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4×4 and Off-Roaders

In the 1970s Jeep and Land Rover finally saw serious opposition in the off-road market. As a trend toward leisure off-roading and even beach cars developed, thousands of home-build dune buggies were sold in the United States and elsewhere. Alongside capable four-wheel-drive off-roaders, there were early examples of the less serious two-wheel-drive soft-roaders that would become popular 30 years later.

Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40, 1960


Engine3,878 cc, straight-six
Top speed84 mph (135 km/h)

Japan’s answer to the Land Rover was this robust off-roader that saw few changes from 1960 to 1984. Front disc brakes and 3.0 and 4.2-liter engines were added between 1974 and 1976.

Ford Bronco, 1966


Engine2,781 cc, straight-six
Top speed76 mph (122 km/h)

Conceived by the same team who gave Ford the Mustang, the Bronco was a brave early take on the SUV but was too small to capture the U.S. market; models from 1978 onward were larger.

Chevrolet Blazer K5, 1969


Engine5,735 cc, V8
Top speed98 mph (158 km/h)

Chevrolet shortened its pickup truck and added a full cab with two- or four-wheel drive and 6-cylinder or 8-cylinder engines to compete against the Jeep, Ford Bronco, and Scout. It sold well.

Subaru Leone Estate, 1972


Engine1,595 cc, flat-four
Top speed87 mph (140 km/h)

The first of the four-wheel-drive, everyday road cars, the Leone (1600 in the UK and US) Estate was a pioneer, and Subarus were still modeled on it 40 years later.

Suzuki Jimny LJ10, 1970


Engine359 cc, straight-two
Top speed47 mph (76 km/h)

In 1967, Japan’s Hope Motor Co. developed a design for a 4×4 with a Mitsubishi engine; Suzuki bought it and fitted its own engine, creating a successful line of tiny 4x4s.

Range Rover, 1970


Engine3,528 cc, V8
Top speed99 mph (159 km/h)

This step up from the Land Rover offered superb off-road ability and comfort. With vinyl seats and a plastic dashboard, its interior could be hosed clean. Luxury came later, in the 1980s.


It is a quote. The Definitive Visual History Of The Automobile 2011

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