We Love Toyota Land Cruisers. In fact, the Vintage Cruiser Co. was born out of a simple desire to own the very best Toyota Land Cruiser we could find.
I remember driving down the road one day and seeing a blue FJ40 perched on a display ramp and thinking it was the most beautiful Vintage 4x4™ that I had ever seen. I didn’t know the first thing about Toyota Land Cruisers, but it was love at first sight.
That was the day I purchased my first Land Cruiser. I will never forget the happiness on my two young boy’s faces when I brought it home and they saw it for the very first time and called it “papa’s fire truck.”
So, we made a family project out of it, and just when we got our FJ looking and driving exactly the way we wanted it, an old man asked it if was for sale. I initially declined but the gentleman told me a story about how his grandfather had one just like it and how it brought back so many wonderful memories that he just had to have it.
Well, he made me an offer that I just couldn’t refuse, and just like that, our first Land Cruiser was gone.
But no sooner than I handed over the title, did seller’s remorse kick in, but it was too late, “papa’s fire truck” was gone and my two young boys were heartbroken!
I couldn’t let heartbreak be the last memory my boys had of "papa’s fire truck." I wanted their FJ memories to be joyful, just like their first one and like the ones the old man cherished.
So, we searched and searched for another one, but to no avail, until one day my boys fell head-over-heals with an HJ45 pickup. The only problem was that it was in Costa Rica. I had never been to Costa Rica.
So the adventure began!
How would I buy it? How would I ship it home? What paperwork was required to clear US customs? I had no clue, but was compelled, nevertheless, to fly to a foreign country, and to dive head first, and fool heartedly, without knowing just how deep the water was, so I could un-break my boys’ hearts and restore their "FJ" joy.
They say love is blind, and it’s really true. It inspires us to take a leap of faith and empowers the adventure in all of us.
So, with eyes wide shut, I booked a flight and headed over to paradise!
However, when I got to Costa Rica, having travelled more than 3000 miles, the adventure seemed to be over before it began.
I was so disappointment with the condition of the HJ45. Not at all what I had expected.
It was really heartbreaking, but I was determined to make the best of my trip, so I took a drive through the countryside and what I saw next was nothing short of amazing. The mountains were covered with beautifully cultivated coffee plantations as far as the eyes could see, but even more astonishing, there were vintage Toyota Land Cruisers everywhere transporting coffee beans. It was incredible, it was like traveling back in time.
As it turns out, I had arrived at the peak of the coffee harvesting season, so I spent the rest of my trip looking for just the right Land Cruiser… and it did not take long before I found it.
Now the hard part… bringing “papa’s new firetruck” back home to my boys!
Well, as it turns out, fate seemed to be shinning bright and the universe seemed to have brought me to that exact place at that precise moment in time and everything just fell into place.
In no time, through a series of chance encounters, and what otherwise seemed to be blind luck, I managed to figure out the logistics of exporting out of Costa Rica and into the USA.
Looking back, I have no idea how I managed to cut through all the red tape so quickly, but thank God, I managed it somehow.
Well, to make a long story short, no sooner than our very first Vintage Cruiser™ from Costa Rica cleared customs and was titled in Florida, did an owner of a large orange grove plantation in Clermont offer to buy it. I promised my boys we could get another one of "papa's fire trucks” and thus the Vintage Cruiser Co. was born.
The rest, as they say is history, and our family has been spreading the "FJ" joy ever since!