In the United States, the Land Cruiser has historically occupied the top spot in the Toyota off-roader hierarchy. In Japan, the company briefly bumped the Land Cruiser down a notch by offering a massive, Hummer H1-like model aptly named Mega Cruiser during the 1990s. Only a handful of units were built and none were officially sold in the United States, yet a rare left-hand-drive example is listed on Cars & Bids.
Like the H1, the Mega Cruiser has a soldier’s DNA. It traces its roots to the BXD10, a rugged off-roader developed for the Japanese army and released in the 1990s. Toyota turned the BXD10 into the Mega Cruiser (which is called BXD20 internally) in 1996 by making numerous changes inside and out. It notably redesigned the front end, developed a closed-top body, and created a more civilian-friendly interior. What didn’t significantly change were the jumbo dimensions: The truck stretches 200.3 inches long, 85.4 inches wide, and 81.6 inches tall.
Toyota powered the Mega Cruiser with a 4.1-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engine rated at around 155 horsepower and 282 pound-feet of torque. The engine spun the four wheels via a four-speed automatic transmission, a two-speed transfer case, and portal axles for about 16.5 inches of ground clearance. While 155 horsepower isn’t much for a nearly 6,300-pound truck, the Mega Cruiser can haul over 1,600 pounds.
How many examples of the Mega Cruiser were built depends largely on who you ask, but the general consensus is that production stopped after less than 150 trucks were built. Toyota exclusively sold the model in Japan, but a small handful of units have ventured beyond the Land of the Rising Sun. Finding one in the United States is easier said than done, and the example listed on Cars & Bids is particularly noteworthy because it has been converted to left-hand-drive. It also features numerous modifications like leather upholstery and wood interior trim.
What’s it like to drive? Well, Cars & Bids founder Doug DeMuro summed it up pretty well: “I just love the fact that I’m in a Hummer but made by Toyota. It’s like every off-roader’s dream.” It’s certainly not fast or nimble, but it should be nearly unstoppable off the beaten path.
If a Land Cruiser is a little too small and a Hummer H1 is a tad too mundane, head on over to Cars & Bids and check out this 1996 Mega Cruiser. It’s located and titled in Colorado, and bidding currently stands at $75,000 with about four days left in the seven-day auction.