In 1950 the Japanese wanted a prototype 4X4 trucks and other vehicles. In response Toyota began designing such vehicles and by January 1951 they had produced a prototype. Toyota based their design on the Bantam vehicle that had seen military action in Malaysia. At the time there were many Jeeps being driven in Japan and the Jeep came to be the symbol of the 4X4. For this reason Toyota called it's prototype the Toyota Jeep. These became the FJ40 that Americans found to be a rugged and reliable off road vehicle, but mostly unknown to the North American people is that there was another strong contender to the legend, the Mitsubishi Jeep.
The vehicle which as ultimately selected for procurement by the National Police Reserve Forces was the Willys Jeep. In 1953 Mitsubishi secured the rights to build the Willys under their own name and the Mitsubishi Jeep was born.
In the USA the Willys was built till 1965 but in Japan Mitsubishi had a good thing going so they kept the line in production till 1998.
Mitsubishi installed the first KE31 2.2L diesel engine in the Jeep in 1955 in the CJ3B, J20DC and the J30D. These little 4 cyl diesel engines put out a whopping 45 hp but the reliability was famous at the time. In 1970 the 4DR5 2.7L 4 cyl Diesel came to be installed in the J24, J24H, J36 wagon and the J44 long bed. these larger engines put out a much more useful 80 hp and moved these Jeeps down the highway at 100 km / hr or 60 mph. In 1986 the 4DR6 came to be installed in the J53 and this was a potent turbo charged 4 cyl diesel engine cranking out 100 hp and moving the Jeep down the highway at 120 km/hr. Mitsubishi found that their customers still wanted more so they added an intercooler from the factory in the J55 for an astounding 135 hp and they used this engine till production ended in 1998.
I have now driven my personal J54 hard for almost a year with no problems
what so ever. The J54 will start down to -25 C WITHOUT being plugged in.
It will cruise all day at 100 km/hr without missing a beat and will return
an amazing 30 mpg. The seats are very basic but at the same time comfortable.
I have put my J54 up against all models of Land Cruiser and held my own
on hills, in the mud, twisting down the cut lines near my home. It has the
window defrost mounted to the windshield frame. It also has the "twin stick" transfer
case. This J54 has a water tight storage box from the factory under the
drivers seat. The beautiful silver Mitsubishi has full time hubs, reverse
turn glow plugs and is the ultra tough 24V system. The passenger seat folds
up completely to give very easy access to the rear of the Jeep.
The 4DR5 will return a astounding 30 mpg in the bush or on the trail so you can wheel all weekend on just one tank of fuel. Crawl down the steepest hill or race up the nearest dune, this gutsy miniature tank can handle it all. The very sharp approach and departure angles will be the envy of all and the superb break over angle will be hard to beat in any stock 4X4. This stock J54 can run 31" tires with absolutely NO LIFT.
This is a true turn-key off road capable unit. Ready for the rugged out doors. Pick a trail and enjoy one of the best off-road vehicles ever made. The beauty of the Willy's body style coupled with the strong and reliable Japanese engineered drivetrain using the D44 out back and the D30 up front, gear to gear t/case with a 2.3 low range, 4.77 differential gearing and you are ready for the great out doors.