Showdown, Grey-Market 4x4s Edition

1987 toyota land cruiser 70 series for sale1987 nissan patrol for sale

Around the developing world, Land Cruiser Vs Patrol is a bit like Mustang Vs Camaro. Today we’ve got a pair from the mid-80s for you to choose from, from the same seller, no less. In the US, we assume Land Cruisers to be larger family dirt wagons and Patrols to be more Wrangler or Defender-like. This pair reverses that, with a Patrol wagon and two door Land Cruiser.

The Patrol’s an ’87 “MK” model, sporting an SD33 Turbodiesel engine and five-speed manual transmission. Fun fact: that SD33 actually made an appearance in the engine bays of IH Scouts in the final years of production. That motor’s good for right around 100hp and 175lb-ft of torque. The interior looks to be in decent shape (particularly for 390k km), complete with a third row seat. The seller’s English isn’t particularly strong, but we can glean that it’s been sitting for months and will need some love to bring back into true driveable condition.
At $8,999, you’ve gotta really value that “What is that?!” factor.
1986 Nissan Patrol for sale – eBay Motors

Sadly, Toyota never offered the 70-series Land Cruiser in the US. Though, weirdly, this one has a US-VIN and a speedometer/odometer delineated in miles, somehow. Our eBayer bought it from a guy in Washington State 3.5 years ago and has been bombing around on back roads with it ever since. This model also sports a 100-ish hp diesel backed by a five-speed. Beyond the installation of new cheesy aftermarket seats (he’s got the originals), the seller offers us basically zero information on condition.
So, uh…also $8,999 for this guy.
1987 Land Cruiser 70 series for sale – eBay Motors
What’ll it be? Datsun or Toyoda?

25 Comments

  1. That ‘Yota looks like a lot of fun to bomb around in, and finding out it’s history would be interesting.

    I’d still prefer a Euro model though. My car is American, and I’m getting tired of doing mental calculation and reading smaller fonts.

  2. A 150-mph speedometer on the Toyota? Someone at the drawing board was optimistic. The Toy gets my vote because its a short three-door.

  3. “Though, weirdly, this one has a US-VIN….”
    The only support for the seller’s claim of this is a photo of a New York registration sticker. Unless it really does have a plate saying it “conforms to all applicable [FMVSS] standards” my guess is it’s a North American VIN originally intended for the Canadian market.

    1. So you think the dash was swapped from a different vehicle?

      I think we were firmly in metric territory when this vehicle was produced.

        1. My car also has dual markings (see above), so I would assume it meets requirements (never checked!).

          I just find it odd that MPH is the larger font, and actually the fact MPH is there at all. It would seem like a lot of work to go to, and would confuse Canadian drivers more than it would help them if if they crossed the border.

          1. Looking at the other instruments, the tachometer has the correct yellow/redline markings for a diesel and the voltmeter reads up to 32V (also correct for a diesel). If I had to guess, that 150mph speedo probably came out of a Supra and the other gauges were left in place.
            I remember when we got these new on the Irish market, and I’m fairly certain that the speedos topped out at either 90 or 100mph (either of which was wishful thinking in and of itself). They did have the km/h markings in smaller numbers on an inner ring, same as US-market cars. That stopped in 2005 when Ireland went fully-metric, but UK-market cars still have their speedos marked in this way.

          1. I can think of an easy way to explain this, but I’d want to see some chassis photos before saying for certain that it’s what happened.
            Take one totalled or otherwise mechanically-roached Canadian-market 4-door Land Cruiser. Unbolt everything from the chassis and do with it as you please. Now section the chassis to fit the length of the 2-door body and drop that on. Hey presto, your 15-year Canadian-rule import 2-door Land Cruiser is now a North American model and legal for import into the US.
            If that 2-door model originally came in from a LHD country (I’m thinking South America or Europe as likely candidates), even better; no conversion from RHD required had it been an ex-Japan car.
            So what to do about the VIN? Easy. Request a duplicate VIN. Thieves stole your dashboard complete with the VIN tag attached, and you had no idea that the guy you dealt with on Craigslist to buy a replacement from was actually importing them from Uruguay. The VIN on the chassis (which you leave intact when you section it) says it’s a US model… So as long as they don’t inspect it too closely, you’ll probably get away with it.

  4. Although the novelty is attractive I can’t think of any other reason I’d rather have one of these over a similar vintage diesel Blazer or Suburban.

        1. This. LWB off-road is generally a breakover angle / turning around in the middle of the trail / exiting the wrong stream or gully nightmare waiting to happen.
          I know that someone’s going to tell me 8732 reasons why I’m wrong, but they’re all wrong 😉

          1. Plus, both the SWB and LWB Tahoe/Suburban/Jimmy (and some of the Blazers) are considerably wider than the “standard” Land Rover/ Land Cruiser/ Nissan Patrol. Reason for my Dad to buy a Patrol instead of a GMC Jimmy back when we were in the Middle East, as the tracks in the wadis were created for the Land Rover/Land Cruiser size, and there were some boulders that those cars could get between, that a Jimmy probably couldn’t.

    1. Not sure I’ve seen cut fenders on a 140 that weren’t rolled or sporting flares. Scandinavian rednecks? Reminds me of some of the Volvos of my youth (plenty of this vintage Swedish iron in New England in the ’70s & ’80s).

      1. Yeah, I think it is pretty wild. Lots of work in this one if you consider the giveaway price, but it sure looks like a lot of fun. And I’d rather roll in a 70s Volvo than in any 80s Japanese fare, to be honest.

  5. Don’t know if the MPH speedo from a US-market Land Cruiser of the time would have swapped into the one up above, but I can verify that that specific model was sold on the UK & Irish market with the speedo in the US configuration of MPH in big numbers on the outside, km/h on the inside in smaller numbers. Whether those would have swapped into a LHD instrument binnacle, I have no idea but suspect that they probably would have.
    Either one of these is likely to rust alarmingly, as was the style at the time for Japanese 4x4s that saw farm usage. I briefly had an MQ Patrol 2-door, and the front subframe was held on by a few flakes of rust and a lot of prayer that it wasn’t going to detach itself while I was actually driving it. This was the main reason that its ownership was brief.

  6. Hm, this gets weirder. The same seller has an Alfa GTV (the model from the 1990s/2000s that was never sold here) in another auction. Says it was accident-damaged recently, but still has the pre-accident photos up.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/221988975480
    There’s also a Mercedes 207 diesel van that he’s selling. Interesting mix of stuff.

  7. My dad had an ’80 Scout II with that Nissan diesel engine in it. That was the slowest accelerating street legal vehicle I have ever been in.

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