Thought you would need to book plane tickets to the USA to see one of the best Toyota Land Cruiser collections in the world? You don’t...
Words: Wilhelm Lutjeharms
Images: Land Cruiser Heritage Museum
Toyota Land Cruisers, Land Rovers, Nissan Patrols and Willys Jeeps. For many of us these are the most iconic cars when it comes to off-road vehicles, classic 4x4s and collectable off-roaders.
Salt Lake City in Utah, USA, might be known for a variety of non-automotive related sights and sounds, but it also offers one of the most important museums for 4x4 fanatics.
Called the Land Cruiser Heritage Museum, this collection houses no fewer than 104 vehicles. One of those might be a trailer, but at the other end of the scale is a 2013 Hilux Artic Trucks AT44 – a vehicle that featured extensively in the South African press some years ago. Apart from these two odd-balls, the rest of the collection’s 102 vehicles are all Land Cruisers, spanning close to 70 years of "Cruiser" history, from a 1953 BJT Toyota Jeep up to a 2020 URJ200 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition.
An interesting fact about the collection is that not all the cars are in a perfect or restored condition. Some of the Cruisers are in need of what would appear a serious amount of work, but they are rather kept as they are – which also adds to each vehicle's own, unique history.
It is possibly one of the most thorough museum websites I’ve come across. One can click on respective vehicles and a gallery opens with several high-resolution pictures that illustrate the vehicle in greater detail.
The museum has even done a virtual tour for online visitors. Simply click on Museum Collection in the top tab and on Virtual Tour (or just click here) and you can virtually walk your way through the museum, even viewing the cars from the rear.
The museum’s focus on the heritage and history of the these vehicles continues when you click on “Resources”. Here you will find paint colour and engine charts, and even a model and VIN decoder, to name a few.
Apart from the car and scale model car collection (also with an individual picture of each!), the museum also has a large repository of Cruiser literature, manuals and other information. Thankfully this is, according to their website, being digitised.
This collection is the passion and brainchild of Land Cruiser enthusiast Greg Miller.
“When Greg realized that Toyota did not maintain a museum to celebrate the history of his favourite vehicle, the idea to create a museum of his own, both as a place to display his collection, and as a way to celebrate Land Cruiser heritage started to form in his mind.”
On the website, Greg continues to explain why these vehicles are so important to him: “When I’m in a Land Cruiser, I’m usually in a place I love, with people I love, doing what I love.” For many years, Greg has been collecting historically significant Land Cruisers and adding them to his collection. Greg also outfitted several 78-Series Land Cruisers and took them on a journey around the world, driving them on all seven continents, including Antarctica.
Apart from preserving these 4x4s, the museum makes it very clear that it wants to celebrate the history of the Toyota Land Cruiser, but it also wants to inspire adventure. That it sure does.