The Ford F-150 and the Toyota Land Cruiser are among the longest surviving nameplates of all time. They are also two of the best-selling vehicles in history. The trustworthy Land Cruiser put Toyota on the map. The immortal F-series trucks cemented Ford’s dominance. Which of these giants is more iconic?
The Toyota Land Cruiser: One Of The Oldest Surviving Nameplates
Toyota built the first Land Cruiser in 1951, which makes it the fourth oldest vehicle nameplate still in production. The Land Cruiser is also Toyota’s longest-running model series. In 2019, Toyota announced it had built 10 million Land Cruisers total.
Toyota first launched the Land Cruiser as a spartan, Jeep-like vehicle. The Japanese company built it for the United States Military during the Korean War. Toyota’s first U.S.-market model was the 20 series, which it followed with the iconic 40 series.
Over successive generations, increasingly luxurious SUVs carried the Land Cruiser nameplate. But the original Land Cruiser was so iconic that Toyota spun off the retro-styled FJ Cruiser in 2006 and sold it for years alongside the more opulent and modern Land Cruiser.
The Ford F-Series: A Nameplate Even Older
Ford Motor Company unveiled its first F-Series truck in 1948. This truck is the world’s third oldest surviving vehicle nameplate.
Since before the Model T, Ford had been building trucks, but the F series was an all-new platform with eight distinct models. The half-ton was called the F-1. Ford advertising would continue rebranding the F-series trucks until the F-150 level debuted in 1975. By 1977 it became the best-selling pickup in the United States.
The F-150 badge earned so much respect that Ford has stuck with it ever since. Ford is quick to remind consumers that the F-150 is the most popular truck in America; the company sells more than 2,000 F-series trucks every day. Overall, Ford has sold 35 million F-series trucks. That is second only to the Toyota Corolla (37.5 million) and trounces the Model T’s 16.5 million sales.
The Land Cruiser Is A Seventy-Year-Old Icon
The Internet Movie Car Database lists 4,050 distinct appearances of a Toyota Land Cruiser in movies worldwide. This is more than most any make and model in history.
Thanks to its place in popular culture, the Toyota Land Cruiser remains a cultural icon. Each month 110,000 people Google “Toyota Land Cruiser”–in the U.S. alone.
The series 40 Land Cruisers have enjoyed a recent resurgence in popularity. As a result, many enthusiasts are buying vintage Land Cruisers to fix up. The Icon 4×4 shop in Los Angeles takes restoration a step further, modding vintage Land Cruisers with high-tech bodies, modern drivetrains, and offroad-ready suspension. Stars and tastemakers are happy to pay six figures for an Icon-restored Land Cruiser restomod.
The Ford F-150 Is A Piece of Automotive History
The Internet Car Movie Database lists 2,550 memorable appearances of an F-150 in films, 1,020 appearances of an F-250 and 1,680 appearances of an F-350. Thus, at least 5,250 distinct F-series trucks appear in movies–over a thousand more than the Toyota Land Cruiser.
In the United States, 310,000 people Google “Ford F150” each month. What is more, vintage F-series trucks are as popular a restoration as any other classic. The Ford Trucks forum is home to a board for vintage F-series truck enthusiasts with millions of posts, hundreds of thousands for each era of the F-series.
The Toyota Land Cruiser is a global phenomenon, instantly recognizable and trusted the world over. Very much like the Model T once did for Ford, the Land Cruiser put Toyota on the map and helped the company become the largest auto manufacturer in the world.
The Ford F-series truck is a piece of American history and appears to be part of America’s future. With the F-series truck, Ford hit its stride and produced one of the best-selling vehicles of all time. Even the 2020 quarantine did not slow down the F-150. And Ford is emerging stronger than ever, with the F-150 lightning.
The new Toyota Land Cruiser 300 series will be available in some markets, but not in the United States. While both these vehicles are icons, only one of the two will capture the imagination of the next generation of American motorists.