Emergency vehicles do some of the toughest jobs in the automotive world, charging into battle to help save lives. They need to be depended upon in the most critical of situations, and are usually driven hard for much of their career in the fire, police, and medical departments. This classic Toyota Land Cruiser served as a fire truck, and it’s the star of this week’s episode of Jay Leno’s Garage.
Brian Corsetti has been a guest on Leno’s show before with his fleet of retro Land Cruisers, but this unusual creation stands out amongst his other Japanese SUVs. Built by Toyota, this ‘bubble top’ Land Cruiser fire truck is based on a more rugged model that wasn’t available in America. It’s powered by an in-line six-cylinder engine that gives life to uprated axles via a five-speed manual transmission.
So why did Japan choose this Toyota to be its frontline fire truck in the 1980s? In addition to being more compact for busy city streets than a regular truck, its' all-terrain capabilities meant that it could access harder to reach rural areas. Factor in Toyota’s bulletproof reliability and you have the makings of the perfect home-grown firefighter.
A beautiful detail on this otherwise functional vehicle is an intricate Japanese insignia with a gold leaf stripe. Every Japanese fire engine is given this design as a mark of tradition. The Land Cruiser itself is in excellent condition, especially as it only retired from service in 2015. This 4x4 now resides with Brian and his impressive collection.
Sirens ablaze, Jay takes the Toyota for a ride complete with slightly comical tin fireman’s hat. The vehicle itself has only covered just over 11,000 miles suggesting that its 26 years of rushing to fires must have kept it in the local area. On the subject of importing the car to America, Brian remarks ‘What’s interesting with this one, we had to do a full radiation test.’ This is a precaution after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.
Check out the video of this fire engine and its new life in retirement.
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