly shut it off. That was that.

But I never forgot.

Fast forward to early 2000. My uncle dies (his wife preceded him in death). In between 1995 and his passing, I moved to CO, got into off-roading and owned a 95 and 97 LC, both of which I sold a few years ago. It was during this time that I greatly increased my knowledge of early LCs, in particular, the FJ45s, and … how unique/rare they are. But that wasn’t what drove my interest. It was the rig, the way it looked, its place in history, my love of Toyotas, and that I had a personal connection to THIS FJ45.

All of his belongings passed to his 4 grandchildren, including the ranch and the FJ45. Shortly after his passing, I called his granddaughter, my second cousin, to ask what were the plans for the rig? I stated my interest, its value/rarity and willingness to not only pay cash but provide a newer, running rig, like a Tacoma. Understandably, she appreciated my interest but that the rig was part of the ranch, a reminder of her grandfather, “Buddy,” and would remain there. I was bummed and at the same time, loved and appreciated how she and the other grandchildren adored the vehicle so obviously tied to their grandfather.

Fast forward to 2016, some 8-12 years later since we first talked about the FJ. She sent our family a Xmas card in which she noted the very reluctant decision to sell the ranch this past Summer (2016). I guess it was about 10 nanoseconds later I sent her a text expressing my sincere sympathies for the loss, how difficult it must have been to sell the ranch and, of course, asking the status of the truck.

In between sending the text and receiving a response, I whispered to myself, “please God … please still have possession of the FJ45? I will never sin again. Please God!” Response: “the rig in in the possession of my cousin (and one of the 4 grandchildren). Call him, he may want to sell it?” For the next few weeks I pondered how best to approach discussing the rig with her cousin due to issues between the grandchildren that, to my mind, might cause a reaction of negativity. Nuff said. I did not know this 2nd cousin whatsoever. He is some 14 years younger than me and for whatever reason, we didn’t establish a relationship during one of the many family reunions, the last of which was more than a decade in the past.

It’s eating at me. I need to initiate contact. One week, two weeks, work, family, three weeks, more work ... four weeks … five weeks. How does it go? “I’d like to procrastinate, but I keep putting it off.” That was me. While sitting on my ass in the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport 2 Feb, returning from a business trip and awaiting my flight yet 3 hours in the future, I get a text from my cousin who told me to contact her cousin who was in possession of the rig, as he wants to sell it. “Wait? Did I read that right?" Yes, I did. “Thank you, God!”

Say no more, I got hold of him the next day. We talked, discussed the rig, with plans to come out to Ely 18 Feb. The deal was done the next day; got the rig home yesterday, 20 Feb 17.

I never forgot and got oh so lucky. All is right with the World. Of course, I have probably sinned about a 100 times since. First of many pics. More to come, covering the trip and, eventually, getting the rig running, which will be months in the future.

Rig is loaded and ready to go with faded but straight fenders in the bed.

View attachment 1407196

P2190113.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 14, 2003
Messages
178
Location
Colorado
Okay ... more pics (I did post some of these already in 2 other threads ... so apologize for the repeats). It's my intention to provide all updates going forward in this thread.

We finally have eyes on the rig.

P2190086.jpg
P2190087.jpg
P2190089.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 14, 2003
Messages
178
Location
Colorado
As I am looking over the rig, I am thinking "what happened to my idealized memory of the rig from 1995?" In between the pics, I took a hammer to the frame and lightly tapped all body panels. Rock solid. Just surface rust. A relief. Honestly, it is in great shape and I "think" I have all the parts my cousin removed when he was going to restore it 5-6 years ago.

P2190090.jpg
P2190091.jpg
P2190092.jpg


Anyone notice the missing motor mount bolt? We had some work to do to make it tow ready.
 
Joined
Dec 14, 2003
Messages
178
Location
Colorado
more pics ... bottom pic is the original block. My Cousin decided to buy a period correct F engine in good running condition. Original engine, apparently, had one frozen piston. I have, hopefully, all the components from the original engine. I know I have the major components. It's the smaller stuff I'm worried about. Fingers crossed. Parts were scattered all about the garage. No brakes; no power. We had to use a come along to get it on the trailer.

P2190105.jpg


P2190106.jpg


P2190111.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 14, 2003
Messages
178
Location
Colorado
last post tonight ... Driving home. First needed some food. Pics are taken from the McDonalds parking lot. First two pics are looking towards South Ely. Last pic is looking North, towards the town of McGill.

P2190117.jpg
P2190118.jpg
P2190119.jpg
 
Last edited:

cppilot

1965 FJ45 LPB original second owner
GOLD Star
SILVER Star
Joined
Feb 1, 2012
Messages
1,426
Location
Southern Oregon
Super story, one you'll remember for ever. I remember my first FJ45 and the long drive home with it. That rig looks super rust free and has an outstanding looking firewall. Now the fun begins........
 
Joined
Dec 14, 2003
Messages
178
Location
Colorado
more pics taken from the drive from Ely, NV to home on the Front Range of CO.


Pulling out of Ely on hwy 50, looking North/East
P2190120.JPG


Still pulling out of Ely, looking South/East
P2190121.JPG


Last shot of Ely as we are just about out of town, heading due East

P2190122.JPG
 
Joined
Dec 14, 2003
Messages
178
Location
Colorado
Still driving Hwy 50

Pic is taken looking West on a slight grade. My son and I are exiting the valley between Ely and Baker. Been through here a few times but in recent years a large wind generating farm was added that would be behind me and slightly South.

P2190128.JPG


Looking Back ...
P2190129.JPG


At the NV/UT Hwy 50 Border. Stopped for the pic but also to get some provisions at the Border Inn/Gas Station/Casino/Bar. Nothing else between here and Delta UT, save for the beautiful scenery. Border Inn has been in operation for some 40 years. In the back where the bathrooms are located are mounted maybe 100 photos of locals, to include My Uncle. Had no idea it was there. Was it a sign from the beyond?
P2190133.JPG
 
Joined
Dec 14, 2003
Messages
178
Location
Colorado
still driving on ...

Pic is Hwy 50, UT, with the city of Delta up ahead. Delta is farming country.
P2190141.JPG

Looking back with the Sun going down. We got a late start leaving Ely. It just took a long time to load everything up.
P2190142.JPG


Nice to have my 17 year old Son taking the wheel, so I can prop up my feet on the passenger dash. He is a great kid. Couldn't be more proud of him. To be able to spend this road trip with him was wonderful. It won't be long before he strikes out on his own. Oh, he loves the FJ45 and can't wait to work on it.
P2190144.JPG
 
Joined
Dec 14, 2003
Messages
178
Location
Colorado
We made Rifle, CO, Hwy 70, about midnight, staying in a hotel for the night. Next morning we head out hoping the interstate is open over Vail and Eisenhower/Johnson Passes. The day before, 70 was closed for some hours due to snow.

Heading into Glenwood Canyon. Colorado River is on the right
P2200148.JPG

Heading towards Vail. Gaining altitude all the way.
P2200149.JPG


Vail getting closer ...
P2200150.JPG
 
Joined
Dec 14, 2003
Messages
178
Location
Colorado
we make Vail. So far so good. Road condition electronic signs say all is good going over the passes but to take 'er slow due to patches of snow. Yes!

P2200151.JPG


We clear Vail Summit and drive on to the Eisenhower/Johnson Summit. Clear this Summit, we are home free to the Front Range of Colorado. Next two pics are taken between Vail Summit and the Eisenhower/Johnson up the road.
P2200154.JPG

P2200156.JPG
 
Joined
Dec 14, 2003
Messages
178
Location
Colorado
Heading South on Interstate 25. Pic below shows snow capped Pikes Peak in the back, center-left. Pikes Peak is a 14'er, meaning it is over 14,000ft. Getting closer to home.
P2200167.JPG


United States Air Force Academy, located on the Northern boundary of Colorado Springs. Approaching Monument Hill.
P2200169.JPG


Pikes Peak. Gold miners heading West to CO knew they were getting close when they observed the Peak. The slogan "Pikes Peak or Bust" drove the miners on in the 1850s to make their riches in the region. Katharine Lee Bates was inspired by the views she had atop Pikes Peak, inspiring her to write "America the Beautiful."
P2200174.JPG
 
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom