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Updated March 2006   

Um... Surprise?!.

It was about a year after I had my newly acquired 79 Fj40, that I got a call from my father. He started the conversation with..."Did you see the (classified) ads on Sunday?" Oh-oh. This won't be good. I said I hadn't and he proceeded to inform me of another cruiser that was going to be at an upcoming auction. I was feeling a little bit of Deja Voux. The ad didn't mention a whole lot other that it was a 1971 Fj40. I said it wouldn't hurt anything just to go and take a look at it. (Famous last words?)

The morning of the auction I went up to my parents house and my dad was all ready to go. He had the trailer on the Dodge...Just in case. We hopped in and made our way down to the auction. Once again I wandered off to find the Cruiser from the ad. It was a farm auction so there was a lot of miscellaneous equipment and tractors.

I found the cruiser among a line of cars. It had seen better days. It had a rattle can paint job and was missing the drivers side window. It was filthy. There was literally 2" of dirt and crap on the floors. But mechanically it had potential. The engine ran well and while I couldn't drive it I was able to figure out that the drive lines were all in working order. After learning my lesson with the 79, I took a close look at the frame. It was in really good shape and to boot I found that it had the gearbox for a PTO winch.

The auction started and I had to wait until they made their way down the aisle for the cruiser. It took almost all day for them to get there, but in the end I ended up winning this cruiser. I paid more than I had for the 79, but a deal like that will probably never happen again. There were a few people that were bidding on the cruiser this time. After the auction ended a man and his daughter came over and started chatting to me. It turns out that they lived in the Madison area and he (Gerry) was looking for a cruiser project for his daughter. He had a 76 fj40 and a Fj80. "Cool, another Madison cruiser guy" I thought. We exchanged info and I told them I would contact them if I changed my mind. We loaded up the Cruiser on the trailer and headed home. (note to self: test vehicle brakes before approaching trailer with ramps up)


Sarah was out of town for the week so I had a little free time on my hands. I started tinkering with the new beast. I thought at the very least I'd pretty it up a bit so Sarah wouldn't be too angry when she got home and found another cruiser. As a finishing touch I found a left over x-mas bow and put it on the hood. Sarah got home tired and weary from her trip. after a little while she ventured into the garage and found the Cruiser. "What is this?" she asked. "Um... Surprise?!" I responded. She didn't seem impressed.

I did some work on the cruiser just to get it presentable. I put on some diamond plating to cover the chopped rear corners and cover the rocker rust temporarily. I cleaned up the engine bay and fixed the electricals. I had to put on some tires, so I found a set of used 31 x 10.5 Michelin tires for the time being. I ordered a replacement radiator and fuel tank, but never got around to putting them in.


This cruiser was a good solid start for a project. I had fully intended to build this one up myself but I found another project that was exactly what I was looking for. It was a 1978 FJ40. I decided that I probably wouldn't build this one up so I decided to sell it. I didn't try to hard mind you, but eventually I did sell it. My buddy Shawn decided that he needed a project and after all of the fun he had seen Rob and I have at our annual KamPureAsSoff weekends, he took it off my hands. I was hoping to sell the cruiser for a bit of a profit to help fund my new project, but when Shawn showed an interest I gave it to him for what I had into it. I believe it will be more fun to have a friend with a similar project, hobby, obsession than to have a little extra pocket money.

Shawn has started tearing into the cruiser with a vengeance. He has already stripped the tub completely and is doing the metal work. He has a nice set of 33 x 12.5 BFG muds and has a 4" lift ready to go on. It is nice to see the project develop beyond where I had left it.

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