Smoking Hot Classic - 2nd February, 2018
Most retired fire engines that come up for sale aren’t exactly the most practical vehicles to park in your driveway or on the street outside your house. But this 1976 Toyota FJ45 Smoke Chaser is just about the right size and it may just cause a few grown-up six year olds to spontaneously combust with excitement.
For some reason one of the most popular future professions of many primary school age children is fire-fighter. It sits right alongside astronaut and racing driver and the appeal of these three vocations appears to be the mode of transport each uses. Retired Space Shuttles and racing cars tend to be on the expensive side but an out of work fire truck can be a realistic pathway to reliving ones childhood dreams. And while a full size fire appliance may draw enquiring (leading to angry) stares from the neighbours this smaller smoke chaser could be put to use as a work vehicle with a bit of careful modification. Couple that with the fact it’s a Toyota J40 series truck, a series with a serious cult following, this is surely a perfect combination of practicality and childhood dreams.
So what we have here is a Toyota FJ45 with a 4.2 litre, 6 cylinder engine that is highly regarded for its toughness and reliability. It has spent its life with the NZ Fire Service chasing fires around the South Island so has lived a fairly demanding life. But hey, these things are tough. They are also slow, noisy and thirsty but much like an old Land Rover they’ll get you anywhere and are fairly simple mechanically. There’s just something about the adventure of driving an old car with its noise, unpredictability, and relative discomfort that, while counter intuitive, can be really quite thrilling.
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