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Employing the time-honored dramatic device, "Fake News Coverage of a Peculiar Sighting," and a stage set borrowed from the 1970 claymation feature, "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town," Toyota unveiled the production model of its 2003 FJ Cruiser concept at a press conference eariler today at the Chicago auto show. We still think it look as if it were built using spare Legos from under the couch, only slightly less so.

The production version, which will hit dealerships in 2006 as a 2007 model, appears fairly true to the concept, but for a more pedestrian set of tires that won't assure a bill in the high four figures from Sears Auto Center in 10,000 miles. The interior remains unfinished, reports Autoblog, which is why the show car's windows were apparently blacked out and doors sealed. Toyota also went live with a promotional Web site (which, unfortunately offers pictures of the concept, not the production model). Specs follow:

4.0 Liter V6 245 hp /282 torque
5-speed automatic
Available 6-speed manual in 4x4

Dimensions (inches)
Overall Length: 177.6
Overall Width: 74.6
Overall Height: 70.9
Wheelbase: 105.9
Ground Clearance: 9.6
Wheels: 17 inches black steel wheels w/full size spare
Available alloy wheels (5)
Tire Size: 265/70R17
Towing Capacity: 5,000 lbs.
Seating Capacity: 5

Toyota Will Produce the Concept FJ Cruiser [internal]