The annual Tokyo Auto Salon is best known for its wild sports and tuner-car concepts, but the one that caught our eye, as well as US-based LandCruiser specialists Cruiser Outfitters, is this short-wheelbase LC70. The current-shape Cruiser has the usual Auto Salon extras like bright paint and unique body adornments, but the real interest lies underneath.
This show special, which is said to be the work of LandCruiser Chief Engineer, Sadayoshi Koyari, features a coil spring rear suspension configuration and six-speed manual ’box. Before you say that the Bundera had coil all ‘round back in the day, this set-up uses the heavy duty 9.5-inch differential, not the light duty underpinnings under the Bundera and first-generation Prado 70s.
While we’ve seen custom coil set-ups using the 9.5 diff and 80 Series suspension components under 75 Series utes, this is the first time we’ve seen it in a semi-factory supported vehicle. This set-up would go a long way to improving the ride and dynamics of the LC76 wagon or 78 Troop Carrier sold in Australia, if it was ever to make it into production. One post we found on this vehicle even suggested that the front and rear diffs on the concept were actually the same wheel-track width, which would be much appreciated by buyers.
Something else that would be much appreciated by LC70 buyers would be a six-speed gearbox, as VDJ70s are screaming for an additional ratio when out on the highway, particularly if you still retain sub 35-inch tyres. Close inspection of the gear knob in this concept suggests it has a six-slotter fitted. Other notable things on this vehicle are the lack of a bonnet scoop, which suggests the 4.0-litre V6 petrol engine is fitted; a late-model Hilux steering wheel; and the LandCruiser Heritage badge taken from the US edition LC200s.
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While no official information could be found on the concept, the list of companies labelled on the door includes Toyota Boshoku, which is the company’s components manufacturing arm; Toyota Auto Body, which is the factory body work team; and Gunma Toyota, which is a group of dealers in Japan. All of these names link to the notion that this concept is a factory supported vehicle.
Let’s hope some of these features make it to future production LandCruiser models.