Introducing Bertha

For those of you that follow RCS on Instagram, you saw that Santa (Mrs. RCS) bought me a new sled for Christmas.  She’s a 1990 Land Cruiser FJ62 that we are lovingly naming Bertha. We’ve been on the hunt for a vintage SUV for a long time, but wanted to find just the right one…  She popped up on Autotrader, and after inquiring, we were lucky to get the call from the seller (who lived 13 minutes from our house…).

The good news: she’s in good shape.  The previous owner had her for about four years, and within the last year, he did some extensive work to the engine and put in a new transmission.  She runs well.  He also had a thorough inspection through ACC Garage and there’s a healthy list of stuff to do.  Not that any is an absolute need to get her on the road, but things that we’ll eventually tackle.  I’m planning on going down and reviewing the list with the team and work out prioritization.

There are a few things that I’m going to get done ASAP, mostly around safety so that I can start bumming around town:

  1. New muffler (per a high recommendation from the previous owner)
  2. Fix all the door locks (some are a little squirrelly)
  3. Replace the tailgate latch and lock
  4. Interior lighting (the dash backlight/dome lights aren’t working – it’s not a fuse)
  5. Upgrade the headlights to LED (they are pretty dim at night)

She also needs a serious cleaning inside and out.  I’ll start tackling that here shortly.

After that, there are a few rust spots/paint gouges that I need to address.  I am a HUGE fan of the two tone paint and will keep it.  I’m not looking for Bertha to be showroom quality, but I do want her to look as clean as possible.

Needless to say, Mrs. RCS and I are over the moon excited.  This should be a great adventure for our family.  Be sure to follow along on @berthasbigadventure.  I’m going to do my best to document all the work done, adventures had, and general eye candy.

Here is the official ‘Before’ photo tour:



  1. Fritz
    01/04/2021 / 11:18 AM

    Congrats, can’t wait to follow the progress. Looks like a great place to start from.

  2. Chris C.
    01/05/2021 / 3:06 PM

    Excellent nomenclature.

  3. MSM
    01/05/2021 / 4:38 PM

    Congrats on adding a TLC to the fleet. You’re on the right track building a great relationship with a shop if you’re not turning the wrenches yourself.

    We’ve used our 4Runner to facilitate some unforgettable trips through N. GA/TN/NC so I encourage you to find an app like Gaia which provides turn by turn directions on Forest Service roads. A TLC like that can get you to some cool spots and home safely and comfortably. It’d be a shame for it to never see dirt. You can have a LOT of fun off-road without doing anything extreme.

  4. NEM
    01/06/2021 / 8:13 AM

    The FJ62 was only manufactured from 88-90 and with automatic transmission. Engineers were gearing up for the next version FJ80 and this is the transitional model with a few more creature comforts than it’s predecessor. Reliable, long-lasting, classic! Get a Haynes manual and start with oil and diff fluids. Sounds like the engine and transmission are replacements. You’ll want to know exactly what they are (factory replacements, retrofits, specs, etc.) so you know the proper fluids, filters, capacities, etc. This is going to be a great project! Get your soldering iron out and get the binnacle lights working or it’s VFR only.

  5. MSM
    01/06/2021 / 12:53 PM

    Add BFG KO2s to your priority list as well. Shoes and socks are just as important in car/truck land.

  6. Clay
    01/08/2021 / 2:05 PM

    Congratulations. I traded in my sports sedan for a 100 series Landy two years ago and couldn’t be happier. ACC Garage just did a timing belt, water pump, and plugs/fluids for me and the truck runs brilliantly (it did before the maintenance as well). KO2 are great tires and last a long time, but they are not forgiving and are not confidence inspiring in the rain. I did a lot of research on tires and went with the Continental TerrainContact A/T – it’s not as aggressive offroad as the KO2 but solid on the interstate and in rain. I whipped this truck around Highlands NC roads like a maniac and it handled solidly. Your truck’s only weakness might be the head gasket. Otherwise, I wouldn’t change a thing. It looks great. Do not dark tint the windows. Makes these trucks look weird.

  7. 01/12/2021 / 9:00 AM

    Great find. I had an 84’FJ 60, getting rid of it was worst thing I ever did. Now have a 72 fj40 and ’02 100 series. Great vehicles. Congrats.

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