In case you haven’t noticed, there seem to be more and more 60 series Land Cruisers with diesel engines in the U.S. these days. This is a positive trend for Cruiserheads who also happen to like diesels. We see this happening because of the way the law works in regard to importing vehicles into the U.S. Although there are loopholes, the most reasonable way to import a vehicle that doesn’t meet U.S. emissions restrictions is to wait until a vehicle is 25 years old, as cars of this age are no longer required to meet emissions requirements.
This 25 year rule is precisely why we are seeing more 60 series diesel Land Cruisers around these days. Currently any car through the 1988 year model can be bought outside the U.S. and imported relatively easily. During the 1980s is when all 60 series Land Cruisers with diesels were made and sold all over the world. So now pretty much all of them can be imported into the U.S.
There are a few businesses that have been taking advantage of this:
Specter Off-Road has been skirting around the law by importing and selling half-cuts. They import the front half of a 60 series diesel and sell it as essentially a bolt-on replacement for the front half of your U.S. 60 or 62 with a 2F or 3FE. In the past this was actually a pretty economical and easy way to get a diesel powered 60 series. But now that most of them can be imported, this might not be the best option anymore.
This trend also means that we will continually see more and more diesel cruisers in the U.S. including 70, 80, and 100 series. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing these in the U.S. in the future.
There are a few downsides to getting a diesel 60 that you should be aware of before you take the plunge. First, you are going to be paying a premium because of importing fees and rarity. You will be paying a lot for what is essentially a high mileage used car, albeit an awesome one. Second, you should be aware that because 60s with these engines were never sold in the U.S. it will be hard to find parts. In the worst case you may have to order parts from outside the country which means more time and money for repairs. And last, if you are buying a Cruiser from outside the U.S. without seeing it in person first there is a good chance you will be disappointed with the condition. This is the case when you buy any car without looking at it in person first. Be particularly careful about rust issues if you are importing from areas where corrosion and rust are a problem, like Canada.