Help me get a idea of value on this '81. A widow in the family is wanting to sell it. (1 Viewer)

Jan 17, 2005
Southern Colorado
I would repair the rear spring/frame area, and then NOT drive it in the winter. Colorado uses lots of salt.

All grease-type products will make refinishing difficult later, but not impossible. If it's a garage queen, it won't rust enough to matter -just park it. If you are parking it outside or driving it in wet weather., I would drown all the exterior areas with Fluid Film and put a less-stinky grease inside all the doors. I think wire-wheeling and priming is a lot of extra work and won't do as much as entombing areas in petroleum products.

Vae Victus

Posting more than I know
Mar 7, 2013
Nashville, TN
I bought mine in 2013 in better shape than that for $4500, and have spent about $35K since that time doing far less metal replacement than you would need to do.

I'd say find a $10K vehicle that will cost you FAR less in time and money unless this holds special sentimental value for you and you like very large projects.
Feb 4, 2006
You can always 'buy now, restore later'. If you think you EVER wanted an FJ40, this might be the one, given what's out there. I didn't really want my neighbor's FJ62 until I considered how many times you see trucks like this with some history at the right price. I bought the FJ62 and have enjoyed it ever since.

This. 👆don’t pass it up. They don’t come around often these days. Just my 2cents worth.
Oct 2, 2015
Port Orchard, wa
While the body and possibly the frame are in pretty poor condition, there are a lot of little things there that appear to be original and in great shape.

Little things like that rear heater switch and the license plate mount, people trying to restore vehicles to original condition sometimes spend a lot of effort trying to find things like this. Not to mention what looks like an original headliner in pretty reasonable looking condition.

And it looks like it might have a full kit of smog control parts. While most of us would rather remove most of this and possibly even upgrade to EFI, people restoring vehicle to original condition, or just those that have to comply with California inspections, would probably be thrilled to get those parts none of the rest of us want to deal with.

A lot of those little things can be much harder to replace and restore than a rusted out body.
May 3, 2009
An '81 is getting on the rare side as numbers sold dropped with the mini-trucks and the FJ60s coming out at this time...

...and to be fair to the inlaws...

I suggest they put it up for sale @ $8-10K and see what they get offered.

If it were in my family I'd offer $5-7Kish and hope they would discount it further. If the offers are in that range then a little further respectful negotiating would be okay. WARNIING: You don't want to lowball family members and be the focus of hard feelings later when someone decides that you took advantage - even if you didn't. Been there.

Personally I don't have the money to correct the the problems with that vehicle even to just make it a daily driver. $3000 would be the most I would pay for it but I'm not the market demo any more.
Apr 21, 2005
Little things like that rear heater switch and the license plate mount, people trying to restore vehicles to original condition sometimes spend a lot of effort trying to find things like this.

Rear heater switch is the same rear heater switch off the dash of the FJ60. Picked one up for my console/rear heater. These were only used during part of 81. My newest FJ40 is a 79. I'm adding a 8/80 console rear heater. Mystery is how it is wired. The rarer part is the ashtray.Not sure what license plate bracket is rare. The cover used to protect the license plate lights wiring harness was only 8/80+.

The cover over the handle is a harder part to find.

As for the headliner it appears to be sagging and doubt it could be reused if the foam padding had dry rotted.

8/80+ has the advantage of a transmission crossmember, split transfer case and hand brake on the rear axle. All things that make adding H55F a lot easier to do. $5K sounds lot of money but like was mentioned 8/80+ are to find. Mini truck started in 79 and at that time the number of FJ40s started to drop. By the time 81 model came around numbers imported had dropped even more. By 83 model came around only couple hundred were imported.

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