Miami Florida – Cousins Nelson and Jaime Calle practically grew up in the back seat of their grandfather’s 1982 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser.

As teenagers they learned how cars work through maintaining the classic beetle-crusher and after his death they stripped it down and restored it to as-new condition. So impressed was Nelson’s older brother Juan with the result that he bought the car – and still owns it.

Whereupon the cousins looked around for a couple more old FJs to rebuild; then they did some for friends, the world spread and the FJ Company, specialising in restoring and modifying FJ-series Land Cruisers, was born.

Fast-forward to today

This 1972 short-wheelbase FJ40 came to them as a junker with no engine or transmission, from a client inspired by a Tonka Toy truck he’d owned as a child to create a modern classic that could be driven every day – and to hell with originality.

So the Calle cousins stripped it right down for a frame-off restoration, and then rebuilt it to the customers specifications, starting with a late 1980s 3F-E, fuel-injected, four-litre straight six, completely reconditioned to a factory-standard 116kW and 303Nm, and a five-speed manual gearbox.

Old Man Emu suspension from Australia gave it serious off-road capability, while modern-era power-steering made it easy to drive – and park – around town.

The basic build was completed with custom Mickey Thompson rims wearing Cooper Discoverer 3 all-terrain rubber, a jerrycan and the Calle’s signature touch – a bottle opener on the custom front bumper.

The customer chose the striking, hot rod-inspired metallic copper finish, and Nelson and Jaime fitted out the interior to be robust, luxurious – and weatherproof! – with polyurethane load-bed lining instead of formats, Corbeau sports seats trimmed in black vinyl, Vintage Air climate control and a marine-grade audio system.

IOL Motoring

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