Now which one. I'm courious as to which year and setup would be a best bet for a first time buyer of an FJ40 (ya know, best features, performance, accessories, etc...). The 1964 looks like it won't work out without spending bookoo pennies.
Depends on what you want to do with it, really. Overall, they just seemed to get better the longer they were built. Newer rigs (after 75) had lower grade body steel, however, and increasingly complex emissions controls. That may be more or less important depending on where you live. If you plan serious offroading, the later rigs definitely had stronger front ends. If you want a restored rig, from what I've seen it is usually cheaper to buy someone else's restoration than it is to do your own (or pay to have it done!). On the other hand, it is a great vehicle to learn on, and the older ones are the simpler ones, in general.
1964-1967-too much money to upgrade- but good metal --skip
1968-69 cross over years --skip
1969-1970 still no brake booster easy fit (w/ stock engine) --skip
1971-1972, better buy. good metal, bad drivetrain, power brakes.
1973-1975 think smog ('73 better), no disks but easy fix. '73's and some '74's have 3sp (farm & ranch tranny), good metal. 74-75 have ambulance doors, 75's later doors and windshield frames
1976-1977 good buy, disk brakes
1978's best year?
1979-1980 may get factory PS, a/c rust like crazy from here on out. bad smog
1981-82's still bad smog, but parts is FJ60. running gear is fj60...you also get cool steering wheel, collapsible steering column, 999,999 odometer, rear axle ebrake, split transfer case, easier drop in 5 speed, but rust rust rust
1983's- for average $5,000 extra you get:
bolt in dash, steering column lock, and 95% of trim "1983 parts" discontinued (I don't believe the hype)
notes to remember.
the tub is the truck. sheet metal is everything.
bottom mount wiper windshield frames are becoming very rare 1975+, 1975+ front and rear doors becoming rare in good shape, hood spear on E-1971 are rare in good shape, dutch doors e-1974 are becoming rare, drop down gates are very rare (factory), E-1974 doors stess crack, E-1967 indi wiper motors rare...
1969+ you can pretty much add disk brakes without thinking
fuel tanks can still be bought new for just over $200 (up to '78 models)
1968-1974 windshield frames are available used
Toyota hub caps are under $80 a set o 5
Toyota fenders can still be bought (1978+)
Toyota hoods can still be bought ($560 list)
Toyota Bibs (headlight metal) can still be bought ($250-$350)
Toyota aprons, steps, bumperettes, even the little front bumper triangle plates can be found new.
Lights (good ones) can be bought aftermarket or cheaply from dealer
My dad owned a 1978 fj40 brand new and it was mine for 3 years and i loved it. It was de-smogged and it ran great. I had up to 300,000 - 500,000 miles on the engine!! The rear push out windows are nice and the defrosters for the doors windows are good as well. After i took my 78 into a ditch at 50 mph. Now i have a 1976 fj40. There are little differances from what i experienced. The 76 doesn't have the kick out windows in the rear which is bad for fogging up windows and it doesn't have the defrost for the front door windows. Either way personally both are good IMO.