If you aren’t in a hurry to get where you’re going, the 1981–89 Toyota FJ60 Land Cruiser is a great way to get there. A sluggish gas guzzler on pavement, the FJ60 is a nimble and fun off-roader. And even if you choose to remain on the highway, that can be an enjoyable ride too—as long as you don’t need to pass anyone in a hurry.
That’s a joke of course (sort of), but the FJ60’s rising values, on the other hand, are nothing to laugh at. The four-door 4x4 has lately been generating some serious heat in the market. In fact, the FJ60’s median #1 (Concours) value rose 23 percent from September 2019 to January 2020.
It gets better. Over the last three years, median #2-condition (Excellent) values are up 66 percent, and over the last five years, those same values are up a jaw-dropping 104 percent. Currently, a 1981 FJ60 has in #1 condition has crested $50K. It’s worth $29,800 in #2 condition and $20,400 in #3 (good) condition.
“Values have been rising for several years, no doubt pulled up a bit by the frenzy for the earlier FJ40s in 2014–15, but FJ60s dramatically rose in 2019,” says Hagerty valuation editor Andrew Newton. “And despite the recent spike in values, FJ60s are still the least expensive Land Cruisers in the Hagerty Price Guide by a significant amount.”
How significant? In some cases, more than $10,000 when compared to lighter, two-door Toyota FJ40s in #1 and #2 condition.
Unlike SUVs of today, there was a time when off-road capability was valued more than comfort—hence the name, Sport Utility Vehicle. These early SUVs were boxier, utilitarian, and without the need (or want) for an automatic transmission. It should come as no surprise then that one of the FJ60’s predecessors, the 1967 Toyota FJ55, was known as the “Iron Pig.” Regardless, it paved the way for the FJ60.
With beefy straight axles and leaf springs all around, the FJ60’s ride isn’t exactly smooth, but that’s tolerable compared to its, ahem, speed. Weighing in at 4246 pounds, the FJ60 relied on a 4.2-liter 2F OHV engine, rated at 135 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque, to get it from Point A to Point B. No biggie on two-tracks and wilderness terrain, but definitely a source of frustration on pavement. MotorWeek reported a 0–60 time of 14.2 seconds; five more seconds were required to complete a quarter mile. Plus, it averaged only 11–12 mpg.
Regardless, the 1981–89 FJ60 has caught the eye of youthful buyers—perhaps, as Newton says, “because their parents had an FJ60 at some point. There’s also the appeal of capable of boxy off-roaders that seems to resonate with younger buyers. People priced out of more valuable classic off-roaders seem to be turning to these.”
Millennials and Gen-Xers lead the charge, accounting for a combined 90 percent of all insurance quotes for 1981–89 FJ60s. “Millennials account for 45 percent of quotes even though they make up just 21 percent of the overall market,” Newton says, “and Gen Xers also account for 45 percent, even though they make up only 33 percent of the market.”
Baby Boomers are responsible for the other 10 percent of quotes, meaning Pre-Boomers aren’t the least bit interested. Statistically, they account for 0 percent, which Newton admits he’s “never seen before.”
Overall, the number of insurance quotes for FJ60s is up 49 percent over the last three years. Perhaps a lot more folks with a little less cash have found a little more time to get where they’re going.