During our time in Bogota, we had the amazing opportunity to visit the production facility for one of the world’s best companies for restoring Toyota FJ Land Cruisers. Although the company is headquartered in the US (Miami, Florida), we happened to be in Bogota, so they invited us to see first hand the place where the magic happens, and learn more about the process of restoring a Land Cruiser to perfection.
One early morning we went into the heart of Bogota, to meet Jaime Calle, Chief Restoration Officer at The FJ Company. Nearly 7 years ago, he and his two cousins Nelson Calle, CEO, and Juan Diego Calle, President, restored their grandfather’s beloved 1982 FJ40. They enjoyed the work and the perfect result of their first restored FJ so much that they established The FJ Company to create some more ‘built to perfection’ cars.
Since then, the company has been growing. This year The FJ Company will put over 40 fully restored Land Cruisers back on the streets. The cars get shipped to places all over the world, but mostly to the US, where their customers enjoy using them as fun weekend drivers. But, before this can happen a lot of different people and many processes are involved. To give you an impression how they make all this possible, we captured the process in their workshop with our camera.
It all starts with sourcing and selecting the right Toyota for the customer, they select the best kept ones with original engines and gearboxes, to ensure a perfect, valuable and original result.
The next step is to disassemble the whole car down to the chassis, removing every nut & bolt, to get a better impression of which parts can be restored and which ones have to be replaced with factory-ordered parts.
Overhauling the engine and transmission is a very important step to re-build an FJ. They fully disassemble the transmission and the engine, changing out weak and used parts, to put the powertrain of the FJ back to its original strength and look.
To protect the FJ from rust and to give it back its original look, they work very precisely on the body and the paint. They work in a protected area to employ advanced paint and powder coating techniques to ensure their work will stay in the same condition for a long time. Thanks to their 35 amazing and very passionate employees and up to date products, we got the impression that this work comes out even better than the factory originals.
They overhaul the interiors completely with the original colour scheme, the seats, carpets, side panels of the doors and the soft-top when complete look like new and are ready for adventure again. All this work is done in their own saddlery, which is in the upper part of the factory protected from any disturbance, like dust and noise, to ensure an absolutely perfect result.
Sourcing original parts from cars which are 40 years old, can sometimes be really difficult. If some parts are not available anymore they restore them completely on their own or they go for the highest quality reproduction you can find on the market. The storage area of The FJ Company was like a Toyota Heaven, we saw parts which we thought did not exist anymore.
The last step is to bring the previous work together and reassemble the car to his final finish. This involves; glasswork, bodywork, interior finishing and upholstering, installing the engine and transmissions back on its place. The finished FJ now looks like an exhibition piece but it’s meant to be used by customers all over the planet. On their website you can find some of their amazingly finished specimens, including photos of the full restoration process.
We are very grateful to Jaime and his whole team here in Bogota for a warm welcome and for helping us to source parts and contacts to people who were happy to support us restoring our own FJ43 back to his original strength.
Many thanks to the whole Fj Company team. We had a great time with you!
Chris and Flo