|Foreign Toyota Frequently
|This is a new page I've created to help answer some of the more frequent questions I get asked about Foreign
Toyotas and my website. Many of these are asked through email, so I might refer you to this page. But feel
free to continue to email with any questions if you can't find the answer here. My email is HERE.
|Q: I live in the U.S. or Canada and I want to buy a foreign Toyota or a diesel
Toyota. Where can I find them and how do I import them?
A: I get this question far more than any other. The truth is I am no expert on this, but I can
refer you to several websites that might help. Importing a foreign vehicle into the United
States is extremely difficult. To do it officially requires that it first be approved by customs,
which usually requires that the vehicle meet all DOT laws. Then it must pass all of your
state and local emissions and safety laws and in some cases pass an emissions and/or safety
inspection. One way to get around some of these regulations is to import an extremely old
vehicle such as from the early 1970s that may not need to meet certain current regulations.
Another way is to purchase a foreign Toyota that has already been imported and titled in
the United States. They are extremely rare and difficult to find, but they are out there.
Canadians have fewer regulations against import a foreign Toyota. It is much easier up
there and as a result more foreign Toyotas can be found in Canada. Also, Toyota of
Canada sold diesel Toyotas including Land Cruisers all the way into the late 1980s, so they
are more common. Land Cruiser short wheel base 70 series models can often be found
there as well as they were sold well into the late 1980s. Today, Toyota Canada sells pretty
much the same line up as Toyota USA.
Here are some websites to check out regarding this subject:
Ridge Runner Imports
A British Columbia company that imports and sells foreign Toyotas including Land Cruisers, 4 door
Hiluxes, diesels and more.
A California based company that sells Land Cruiser parts and is also starting to import and
sell foreign Land Cruisers, including diesel models and the 70 series.
A Canadian car dealer in British Columbia which specializes in Mustangs, but also imports foreign
used vehicles and sell them. They regularly have Hiluxs and Land Cruisers from places like Japan
and South America.
ENS Toyota/Lexus (owner of ENS Industrial)
This is a Canadian supplier of brand new Land Cruiser 78/79 series vehicles for use in Canadian
mines and construction work as well as other areas of North America. These vehicles are not
approved for highways in Canada or the United States, but they have an entire wearhouse of parts
for all of the 70 series Land Cruisers and would be a good source of parts if you purchased a foreign
Land Cruiser. Here's the address and phone number, since their website seems to be down:
103rd Street East
Canada, S7N 1Y7
Phone: +1 306 242-4441
Fax: +1 306 934-1150
Toll Free: 1+800.667.7373
Toyota Gibralter Stock Holdings
Gibralter Stock Holdings is an international Toyota dealer that specializes in outfitting and selling
Toyota Hiluxes and Land Cruisers to international aid agencies such as the United Nations and the
Red Cross. They currently stock around 500 Toyota Hiluxes and Land Cruisers and a ton of
accessories. I do not believe they sell they individual customers, however.
Specter Off Road and TLC Land Cruisers
These two companies are Land Cruiser restorers based in the United States. While they specialize in
Land Cruisers that were only originally sold in the U.S., they have resources and parts for foreign
models. They also have imported foreign models on occasion and would probably be a good source
This company specializes in selling used military vehicles, but they also occasionally sell foreign Land
Cruisers. The owner has an interest in foreign Toyotas. If you really want one or need information,
he might be worth a try.
Q: I don't want an entire vehicle, but I would like some parts from a foreign
Toyota or a diesel engine and transmission. Who would I contact?
JD Douglas of Australia is an excellent source of good used foreign Toyota parts. He is not
specificly in the business to sell parts, but he has gladly searched local wrecking yards and
shipping everything from entire 4 door bodys to entire engine/transmission set ups to
customers in the United States. With the foreign exchange rate, you can find some really
good deals, even with shipping. Here is his personal website: OZRunner's Website.
Q: Are there any differences between Toyotas sold in North America and
Toyotas sold everywhere else?
Yes, there are many differences. First of all, the Toyota 70 series Land Cruiser were not
sold here at all, although short wheelbase versions were sold in Canada until the late 1980s.
Diesel engines were dropped in the U.S. in 1985 and were never available on any U.S.
Land Cruisers. Canadian Toyotas continued to come with optional diesels until the late
1980s, including Land Cruisers. The solid front axle was dropped on all Toyota pick-ups in
North America in 1985, while many overseas Hiluxs continued to get them until 1997.
North America did not get a 4 door version of the pick-up until 2000, when the Tacoma was
offered in a 4 door version. Overseas Hiluxs came with 4 doors on some models as early as
1979, with it becoming a common option in 1984. Today, the 70 series is only sold in a few
global markets. The Land Cruiser 100 series only comes with the V-8, auto transmission
and IFS in North America, but diesel engines, a solid front axle, manual hubs and a manual
transmission are all options on some overseas versions. The Hilux has no relation to the
Tacoma except for a similier (but still different) body. The Hilux uses the same frame and
suspension as the Toyota trucks sold in North American between 1986 and 1995.
Note: For 2005, the Tacoma and Hilux are now entirely different including body styles and
share almost no parts at all except for the front suspension.
Q: I've heard that Brazil is still building brand new 40 series Land Cruisers.
Is this true?
Actually yes and no. Production was ceased in 2001. But until that time they did build a
Toyota that was nearly identical to the 40 series Land Cruiser, although it was never called
the 40 series. It was called the Bandeirante. The Bandeirante was actually nearly 100%
produced in Brazil by a Toyota owned factory and over the years followed its own line of
development independent of other Land Cruisers. This included the use of different
engines, transmissions and axles. But the body panels were identical and are still used in
restorations of very old 40 series Land Cruisers here in the states. Much more
information can be found on my Bandeirante page.
I've heard that Toyota continued to produce the 1984 Hilux/pick-up body
style through 1997 and even still produces the Land Cruiser 80 series to this
day. Is this true?
Yes it is. Toyota extended production of these two models in two specific markets. The
Hilux was and still is produced in South Africa at a Toyota plant and sold in the South
African market. In 1988, when Toyota was planning to introduce an all new body style for
the Hilux and pick-up, it decided not to introduced that body style in South Africa. South
Africa had domestic content laws that required a large percentage of all vehicles sold in SA,
be built in SA. Many of the parts of the South African Hilux are exclusive to South Africa,
like the rear axle. Toyota had a choice to spend millions to upgrade the South African
factory or just continue to build the same truck. That chose the latter, so the same 1984
body style and suspension continued to be built and sold through 1997. In that year, Toyota
introduced an all new Hilux that introduced in all markets except North America. More
information can be found on this Hilux page.
Venezuela continues to build the Land Cruiser 80 series at the Toyota owned Venezuelan
auto plant to this day, for the same reason South African produce the old Hilux for so long.
Venezuela has domestic content laws and Toyota did not want to spend the money to
upgrade the Venezuelan plant to build 100 series Land Cruisers when relatively so few are
sold. This may change in the near future. More information on my Land Cruiser 80 series
I've heard that VW built a Toyota truck. Is this true?
Yes it is. In a joint venture, Toyota license VW to build exact copies of the Toyota Hilux at
a plant in Germany. These trucks were called the Taro and were exactly like the Hilux.
They were even sold in both IFS and solid front axle version. They were most commonly
solid in Europe. Sometimes they were exclusively sold in some countries while they were
sold side by side with the Toyota Hilux in others. VW did not have a truck and wanted
break into the truck market, so it made a deal Toyota could not refuse. The Taros were
only produced during a single generation from 1989 through 1997. After 1997, VW quit
producting the Taro. More info on this Hilux page.