Toyota SA has pulled off a marketing coup with the release of another Land Cruiser Special Edition. This time, buyers can snap up the 70th Anniversary Edition of the 79-Series, in either single- or double-cab formats, both powered by that wonderful 4.5-litre V8 diesel which pushes out 151kW and 450Nm.
Technically, this should only be the 67th year of Land Cruiser production, as the name was only announced by Toyota Japan’s then technical director Hanji Umehara in 1954. The Cruiser’s predecessor, built from January 1951 in response to a call from the US for a Jeep-alike vehicle to assist in the war against North Korea, was known as the Toyota Jeep, or B-engine Jeep. It was based on the ladder-frame chassis of Toyota’s SB one-ton truck, using the same solid axles and that B-engine, a 63kW 3.4-litre OHV straight six petrol. But then it appears Willys Motor Company in the US raised trademark objections to use of the Jeep name. Toyota smartly made a public apology and came up with the alternative name – one that had initially been coined by Studebaker, but that’s another story…
Whatever the historical finer points, this follow-up to the success of 2019’s Namib edition of the 79-Series looks set to be another winner. Apart from all the good Land Cruiser basics, like a 130-litre fuel tank and differential locks front and rear, the Anniversary Edition has that distinctive heritage badge on the doors just above the shoulder line, a winch-ready ARB bullbar with headlight protector hoops, a honeycomb grille showcasing the Toyota name in bold caps, and a tubular rear step bumper featuring a removable towhitch. The loadbin is rubberised and has an additional floor protector.
The inside is set apart by dark grey cotton canvas seat covers with special 70th Edition embossing and Land Cruiser-branded floor mats. As with the standard model, there’s a central touchscreen interface offering navigation and mobile connectivity via Android Auto/Apple CarPlay.
Offered in just two colours – Ivory White and Sand Beige – and with a three-year/100 000km warranty, the price of standing out from the crowd, and having a full warranty on some useful upgrades, is R96 400 extra for the single cab and R73 500 for the double. That takes the bill to R889 700 and R943 100 respectively. The service plan is an extra cost item, par for the course with a Land Cruiser 70-Series.