Intro to an Aug ‘73 Original Owner FJ40 (1 Viewer)

Joined
Sep 9, 2020
Messages
7
Location
Beaverton, OR
Having spent early childhood in northern areas of Pakistan in FWO’s FJ40’s on the Karakorum Highway (KKH) these Land Cruisers had a special place in my heart. Having followed the development of the FJ Cruiser, in ’07 I bought a Titanium Silver ‘07 that I own to this day. Then life happened and I got into British cars. Having completed all the hard work on a Jaguar and a Land Rover, in the summer of ’20 aka COVID induced late night web surfing, I once again started searching for an FJ40. My current car projects were done (for now) and for my “therapy” and sanity I needed another car project to keep me busy. The search took me and my son (we make a great travelling team) all over the region and into the neighboring state. We looked at over a dozen vehicles – all the way from vehicles offered on BAT to backyard restorers to professionals selling FJ40s to many Craigslist ads. My requirements were simple; I wanted something that still needed work (to keep me busy), was as original as possible (no conversions – except for 3 to 4 speed), minimal rust and had to be between 1970 to 1974. Why? because the Jag is ’70 and the LR is ’72. I am stuck in the early ‘70’s era and I love comparing technology from a particular era (an engineer by profession). We met so many nice owners, so many wonderful stories and heard so much history, that we could probably write a short book. But the most wonderful was when we met Don.

The story of Salty.

In middle of October one such search took us to Oregon’s north coast and we met Don. In 1973 24 year old Don walked into the local dealership and purchased an Aug’73 build date FJ40, because the Jeep dealer in town would not sell him one. All his buddies were buying Jeeps at that time. For the next 33 years, this was his rig. It took kids to school, went on deer and elk hunting trips in the coast range and performed all kinds of chores expected of a fine off-road vehicle. In 2006 since it was now showing its age and looking tattered in some areas was driven into the garage located under his house and parked until our phone call and visit in October.

My son and I drove up the Oregon coast to look at the FJ40 after talking with the owner over the phone. We drove up his property and he let us into the garage and it was love at first sight. 😊 An original owner FJ40 was smiling at us.

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I poked around the vehicle, looked at all the items he had kept all these years. The original wheels and tires. The original tool kit with the grease gun, factory FSMs, owner’s manual, etc. I asked him why he was selling and his answer, “I don’t know if I will ever get to make this run again and I don’t want to sell it to someone who will trash it”. Though it made me sad initially, I found solace in knowing that this owner appreciates his vehicles and has a bond with them just like we do and maybe I can get this back on the road again. I told him that I was looking for one so I can get it ready for my son to take his driver’s test in 3 years with it. Not so easy with the Jag and the Landy. No automatic for the drivers test is my sons own set condition. That is when we started the story telling. If I had not already fallen for this smiling FJ40, then it happened every time he told us something about it. How he used to pull his buddies out with the winch, how he pulled the elk after a successful hunt, the litter of Golden Retrievers he brought home in it. He shared his whole family went to U of O and I shared that me and my family for two generations have been OSU grads. I made an offer and he said he would think about it and get back to us. After a couple of weeks passed, I texted him and got no response and I moved on. Looked at another couple of FJ40’s and I got busy with removing the gearbox and transfer case from the Landy (it was fine – I just “thought” it was a bit notchy – more to keep me busy over the Thanksgiving break). Cyber Monday I get a text from Don, “Are you ready to buy it?”. I text back: “I thought the Ducks losing to the Beavers this year turned you off and you did not want to sell to me!”. He tells me no, he was out hunting but now back in town and I better come get it before he changes his mind. He even gives me the contact info for a local towing company that can move it for me. I make the necessary calls to arrange the move and the following weekend my son and I are back in the garage with Don. He had pulled out the FJ40, gathered up all the parts he had saved for the last 47 years. Tow truck guy shows up, a real character himself that has actually hunted with the owner in this very vehicle since the late 70’s. Then the neighbor shows up and starts telling us of the adventures they had since the late 70’s in it. Seems like everyone in the county has a story to tell about this vehicle. I am so lucky to have met the owner and his Land Cruiser. I cannot say enough good things about the owner and feel immensely grateful for having met him and him agreeing to let me take care of it next. He comes from a long-time mariner family from the Northern Oregon coast. I am happy to say that the vehicle was safely transferred to my home base in the suburbs of Portland. The tow truck driver did tell me that he was flagged down twice on the drive by people offering to buy the Land Cruiser.


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So, what is in store for this vehicle? My intention is to keep vehicles like this on the road; work on them, learn from them and meet as many people through them and share them with others. In doing that, first would be to get it running and then keep it as original as possible. I have plenty of projects going on, including raising a child alone, so things move a bit slowly and I have ~3years to get things ready. Slow and steady wins the race!

It has not been started since 2006, but the PO had been turning the engine over by hand, so nothing is frozen up. I still plan to follow the Marvel Mystery Oil regimen. Of course, all fluids will be replaced, same with the filters, cleaning of the water jacket. Clean and seal of the fuel tank, clean the radiator, change the plugs, points, clean the carb (it has a Holley), new tires, etc. and see how the engine fires up. After that will come a rebuild of the steering system (all the tie rods), knuckles and then the rebuild of the brake and clutch system. It won’t be leaving the garage anytime soon. I can already see the similarities between the Land Rover front end components and the FJ40 and the famous pre-load and shims……. That will give me enough time to read all the on-line forums, look at other build videos, search out the most economical parts suppliers, etc. After all the mechanicals are done and it is running well would I move on to the body. I would really like to keep the patina on this one. Except, the rear needs help. Even though I am an ok MIG welder, maybe I will seek out someone in the local area to help me with that part or just practice a lot on thin gage sheet metal before delving into it. If anyone wants to help, feel free to contact me or pass on a local resource info. Even though more recently I have been focused on British vehicles (plenty of rust there too) and Lucas electrics, I spent the 80’s tinkering with all the family cars. The Datsun 120Y/B210/180B, Mazda 1300, 808, 626, Toyota Corona, Corolla, and a whole host of other Japanese models. Staring at the Toyota engine bay it is all coming back and a lot of familiar parts and equipment. One thing is for sure, I need to pick up more tools. Yipieee… it is not SAE and Whitworth anymore. Now time to get more metric tools and FJ40 specific ones. Anyone getting out of them or have doubles they want to sell, please feel free to contact me directly.

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Oh, if you are wondering about the name “Salty” that we have chosen for the FJ40, I am sure you guessed the mariner connection from the coast and my son has been naming all our cars since he was a baby. Yep, Thomas the Tank Engine characters….. there is Molly (Jag), Henry (Land Rover), Spencer (FJ Cruiser) and now Salty. I did not use up my allocated budget, could have spent more on a much nicer vehicle, but never saw one that was a single owner in my search. Salty will be sharing the garage space with three other single owner vehicles. More pictures to follow……and a slow progress when time allows. The original two sets of keys.
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First question for all you knowledgeable ones; is the color Dune Beige or Coronado Beige? The only reason I ask is that it came with this can of paint and the only thing still visible on it is: No. 51 Obviously haven’t opened the can - lest the genie escapes. Thank you in advance.


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Joined
Jan 9, 2020
Messages
250
Location
NorCal
That’s an awesome find and cooler story! You owe the original owner a ride when you get it running.

‘73 are the best!
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2005
Messages
5,558
Location
Southern Colorado
Nice find, and a good story.

The best thing you can do to honor the original owner is to drive the dumb thing and go hunting, camping, four-wheeling, Christmas-tree-cutting, etc. Don't make a garage queen out of it.

A buddy sent me 2 cans of OEM touch-up paint like yours from sea level, and when I opened them at 7000' elevation, the lids literally blew off and hit the ceiling. Fun stuff! I think you'll just have to carefully pry the lids off (the metal is soft and a paint can hook will tend to distort the lid, so go slowly) and find out.
 
Joined
Sep 9, 2020
Messages
7
Location
Beaverton, OR
Thanks all, for the welcome and comments.
@Slapshot definitely already made that promise to the PO to take him for a ride and I am learnin 'bout the '73 year. @SteveH no garage queens in our house-hold, everything gets driven regularly and so will Salty. Thanks for the pointer on the paint can - I am only at 525' ASL.

A few more pics for now until I start getting deeper into it.

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Pile of stuff I need to go through still...
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Happy Holidays!

Ozzy
 
Joined
Jan 9, 2020
Messages
250
Location
NorCal
Inside looks good too.

I’ve been told that back up light is unique to the ‘73 and is pretty rare.
 

KingAir Driver

SILVER Star
Joined
Jan 7, 2016
Messages
395
Location
Spokane, WA
Congrats! Awesome story to go with it. Lot's of 73's popping up on the board recently. You'll find there's a bunch of 1 year only equipment (back-up lamp, front and rear heater switches, headlight switch) plus it started the transition to bucket seats, early 73's didn't have the roll-bar, not sure if late production matters? Enjoy the process!
 
Joined
Feb 22, 2017
Messages
300
Location
SW Washington
Congrats! Awesome story to go with it. Lot's of 73's popping up on the board recently. You'll find there's a bunch of 1 year only equipment (back-up lamp, front and rear heater switches, headlight switch) plus it started the transition to bucket seats, early 73's didn't have the roll-bar, not sure if late production matters? Enjoy the process!
What's unique about the heater switches on a 73?

P.S. I looked at pics of your 73... sick ride! I love the white seats.
 

Dizzy

GOLD Star
Joined
Feb 5, 2018
Messages
1,957
Location
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Congrats! Awesome story to go with it. Lot's of 73's popping up on the board recently. You'll find there's a bunch of 1 year only equipment (back-up lamp, front and rear heater switches, headlight switch) plus it started the transition to bucket seats, early 73's didn't have the roll-bar, not sure if late production matters? Enjoy the process!
The roll-bar was dealer add-ons, or so I've been told. Eventually, Toyota picked up the slack. My '73 had one as well. It was like a piece of hot rolled angle steel at the foot, 45-degree angle on the back tube. Also unique are the footman loops on the hard top model tub and swing-outs, if I remember correctly.

The hubs on the front are not the usual Warn, or Aisan, locking types?
 

pb4ugo

SILVER Star
Joined
May 8, 2006
Messages
2,093
Location
spay-lay-wi-theepi, Ohio
Congratulations, great story and beautiful 40. The roll bar looks like a Smittybuilt and the hubs appear to be a Selectro style.
 
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