This one’s for all you Toyota FJ fans out there. A one-off restomod from internationally-acclaimed Toyota specialists, Jonathan Ward from ICON 4×4. Moderately modded and fully restored, ICON 4×4 swooped up their old girl from a collection that was being downsized. An obscure build concepted for Toyota as a pre-pre-production FJ40. We are looking at a one-off fully customized Toyota FJ43 Bandeirante from Brazil turned restomod using a hodgepodge of various old and new Toyota parts.
Taking It Back… Waaaaay Back
Sometime in the early 2000s, Toyota Motor Corporation contacted ICON 4×4 about forming a partnership. The goal was to design three functional and drivable prototype vehicles. A trio of test prototypes, that upon completion, would form a pre-curser for perhaps the 2007 Toyota Land Cruiser and the FJ40.
Along with the help of the North Carolina-based Land Cruiser shop, TLC 4×4, Toyota’s international operations, and Mr. Toyoda himself, a special vehicle was formulated.
ICON’s founder and lead designer, Jonathan Ward, had long admired Toyota’s “Bandeirante” version of the classic FJ Land Cruiser. Made exclusively for the Brazilian market, this unique package option was produced from 1968-2001 but was never made available to buyers within the United States.
But all that green grass down in Brazil isn’t just meant for grazing beef. So Ward struck an exclusive deal with Toyota. This allowed him to import several Bandeirante bodies directly from the Brazilian auto maker’s factory.
You know how the turtle in the Galapagos evolved and was its own unique thing because it was so isolated, well that’s what happened to the Bandeirante over the years. This vehicle really represents a very rare moment in time and is one of less than a half dozen that I built and the only FJ43 that I ever built for the public in this manner.—Jonathan Ward, ICON Co-Founder/Lead Designer
Rebuilt to Be Even More Unique
Inside, you’ll find it packing a modified center dash, complete with a sheet metal component from a 1983 FJ40. A touch that is strikingly similar to that found in the exceedingly rare 1983 US-spec dash. this piece comes loaded with a custom clock, gauges, Vintage Air climate controls, and a leather-wrapped wheel.
Standing in contrast are the reupholstered seating surfaces. Heat-laminated carbon fiber sheets rest beside top-grain leather from German upholstery specialist Helcor-Leder-Tec, and a bevy of refreshed OE internal touches.
As for the rest of this unique Toyota FJ43 Bandeirante, it is a bit of an ICON 4×4 poster child. Newer FJ40 axles, taller 373 gears, and a cable-actuated parking brake start things off. These are followed by upgraded calipers and rotors, and self-adjusting rear wheel cylinders.
The engine is an older GM Ram Jet 5.7-liter fuel-injected V8. A motor that has been mated to a modded Toyota H-55 5-speed manual transmission. A split-case, 19-spline transfer case handles loads out back. There’s also a beefier front sway bar, ICON “Old School” aluminum wheels, and a tempered exhaust for what is referred to as a “more user-friendly driving experience in modern conditions.”
It’s a very unique truck. It was one and done, it’s one of one and it represents a very unique moment in time because of what it represents for my company, TLC and ICON 4×4, and Toyota’s global history. Bandeirante’s were only produced in Brazil, ICON and TLC were only able to acquire a few before they were discontinued, and this is the only one I built in this fashion.—Jonathan Ward, ICON 4×4 Co-Founder/Lead Designer
Return Policies Rule
The chassis pictured here is a particularly special specimen, as it is one of the company’s most beloved projects. The one that started it all! Jonathan Ward recently reacquired the vehicle since having built it over two decades ago. Being that the commissioned project had no place in a recently downsized collection, it only made sense that the FJ would be returned to its creator.
While this vehicle may be available for purchase at some point, similar ICON builds are. Starting at $180,000, all of ICON 4×4’s FJ builds begin with an online configurator. Just don’t expect it to be an ultra-rare Bandeirante edition from Brazil.