Part Corvette, Part Land Cruiser, This LS3-Swapped 80 Series Makes Perfection Go Faster

This LS3-Swapped 80 9 photos
Photo: TLC 4x4 (edited by autoevolution)
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There aren't too many normal non-supercars out there that grown men will go all fuzzy inside over. On that short list of "normal" vehicles, the 80-series Toyota Land Cruiser is a top contender. With superb off-road capability and unmatched longevity, you'd have to be a fool to try and top perfection. At least, you would be if you were any less skilled than the team at TLC 4x4.
Based out of Harrisburg, North Carolina, TLC 4x4 is among a new breed of restomod shops. Shops that don't accept whatever pile of heaping scrap gets dragged in on a goose-neck trailer and then spend the next half-decade or more waiting on parts, some of which probably haven't been manufactured for the last 50 years or more. Instead, TLC 4x4 specializes in precisely one model of automobile, the Toyota Land Cruiser family. Across the range of 40, 60, and 80-series Land Cruisers sold domestically across North America for decades, TLC 4x4 can take each one and transform it into the ultimate Land Cruiser.

Take this FZJ80, for example, a 1997 model and one of the most valuable and sought-after off-roaders of the 1990s. With two beefy straight-six engine options and three diesels, nobody would call these old Toyotas fast when they were new. But one thing's for sure, most of the 80-series Land Cruisers built between 1990 and 1997 are still on the road, with plenty of life left in them. You can't say the same about a Jeep Grand Cherokee or Land Rover Discovery. But it's TLC 4x4 who takes these slow but furious Land Cruisers and gives them something they never had, the ability to drive quickly.

Starting by separating the OEM engine from the rolling chassis and stripping everything down to the bare frame. From there, the team takes care of any wear and tear these beastly off-roaders may have endured over its no-doubt grueling service life. Corroded body panels and frame rails are totally overhauled or re-fabricated until they look factory-fresh before being reassembled with a new, world-class drivetrain. In this case, that'd be a 6.2-liter LS3 V8 engine found in C6 Corvettes from 2008 onward and approximately a million different restomods out there just like this one.

With a 4L63 four-speed automatic transmission behind it and a rebuilt OEM Toyota transfer case, there's plenty of beef in the drivetrain to go with the Fox racing shocks, Old Man Emu off-road-ready springs, and rebuilt OEM disc brakes. Add on a factory-looking Jade Green and Mystic Gold two-tone paint and plaid-pattern tan leather seats, is it any wonder this restomod Land Cruiser starts at $250,000 before taxes and fees? Frankly, they could've charged double that and people would still salivate over them.
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