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Toyota’s Jeep AK10 and Jeep BJ

• CATEGORIES: Fire/Police/Industry Vehicles, International, Other 4x4s

As usual, searching for something unrelated to Toyota lead me straight to the Toyota BJ (I was searching through some automobile history).  I knew very little about the Toyota Land Cruiser history, so the threads I’ll share below were very interesting to me.  The pics all came from the IH8MUD.com website, where there are plenty more pics of both the AK10 and the BJ.

THE AK10

According to Wikipedia, in response to a request by the Japanese government, Toyota developed the AK10 in 1942.  Apparently there are few surviving images and no surviving vehicles.  You can view the AK10 discussion thread at the IH8MUD.com website.

JEEP BJ

Again, according to Wikipedia, in 1950 the Korean War created demand for a military light duty vehicle.  The United States Government asked Toyota to build 100 vehicles based on Willys specs.  The following year, Toyota designed the BJ prototype.  While longer and more powerful (6cyl) than the 1/4 ton jeep, the BJ had no low range.  The National Police Agency (NPA) was impressed enough to put in an order for the Jeep BJ’s, which became their official patrol vehicle.  The BJ would have 3 different Models, a Touring model (BJ-T), a Radio model (BJ-R), and a Fire Engine Capable Model (BJ-J) [technically, I suppose these would be the english equivalent translations …].

In 1954, Willys-Overland put pressure on Toyota to cease using the “Jeep” name.  Technical director Hanji Umehara had the responsibility to rename the vehicle.  Interestingly, rather than compete with the Jeep label, he chose to compete directly with the Land Rover label.  He notes, “I had to come up with a name for our car that would not sound less dignified than those of our competitors. That is why I decided to call it ‘Land Cruiser’.”

Here are several images of the BJ that I found on the IH8MUD site.  You can see many more here The Toyota BJ ‘Jeep’ thread at the IH8MUD.com website.

 

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