At first glance, there’s an undeniable simplicity exuded by Gehn Fujii’s HJ60 Land Cruiser. From front to back, it relies on its core character to make a statement, leaving “staple” mods behind in favor of practicality, purpose, and pragmatism. Beneath the surface, however, is a truck rich with personality, history, and a story to tell.
Another day. A new day. We made the descent from camp, pulling off and over into a turnout to pop our hoods and air up our tires: we had some driving ahead of us, and for the first time in a while, we’d be pounding some pavement. The goal was to make it to Roddy Turner’s shop in Ridgway, Colorado – which some might recall from his recent 510 wagon feature last month.
It was, undoubtedly, the coldest night of the trip, although at just shy of 11,000 feet, with small patches of snow still on the ground, that doesn’t quite come as a surprise. The clearing we had found to camp in filled with sunlight bright and early, rousting everyone from their slumber well before 8:00am. First on the list was for Jim Bob and I to move our tents into the sun; the morning dew was heavy, and condensation filled the nooks and crannies from the night before.
We awoke on Friday morning, perched on a mountainside at roughly 9,000ft of altitude. For me and Jim Bob, it was technically the start of Day 3, but for most of the gang, the trip was just beginning. Rewinding a bit, Jim Bob and I had departed from Southern California on Wednesday morning, making it to Southern Utah through excruciating 113-degree heat before calling it a night and catching some sleep.
With the hot rod build and the rush of SEMA, it’s been months since I was able to hit the trails and put my Land Cruiser to work. On top of that, a failed transfer case from mid-summer left the truck in a largely unusable state until time allowed for a repair. The post-SEMA dust has settled, though, and now that the FJ60 is back on the road, I’ve been eager to get out and earn a few new paint chips.