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New Toyota FJ Bruiser Concept makes monster trucks look modest

This bonkers celebration of Toyota Land Cruiser’s heritage is one of a dozen cars Toyota has brought to SEMA 2023

The recent Tokyo Motor Show saw Toyota unveil a slew of sensible electric car concepts as it laid out its plans for a greener, more connected future. However, the Japanese brand has taken a very different approach at the 2023 SEMA show in Las Vegas, displaying dozens of wild show cars and highly accessorised models, headlined by the truly bonkers Toyota FJ Bruiser concept.

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What began life as a 1966 Toyota FJ45 pick-up truck has been transformed into a rock-crawling, terrain-devouring, destroyer of anything that stands in its way. Powering this teal behemoth is a 5.8-litre Nascar V8 from Toyota Racing Development in California, which produces 715bhp and is fed via the enormous air intake that sticks out of the bonnet.

All that power is sent through a 3-speed automatic race-built transmission, then an Advanced Adapter Atlas transfer case before reaching the Currie differentials in the front and rear solid axles. According to Toyota, the drivetrain setup allows the FJ Bruiser to crawl at 12mph in its lowest gear and reach speeds of up to 165mph in top gear, both while the engine is revving at 7,000rpm.

To ensure the FJ Bruiser could accommodate its new drivetrain, not to mention handle the V8’s substantial grunt, the Toyota Motorsport team fabricated a full tube chassis and roll cage for it, then mounted the body panels around that. It also added Fox shocks, 42-inch BF Goodrich tyres on 20-inch beadlock wheels and a MagnaFlow exhaust system with side exits by the doors that delivers an “intimidating” exhaust note. Like the rest of the car wasn’t already!

We wouldn’t dare doubt the FJ Bruiser’s off-road abilities, but just in case ground clearance ever did become an issue and the truck got high centred, the team have fitted a tank track to the belly of the beast that can be used to drive it off the obstacle. It can be activated at the push of a button from the cab, so the driver doesn’t have to unbuckle or get out. 

Speaking of the cabin, the FJ Bruiser features two Momo Daytona EVO bucket seats reskinned in plaid to match the truck’s paint scheme, as an homage to the FJ’s original plaid bench seat. 

As we mentioned, the FJ Bruiser is one of many cars Toyota has on display at this year’s SEMA show. Others include the two-door Tacoma X-Runner Concept that harks back to the sports trucks of the 80s and 90s, special editions of its GR86 and Supra sports car, and the new Toyota Land Cruiser in First Edition guise.

Looking for a slightly more sensible pick-up truck? These are the best ones you can buy...

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News reporter

As our news reporter, Ellis is responsible for covering everything new and exciting in the motoring world, from quirky quadricycles to luxury MPVs. He was previously the content editor for DrivingElectric and won the Newspress Automotive Journalist Rising Star award in 2022.

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