Welcome to Little Car in the Big City, where I highlight fascinating cars I found walking around a town that is known for being bigger than everything else, but where every car is fighting to stand out: New York, New York.
There are few trucks I love more in this world than an old Toyota Land Cruiser. It's pretty much the Land Rover Defender, and that's about it. Which is why it's such a treat to see another one on the road, after that beautiful forest green example we saw last time.
That little J40 we saw last time, though, was clearly an urban little creature. It was absolutely fantastic, looking like a work truck from years past, that was kept in beautiful condition. This one, on the other hand, looks like it's ready to tackle some serious wilderness.
Alright, so I'm not sure how much wilderness you're going to see outside the East Village Foot Care Center, but to be honest, that makes me like the brawny J40 even more.
You might be thinking "hah! What's that doing there, in the East Village of Manhattan, with two gas tanks strapped to the back, some big tires, and enough antennas and equipment to make sure that it'll never get stuck anywhere? The farthest it'll ever get is Queens! It's a poser's vehicle! Ha! Ha ha! Hahahahahahaha!"
Well, manical laughter person that I just invented, I will posit to you that this sort of thing strikes at the fundamental reason why anybody loves cars or trucks or boats or planes or any sort of vehicle, really. Also, Queens can be a pretty rough-and-tumble kind of place.
That fundamental reason stands behind all this J40 represents. Because in an abstract sense, it represents freedom.
Not the hokey capital-F Freedom that Mitt Romney was always promising, but real freedom. The kind of force that you can feel only when you know that whenever you feel like it, you can go anywhere you want, just because you can. And sure, you'll get that feeling the first time you sit behind the wheel of your third-owner Honda Civic the first time you get behind the wheel as a teen, but as you grow up, your horizons of freedom expand.
Ergo, crazy Toyota Land Cruiser with big tires and some gas tanks on the back.
It doesn't hurt, either, that this J40 is in absolutely beautiful condition, which always helps when you're not planning on going on safari, but you never know when one might turn up.
As the people who came of age in the 1970s get older, their wallets will get fatter, and we'll be seeing more 1970s cars in beautiful condition on the roads. It's the continuing cycle that is the classic car market. As a generation gets older, and a bit wealthier, they turn to the cars of their youth to bring back a sense of nostalgia. It's something we've always seen, going all the way back to when Ford Model As became targets for hot rodders. Then cars from the 1950s became drag monsters, then muscle cars from the 1960s were hot, and then the turn of the 1970s generation came around.
Which gives us this beautiful 1972 Toyota.
I just can't wait until the 1990s generation gets its turn. Meticulous Eagle Talon, anybody?