South American FJ40/43 Import - Miami

Ackcruisers

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I’m taking the advice of many on Ih8Mud.com and flying down to Miami to inspect 8 Fj40/43’s. I’ve owned two 40’s in my past and am amazed at how many South American (Colombia, Venezuela) imports are in the US market floating around on eBay, Mecum,Barrett Jackson, BringATrailer and classic used car dealers.

The quality of the restoration work vary so much with documentation and restoration shop details few and far between. Everyone claims they have a gem worth at the high end of the market for SA imports.

In my search and due diligence, I’ve encountered on multiple occasions that the sellers have claimed their shop has the “guy” who worked at FJ Company perform all the restoration work.

I’ve owned two FJ40’s 30 years ago while in high school/college. I’m looking for another one and am visit with a cast of characters in Miami area today and tomorrow who are “importers”. I’ll report back what I discover as these EBay vehicles look great but wonder upon close inspection and driving if they are Thanks
 
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Ackcruisers

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To follow up on my trip to Miami and South Florida this is what I learned. First, the obvious, these SA FJ40’s are not outfitted at all like the NA. They have no heat, roll bars, power steering, disc brakes and many do not have seat belts. Even the 1976 - 1980s SA trucks have no disc brakes or brake booster with double reservoir master cylinder. Many trucks made in Venuzuela were made in the local FJ factory and are not the same trucks made in Japan and imported to Colombia. There are many “importers“ who have connections with shops all over Venuzuela and Colombia. These trucks are brought into the market either on spec with the importer paying for the shipping and then paying the restorer once the car sells. The going price for a perfect FJ40 is between $38,000 and $42,000 (with Vintage air added). Many of the trucks on the market now started their restoration work up to 18 months ago. At these prices, the margins are slim. The importing fees and shipping ($3k via ship and $6k to fly), then you have to pay 10% to the guy who sold it. Do not buy any FJ40 without photo documentation of the restoration. While It may appear to have a rebuilt engine and transmission/transfer case, many simply paint with silver and black and put a new valve cover gasket and call it a day. Also, many of these truck restorers use way too much seam sealer joining the body tub metal parts together. I think this is a sign of poor welds. I did buy a SA1976 FJ40 but not from anyone in Florida. Bottom line, given the slim margins today due to the quantity and the varying degrees of restoration, the FJ40’s being restored now and that will be here in next 6-12 months must cut corners somewhere to make any profit.
 

The FJ Company

www.fj.co
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Miami, FL
This all sounds just about right. To our own amazement, the quick “paint/import/flip” scheme that has been going on for a few years is still profitable for some. Just look at the volume of 40’s going up for auction at MECUM, Barrett, and BAT: Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 Market - CLASSIC.COM 21 for sale right now!

It’s part of the reason why we moved away from traditional restos and are focused exclusively on our G40/43 models.

@Ackcruisers “sellers have claimed their shop has the “guy” who worked at FJ Company”. Send me the guys name and I’ll confirm with HR 😀😀
 
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Ackcruisers

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Thanks @The FJ Company...I will follow up with the name of the restorer who allegedly worked for you on the traditional restorations. I’m in the process of publishing a detailed buyers guide to help the broader enthusiast community understand what to look for when buying one of these trucks. The FJ40 I ended up with was a 4/1976 from Colombia.
 

1986blue60

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Dec 3, 2015
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142
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Bogotá, Colombia
I concur with what all of you are saying. I live in Bogotá and when I was shopping for my Fj60 I was frequently asked if I was buying for the FJ Company or another restorer. The word has gotten out about US interest in land cruisers and the prices are reflecting it. However, There are still a lot of good deals to be had down here outside of the big cities. I agree with Ackcruisers, the margins are slim so they are taking any shortcut they can to up the profit. If anyone has a cruiser they are interested in a cruiser in the Bogota area, I could take a look.
 
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