Old glory gets an upgrade with this Toyota FJ Land Cruiser restoration

Classic Toyota FJ Land Cruisers have a strong following among automotive collectors. Their durable design and iconic shape have made them prime candidates for restoration. Now, some wish to go a step further — to modernize one of the best off-road vehicles ever built.

The FJ Company is one such outfit, specializing in 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s Land Cruisers (FJ20, FJ40, and FJ60 series models). Once the FJ Company acquires a donor car, it sets about transforming it into a customized, reliable work of vehicular art.

This year, the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) invited the FJ Company to strut its stuff and instead of displaying one of its more traditional Cruisers, the specialty shop went to work on the “Aspen Project.”

What began life as a 1982 Toyota FJ43 Land Cruiser has become a tailor-made beauty. FJ Company President Juan Diego Calle asked for a “purpose-built, family-friendly beast that could take on the rigors of everyday highway driving as well as the back-country near Aspen, Colorado.” What we see here goes just a tad beyond those loose specs.

The build started by removing the FJ’s frame, tweaking the car’s power steering, front disc brakes, and climate controls, then addressing the powertrain. Toyota’s 1FZ engine, a 4.5-liter inline six-cylinder with electronic fuel injection, serves up 210 horsepower in this configuration. That is paired with a five-speed manual transmission for optimal off-road responsiveness.

A passing glance would overlook the trail-ready equipment on this FJ because the original Land Cruiser exterior remains mostly unchanged. In addition to a matte white paint job, the FJ Company added a Warn 8274 winch on the original front bumper, flanked by a pair of seven-inch LED fog lights. Most importantly, a custom roll cage was engineered to keep all occupants safe — especially since the back half of the rig is only covered in canvas.

Inside, the Aspen Project gets Recaro Speed seats, trimmed in the same marine-grade material as the door panels and fold-down rear seats. The floor is also coated in Rhino Linings bed liner for all-weather protection. As convenience features go, there is a digital instrument cluster — which some luxury cars do not even have — LED interior lighting, and a premium sound system with Bluetooth.

As a one-off build, the Aspen Project FJ has already been sold (price unknown), but we wager if you have a healthy bank account, the FJ Company will design any Land Cruiser you fancy.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Computing

Microsoft’s latest patent paves the way for Andromeda dual-screen mobile device

The latest patent discovery from Microsoft showcases a new hinge design for quickly opening a dual-screen mobile device with a single hand. Could this be additional proof surrounding the rumors of the company's Project Andromeda device?
Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a luxurious and quick SUV, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.
Computing

Microsoft’s Chromium Edge browser may be adding your Chrome extensions

Fans sticking to Google Chrome because due to its vast extension library might be able to switch over to Microsoft's latest iteration of Edge, as a project manager confirms that the company has its eyes on Chrome extensions.
Cars

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.
Cars

NYC mandates minimum wage for Uber, Lyft, other app-based rideshare drivers

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a rule that drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft must be paid at least minimum wage, even though they are independent contractors. The new pay rate includes operating costs.
Cars

Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.
Cars

LM Industries’ autonomous shuttles head to Phoenix, Sacramento campuses

LM Industries will deploy Olli low-speed autonomous shuttles at school campuses in Arizona and California as part of its ongoing "fleet challenge," which asks local groups to propose uses for autonomous vehicles.
Cars

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Product Review

Boring takes a back seat as 2019 Corolla Hatchback mixes fun with practicality

We drive the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the latest hatchback to bear the Corolla name. As the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, Toyota has high expectations to meet. This model mostly lives up to the legacy.
Cars

Hertz speeds up car rentals with biometric scan technology

Biometric security technology that uses face, fingerprint, and voice recognition is gaining traction, with Hertz emerging as the latest company to incorporate it into its daily operations.
Product Review

Inside Maserati's Levante SUV beats the heart of a Ferrari

Maserati’s luxury SUV gets a shot in the arm by way of Ferrari-derived V8 power, but is it enough to go toe-to-toe with the established players in the high performance sport-utility segment? Let’s find out.
Mobile

McLaren puts the pedal to the metal in special-edition OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T is yet another flagship killer smartphone, bringing powerful specifications to a much lower price than the competition. Now, OnePlus has teamed up with McLaren for the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition.