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Classic FJ Land Cruiser Goodness In Modern Packaging: The Aspen Project

Classic Toyota FJ Land Cruisers have a strong following among automotive collectors. Their durable design and iconic shape have made them prime candidates for restoration. Now, some wish to go a step further – to modernize one of the best off-road vehicles ever built.

The FJ Company is one such outfit, specializing in ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s Land Cruisers (FJ20, FJ40, and FJ60 series models). Once the FJ Company acquires a donor car, it sets about transforming the 4×4 into a customized, reliable work of vehicular art.

This year, SEMA invited the FJ Company to strut its stuff, and instead of displaying one of its more traditional Cruisers, the specialty shop went to work on the “Aspen Project.”

What began life as a 1982 Toyota FJ43 Land Cruiser has become a tailor-made beauty. FJ Company’s President, Juan Diego Calle, asked for a “purpose-built, family-friendly beast that could take on the rigors of everyday highway driving as well as the back-country near Aspen, Colorado.” What we see here goes just a tad beyond those loose specs.

The build started by removing the FJ’s frame, tweaking the car’s power steering, front disc brakes, and climate controls, then addressing the powertrain. Toyota’s 1FZ engine, a 4.5-liter inline six-cylinder with electronic fuel injection, serves up 210 horsepower in this configuration. That’s paired with a five-speed manual transmission for optimal off-road responsiveness.

A passing glance would overlook the trail-ready equipment on this FJ, because the original Land Cruiser exterior remains mostly unchanged. In addition to a matte white paint job, the FJ Company added a Warn 8274 winch on the original front bumper, flanked by a pair of 7″ LED fog lights. Most importantly, a custom roll cage was engineered to keep all occupants safe – especially since the back half of the rig is only covered in canvas.

Inside, the Aspen Project gets Recaro SPEED seats, trimmed in the same marine-grade material as the door panels and fold-down rear seats. The floor is also coated in Rhino Linings bedliner for all-weather protection. As convenience features go, there’s a digital instrument cluster (which some luxury cars don’t even have), LED interior lighting, and a premium sound system with Bluetooth.

As a one-off build, the Aspen Project FJ has already been sold (price unknown), but I’d wager if you’ve got a healthy bank account, the FJ Company design any Land Cruiser you fancy.

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Miles Branman
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