For most, it’s likely difficult to imagine choosing an RA65 Celica over the now-iconic AE86 Corolla, but for Jake Legg, it was hardly more than a second thought. After weighing his options, it was the uniqueness of the RA65 before us that won him over, eventually spiraling into a 4-year build: what spent years as a daily driver unfolded into something considerably more. With a familiar yet individual shape, it’s a platform under-utilized and under-built.
In 2020, the Toyota moniker, “Corolla,” is unlikely to spark anything other than outright boredom. “Sporty,” “lightweight,” “rear-wheel-drive,” and “driver-centric?” There’s almost no chance those come to mind. The 2020 Toyota Corolla is, by nearly any measure, a transportation appliance and little more.
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.
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.
I should probably be ashamed of using a The Fast and the Furious quote as a title, but truth be told, I’m not. Not in the least. When opportunities present themselves, it’s best to take the shot. When Dom famously says to Brian, “You can have any brew you want, as long as it’s a Corona,” he quite clearly wasn’t referencing vintage Toyotas, but in this case, I’m making a stretch and connecting the dots.