Is the Hummer H1 not special or unique enough for your liking? The Toyota Mega Cruiser is the Japanese alternative you probably never knew existed. Not only did the Mega Cruiser have the same military background as the H1, but it was also willed into civilian production by a wave of people who wanted a military spec truck for the road.
For decades, the Mega Cruiser lurked in the background completely unbeknownst to most western car enthusiasts. Now that it’s been 25 years since the first Mega Cruisers were manufactured, they can finally step foot on US soil and have that grudge match with the Hummer H1 that people in the know have been waiting on for twenty-five years.
But what’s the story behind the Japanese Hummer knockoff you’ve likely never seen before? Well unsurprisingly, its story mirrors that of the Hummer in more ways than one. All that’s left to do now is compare the two side by side to see who’s the top dog.
Get ready to enter the combat zone, because we’re taking a deep dive into the military truck from Japan with the same military roots as the Hummer H1. Whichever one you like more is up to you, but at least westerners can start getting their hands on them very soon.
Japans Answer To The Humvee
Just as the Humvee was America’s answer to the problem of replacing the aging Kaiser Jeeps, the Japanese Self Defense Force also needed a trademark utilitarian transport vehicle of their own. This being Japan, the choice was obvious who the best company for the job was.
Indeed, the technology Toyota developed exclusively for the Mega Cruiser would slowly trickle down to civilian off-roaders like the Land Cruiser and the Rav 4. Make no mistake though, this is a military vehicle first and a rich man’s plaything in a very distant second, just like the American Hummer. The Mega Cruiser was produced by Toyota Auto Body, a corporate spinoff run by Toyota and based in the Aichi prefecture.
Toyota manufactured around three thousand examples of the Mega Cruiser, the vast majority of these are military spec versions that lacked things like air conditioning, cabin insulation, and a stereo among many other omissions. These versions were designated with serial code BXD10. It was only after Toyota realized that selling these military trucks to average civies could potentially be very profitable just as Hummer did that a small number of civilian versions were released under the serial code BXD20.