Toyota FJ Bruiser is a 725 hp NASCAR V8 with a 1960s Land Cruiser attached
To create the coolest SEMA showstopper we’ve ever seen, Toyota has fashioned an unstoppable Frankenstein FJ45 pickup — complete with tank track underbelly and 42-inch BF Goodrich tyres.
Dropping an enormous race-ready V8 into a classic off-roader is about as sensible as fitting a flame thrower to a milk float, but that’s what makes this FJ so fabulous. How and why does such a creation even exist? We hear you ask.
Well, each year, as a treat, Toyota gives its motorsport engineers the keys to a special toy room and tells them to go wild. This has resulted in some truly weird and wonderful SEMA show cars, although it’s fair to say none have been as wild as the Bruiser.
With a mandate to ‘conquer the toughest terrain in the world’, TRD (Toyota Racing Development) started with the heart of the beast. Knowing what they wanted to achieve with the Bruiser, the team quickly realised there was only one engine which could do the project justice: the 5.8-litre NASCAR V8, as found in the current Camry TRD racer. Obviously, with a comfortable 700 bhp at its disposal, such a powerplant would rip the aging FJ gearbox to pieces, so TRD paired it to a stout (if somewhat rudimentary sounding) 3-speed automatic racing unit built by Rancho Drivetrain Engineering.
Need new 4x4 tyres?
Enter your registration and postcode and we’ll show you the best tyres for your SUV
You could argue that sorting the power was actually the easiest part of the project, though. Getting such a ferocious motor to gel with a nearly 60-year-old Land Cruiser design, was the real challenge. Although it might look like a 1966 FJ (albeit one with enormous wheels and a barely-contained V8 emerging from the bonnet) the TRD team was forced to create a custom tubular chassis and roll cage and then drape the old body atop – far from a simple task given the original car’s modest internal dimensions.
Things start to get really interesting once you get to the drivetrain set-up. Amazingly, it’s still a solid-axle 4x4, but that’s where the similarities end. Front and rear Currie® differentials and a high-tech Adapter Atlas® transfer case facilitate four 2-wheel-drive speeds and four 4-wheel-drive speeds. In practice, this means the Bruiser can rock crawl at just 12 mph while the engine is screaming at 7000 rpm, but also achieve an astonishing 165 mph in top gear at the same revs.
Team this offroad wizardry with insanely tall 42-inch BF Goodrich® Krawler T/A KX tyres, and the FJ should be able to cross anything short of a canyon with ease. In the extremely unlikely event that you do manage to beach it, the Bruiser has quite the party piece to get things back on track. Hidden in the underbelly is a rubber belt (yes, really) designed to extricate the FJ from any sticky situation. Brilliantly, Toyota has named this feature ‘Tank Mode’ — you won’t find that button on a standard Land Cruiser, that’s for sure.
According to Mike Tripp, Group Vice President, Toyota Marketing, this mind-boggling one-off is “…a reminder of what Land Cruiser has always been; a vehicle built to take you as far as your imagination will allow.” And once you’re sat in the cockpit, that imagination will be working overtime as you grasp Jackie Stewart’s 1968 championship steering wheel and put pedal to the metal.
It’s probably a good thing the FJ Bruiser won’t make it to production — who knows what sort of carnage could ensue if one fell into the wrong hands. Plus, with all its high-end and bespoke components, we dare not think what it might cost.
Few cars are so utterly pointless and so completely perfect at the same time; Toyota’s FJ Bruiser is motoring madness personified, and you have to admire that. Can you think of a more outlandish manufacturer special than this? In our eyes, nothing comes close.
Hero image credit: Toyota