51, who lives outside Fort Collins, Colo., and is a marketing manager for Netgate, which develops network security products, on his
Land Cruisers, as told to A.J. Baime.
It all started in 2000. I was living near Golden, Colo., and one morning it began to snow. All of a sudden, a stranger showed up with a truck with a snowplow mounted on the front. He plowed my driveway. I had no idea what the truck was, but I knew it was really cool. That is how I met my then-neighbor Bill.
The next day I saw his truck on the side of the road with the hood up. I stopped and said, “Hey, what’s up?” He told me his truck had overheated and how he was thinking he would have to scrap it, as he was not able to take care of it anymore. I said, “Let’s come up with a better plan. How about you sell it to me?” That is how I got my 1978 Land Cruiser FJ40. I bought it for $1,200, but sold the snowplow for $600.
Toyota has been building Land Cruisers since the 1950s.
The steering wheel and dashboard on Mr. Scholand ‘s FJ55.
While researching Land Cruisers, I came across the FJ55, or the ‘Iron Pig,’ as it is affectionately known. Some say it’s called Iron Pig because it likes to wallow in mud, while others say it’s because of the design of the front end, which looks kind of like a snout. It’s a unique and rare vehicle. That’s why I stopped one day to look at one that was parked in front of a store near where I live. The owner came out, and that’s how I met my friend Ben. He helped me find the Iron Pig I now own—a 1974 Land Cruiser FJ55 I found for sale in 2007. I bought it for somewhere around $1,500.
What is a Land Cruiser? In the 1950s, Japan was still rebuilding its economy after World War II.
built a rugged truck that was originally modeled after the Jeep [the name Land Cruiser was first used in 1954]. Toyota still makes Land Cruisers to this day.
The FJ55 on a road outside Fort Collins, Colo.
Mr. Scholand has updated his trucks with more modern engines from later-model Land Cruisers.
I have been working on my two since I got them—upgrading them with engines and power steering from later series Land Cruisers. The beauty of these vehicles, for me, is the friends that you make with them and the ability to take your family on fun adventures. There is an online forum where Iron Pig owners communicate and help each other out. In 2017, we decided to get together for what Pig owners call a “Pig Party.” We chose a little town near Telluride, Colo., and got together with our trucks and had a blast. We have since held Pig Parties near the Grand Canyon, in Utah, in South Dakota, and near the border of Colorado and New Mexico.
Once, I even got to use my Iron Pig in a wedding. I was contacted by strangers who were getting married and were looking for an owner to chauffeur them to and from the event (they had an FJ40, but it wasn’t running). The wedding photographer took some wonderful photos that I still have.
FJ55 owners call each other “Knights of the Iron Pig.” My son Cash, soon to be 16, has driven my Iron Pig, and I’m hoping he will become a Knight himself one day.
Mr. Scholand’s two Land Cruisers: a four-door 1974 FJ55, in green and white, and a 1978 FJ40.
A group of owners of FJ55s has held so-called Pig Parties near the Grand Canyon, in Utah, in South Dakota, and near the border of Colorado and New Mexico.
Write to A.J. Baime at email@example.com.
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