1 Jan 1980
By CHRIS HARRIS
A big step forward from the pioneering '50', the ‘60’ introduced a bigger and more car-like wagon body, more luxurious touches, a better ride and significantly more passenger space.
All-round safety (with particular emphasis on resistance to rolling) was crucial, borne from real-world Middle East desert data involving fully laden FJ55s, so the tracks were widened.
But compromises were necessary, so a planned independent rear end was scrapped for the existing leaf-spring rear end to appease 4WD traditionalists.
Launched here in late 1980, the ‘60’ originally only came in 99kW 4.2-litre OHV 2F six-cylinder guise.
Freewheeling hubs and a five-speed manual gearbox were standard from ’82, along with power steering and a radio/cassette player.
In 1985 the FJ62RV/G introduced a new 110kW 4.0-litre OHV 3F six-cylinder engine, a year after the new 76kW 4.0-litre six-cylinder 2H diesel engine denoted the HJ60RV series.
A turbo-diesel version was added in ’86 (HJ61RG).
From the time of its release, the 60 Series evolved dramatically, steadily climbing upmarket as demand for 4WDs soared worldwide.
Base, Deluxe, GX, GXL, Sahara and Sahara VX – some, since 1983, in eight-seater and high roof variants – reflected this, as did the availability of luxury car features such as a four-speed automatic transmission (from ’85), leather trim and a sunroof.
This was the direction its 80 Series replacement was heading.