All The Vintage Land Cruiser Goodness From The World’s Largest Toyota Parade
Photography by Alvaro Pinzón
A few weeks ago, on an otherwise typical Saturday morning, my friend Joel and I met up in the early hours of the day to make our way to a certain race track just outside of Bogotá. Autódromo de Tocancipá was our destination, and though I’ve been to quite a few races at the circuit, today’s event was a slightly slower one—we were here to see the Guinness World Record attempt at the largest Toyota parade in the world! Perhaps not as viscerally exciting as motorsport, it was nonetheless an intriguing notion. So, I grabbed my camera and we set off toward the fields of 4x4s.
The country of Colombia was and still certainly is a lover of the Land Cruiser, so I wasn’t surprised to see quite a few of the familiar shapes upon our arrival to the edge of the group, but I wasn’t necessary prepared for how many there were altogether once we saw the thick of it. Find yourself in any moderate-sized city in my country and you’re bound to come across a few FJs, but I’ve never seen such a veritable sea of them as I did here. It’s proof that the Land Cruiser love affair is still alive and well in South America, but perhaps you’re wondering why that’s been the case for so long. There are myriad reasons of course, but I think it mostly stems from the most natural: the land itself, and the roads built on top of it.
The topography here can be considered rough or ragged in many areas, and so anyone thinking of living outside of the city or becoming involved with any kind of agricultural work typically looks for something with moderate ground clearance at the very least, and oftentimes this comes in the form of a Toyota pickup like a Hilux or a 4×4 like a Land Cruiser. Living adjacent to the Andes, the terrain is tumultuous in many places as you’d expect, but then there is the human element—the roads in many of the more rural areas tend to be in a poor state of disrepair, and they are much more suited to the sturdy suspension and general ruggedness of something like an FJ60 than your everyday commuter sedan. Older Toyotas are also among the most reliable and easiest vehicles to work on, which means if you’re alone on a remote dirt road in the countryside and do happen to break down, any semi-capable DIY mechanic can do what’s necessary to get going again.
The successful entrance of Toyota as a brand in Colombia started in 1959 through the service of importers and the like, but it wasn’t until 1967 that Toyota took over the official distribution of its products in the country. Now, 50 years later, they’ve decided to celebrate the half-century anniversary by sending out a call to people from all over Colombia to participate in an attempt to break a world record. I suppose it must be a bit more involved than I imagine to create an official count and make the resulting official statement, but I did learn later that the count came to 742 cars and trucks, making this officially the largest assemblage of the marque anywhere in the world!
As you can guess, there was simply too much to look at it, and there were the expected droves of new drone-like cars and SUVs that helped reach the record. That said, there was a sizable classic contingent that made an appearance together, and there were some rarities in the mix like this USGP version of the second-generation Celica, which was in mint condition and quite rare, being one of just 200 made in this edition. Celicas of other eras were present as well, but the vintage side was dominated by the Cruisers, and everything from rare early FJ25s to the venerable FJ62 was in attendance, making for a lot of fun to be had trying to pick out the subtle changes between model years and trim levels.
In all it was day well spent. I try to attend car shows or races or anything else focused on four wheels every weekend, though I can’t say I’ve been to anything exactly like this before. It wasn’t a typical competition, nor was it a typical show, but as always, being around enthusiasts and their machines is a good day’s recipe that’s impossible to botch.