|Bundera and Prado
|When Toyota redesigned
the Landcruiser in 1984 it
maintained every bit of the
40 series durability and
strength, but it also
maintained it's rough ride.
Some customers wanted the
same look of the
Landcruiser, but with a
lighter feel and better ride
on the highway. So Toyota
introduced the Bundera
and the Prado.
|In 1984/1985, Toyota introduced an entirely new design to replace the aging and now 25 year old 40 series Land
Cruiser. What Toyota came up with was a most appropriate replacement. Although completely new in styling,
every off road positive aspect of the original 40 series was retained. One off road positive aspect was the heavy
duty axles and leaf spring suspension. However, not everyone liked the heavy duty leaf spring suspension.
Toyota received concerns from some customers that the Land Cruiser was too heavy duty for "civilized"
markets. Many complaints originated from 1st world countries, such as Japan, where off road ability and cargo
capacity were not as critical. It was anticipated by Toyota that sales would begin to lag in some parts of the
world and customers would be lost to softer riding vehicles if something was not done. Toyota did not want to
downgrade the entire 70 series line, so it was decided to build a separate line of vehicles with a lighter duty and
nicer riding suspension. The Bundera and Prado models were born.
The Bundera (or Land Cruiser II as it is sometimes called) was the short wheelbase version of this light duty
Land Cruiser. It was produced from 1985 though the early 1990s. The medium and long wheelbase version
would be called the Prado and was most commonly sold as a 4 door wagon. The most striking differences
between the Bundera/Prado and other Land Cruisers of the day, was the addition of coil springs all around and
lighter duty axles that were similar in design to those found in the Hilux 4x4 truck. This was a technical
advancement that made the Land Cruiser more attractive to a larger customer base. In later years, this new
basic front suspension design would be standard on the 80 series in 1990, the 105 series in 1998 and the 78/79
series in 1999. It proved to be far superior on the highway in terms of ride and handling than the older leaf
spring design and after years of testing was found to sacrifice little if any durability and off road capability.
The Bundera, commonly called the RJ70 or LJ70 depending on the engine it used, used a new 8" ring gear high
pinion front differential and a standard 8” rear differential, both similar in design and strength to the Hilux truck
axles. Hilux type engines were also used. Either the R series (As in 22R) petrol, or the L series diesel engines
were used. Despite the light duty equipment, these were still highly capable Land Cruisers. The lighter duty
axles and engines did reduce the weight somewhat, however, these Land Cruisers were still a bit heavy for the
smaller Hilux engines, and it’s not uncommon for people to complain that they were underpowered.
It turns out Toyota had miscalculated and few customers were interested in a light duty version short wheelbase
70 series Bundera. Most customers who would purchase a short wheel base 70 series preferred the heaviest
duty model they could get and the Bundera, although capable, did not fit the bill. By the late 1980s, sales were
so slow, that Toyota considered ending Bundera production. By 1989, the Bundera was only sold in a very few
select markets, most notably, Japan. In 1990, both the Bundera and Prado received a major body design update,
although the suspension and chassis remains basically unchanged. Around 1993, the Bundera faded away into
history as an unpopular Land Cruiser model.
The Prado would live on and prosper. It hit a niche’. Customers who purchased the Prado wagon were not
necessarily searching for the ultimate off road vehicle. Most Prado customers were simply looking for
something more upscale or heavier duty than the 4Runner/Surf, but didn’t want to go as far as purchasing the
much larger and more expensive Land Cruiser 80 series. Since then, the Prado later evolved into the 90 series
and in 2003 yet another version was introduced. Still sold as a more upscale version of the 4Runner, but less
expensive than the flagship Land Cruiser 100.
|1984 through 1989 Body style. Most common
|1985 LJ70 Bundera
originally from The
Netherlands, now based
out of South America
|A late 1980s LJ70 light duty Landcruiser.
Equipped with a 2L-T Hilux engine and
axles. Note the coil springs, unique to this
model. Later model 78 series also used coil
springs, but all other models used front leaf
|A 1987 Brunie Landcruiser Bundera. This one is slightly modified with 34" tires
and some aftermarket parts.
|A late 1980s French Bundera. Otherwise called a Landcruiser II.
|A 1987 RJ-70 Bundera from the Dominican Republic owned by César Asencio
|1990 through 1993 Body style.
|A slightly longer LJ73 body style
from the early 1990s.
|One of the last Bunderas produced,
a newly designed 1990 model.
Note the similarities to the 1990 to
|The frame and suspension of the short wheel base Bundera. Note the coil springs and Hilux size 8"
diffs. This was the first Land Cruiser to use coil springs at all four corners. The lighter axles were
used to save cost and weight and provide a nicer ride without the maximum cargo capacity and off road
durability of the full size Land Cruiser axles.
This picture is from a late 1980s German Land Cruiser sales catalog.
|The Prado was first introduced in 1985 as an off shoot of the 70 series heavy duty Landcruiser. Just like the
short wheelbase Bundera, the Prado was a light duty version of the Landcruiser 70 series, using coil springs
all around and 8" Hilux axles. In 1990 the Prado was redesigned (1992 model shown above) and began to
take on a look of it's own. As the Bundera faded and production ceased, the SUV Prado became more
popular. In 1996, Toyota again redesigned the Prado and gave it it's own completely seperate designation,
the 90 series. The latest Prado has absolutely no relation to the 70 series, but this generation Prado does.
The body and interior are all 70 series. The Prados were popular in Japan, with a few selling in Europe, South
America and Australia. They were never sold in the United States or North America. Prado was sold as a
heavier duty alternative to the Hilux Surf (4Runner) but as a ligher duty option to the full sized Landcruisers
of the time.
|This nice looking 1992 Prado is owned by SSgt. Randy
Ellison, USMC, who is stationed in Japan.
|LANDCRUISER 70 SERIES
|The "light duty" Landcruiser