The 1970’s-80’s quintessential off-road vehicle of Costa Rica – the Toyota Land Cruiser J40 series. 4×4, diesel, 4 cylinder work horse that can crawl up any mountain and scramble across the most gnarly streams. The farmer who has one of these in his shed can hold his head high and talk about the old days with authority. Don’t be lookin’ for automatic transmissions or push button windows or air conditioning.
I remember one Sunday morning we were in the mountains, driving around the countryside and drove by a little country church. The parking lot was full of every kind you could think of – 2 door standard, 2 door pickup, “half-box” (a 2 door standard with the back section open), 4 door standard, 4 door extended and I’m sure there are a couple of models I missed. Most of these J40’s are still in amazing condition, shiny and humming like the classic cars that they are. Of course, sometimes you see one that is a little beat-up and muddy with a bent fender and dings here and there. Generally, it means the owner is working so hard and busy helping his neighbor that he doesn’t have time in the evening to wash and polish.
Every year, in our little town there is a Toyota Land Cruiser parade. Yep, it can last for over an hour and is just Land Cruisers filled with proud families circling round the blocks and gathering together at the coffee co-op to spin yarns, drink coffee and enjoy the afternoon with friends. Sometimes I wish I could buy one. But it just wouldn’t be the same. You can’t buy history, you can’t buy the 50 years of memories, you can’t buy the spirit. But, I look forward to seeing them as I walk around town, peaking inside to see the firm leather seats, the 4x shifter, the old radio, and keepsake trinkets hanging here and there. Don. 29 April 2023