The History of the 70 Series Prado (1990-1996)

Within the storied lineage of Toyota Land Cruisers, the 70 Series Prado holds a special place in the hearts of Japanese off-road enthusiasts. Produced from 1990 to 1996, this series left an undeniable mark on the nation's automotive landscape, revered for its rugged capability and enduring legacy. Since then it has been exported around the world and continues to hold its value as time goes on.

What made the 70 Series Prado unique in the Land Cruiser family was its suspension system. Unlike its 70 Series siblings that utilised traditional leaf springs, the Prado adopted a coil spring setup. This innovation offered a smoother ride on-road while maintaining excellent off-road articulation. The 70 Series Prado wasn't entirely a new concept though; it traced its roots back to the earlier Bundera, a coil-sprung off-road vehicle produced by Toyota. Borrowing this successful platform and refining it for the 1990s market.

The 70 Series Prado Arrives (1990)

The year 1990 marked the arrival of the 70 Series Prado in the Japanese market. Building upon the established reputation of the Land Cruiser name, the 70 Series offered a refined driving experience while maintaining its core strength: conquering any terrain imaginable. A significant addition was the introduction of popular variants like the KZJ78, boasting a powerful 1HZ diesel engine that promised endless exploration possibilities.

JDM Domination (1990-1996)

The 70 Series Prado quickly established itself as a dominant force in the Japanese off-road scene. Its robust build quality and go-anywhere attitude made it a favourite among professionals. Forest rangers, emergency service providers, and anyone requiring a reliable vehicle for challenging tasks relied heavily on the 70 Series. Recreational off-road enthusiasts also embraced the Prado, forming a strong community around its unparalleled capabilities. 

Variants that Defined an Era

The 70 Series Prado wasn't a monolithic entity. Several variants catered to specific needs and preferences. The KZJ78 with it's 1KZ engine, and extended wheelbase, offered a comfortable yet capable platform for long journeys. For those seeking agility on tight trails, short-wheelbase models provided exceptional manoeuvrability. Each variant had its own loyal following, a testament to the 70 Series' versatility.

The Legacy Lives On

Production of the 70 Series Prado in Japan ended in 1996 to make way for the new 90 Series Prado. While its domestic production run concluded, its legacy continues to thrive. A robust used car market allows 70 Series Prados to find new homes with passionate owners who cherish their timeless design and legendary durability. Dedicated owner clubs keep the spirit of the Prado alive, sharing knowledge, restoration tips, and buying aftermarket accessories to modify their LandCruiser.

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