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World’s Saddest Land Cruiser

We have a new diesel engine swap project!

Around here, we’re big fans of the Cummins diesel engines, and even bigger fans of taking solid pre-loved vehicles and swapping out existing engines for those diesels. Consequently, we especially love finding diamond in the rough projects … although this project definitely puts more emphasis on “rough” than “diamond.”

For months now, we’ve looked for that just right 80s series Land Cruiser. The goal is simple: Do a Land Cruiser diesel engine swap. To that end, we’ve spent a lot of time on Craigslist and Facebook marketplace. Finally our Internet searches stumbled on this one, sitting unused in a driveway about an hour from Jonesy’s HQ.

The World’s Saddest Land Cruiser, soon to be the happiest with its new diesel engine

The first impression? Not great. The interior is a dumpster fire. Wrappers, discarded toys, long forgotten paperwork, and various bits of shrapnel everywhere. Obnoxiously, the front seat is stuck in position closest to the glove compartment. This Land Cruiser hadn’t seen a hose or scrub brush for years, let alone any serious maintenance.

In addition to swapping the engine, I think we’ll be swapping some seat upholstery too

Moreover, it definitely has seen some serious road time, with a wopping 300,000 miles on it. As a result, with that many miles, , it’s due for a new engine. Overall, we want this vehicle so we can do a Land Cruiser diesel engine swap, so it fits our bill perfectly. Above all, despite the epically bad interior, it’s a running driving Land Cruiser at a reasonable price. We call that a win.

We’ll update the progress of its rehabilitation with more photos here. Once we are a little further along with the work, we’ll post a Youtube video series. At this point, the plan is to clean it up, swap in a diesel engine, and find this vehicle a (loving) forever home (unless we decide to keep it for ourselves …).

In the meantime, these photos don’t do justice to the interior, which was a pit. Rest assured, gas station gloves were actually purchased to make the drive home.

Sad looking Land Cruiser steering wheel ripped to shreds
Land Cruiser steering wheel with untold bacterial growth

While we start work fixing this vehicle up at Jonesy’s HQ, we have lots of videos on past engine swaps over at There you’ll find videos talking through details of past projects. If you need a starting spot, we’re partial to this one:

In the meantime, if you have a project of your own like this, you might be interested in our Land Cruiser engine mounts found here:

Happy building everyone!

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