One of South Africa’s Biggest Suppliers of New, Used & Reconditioned parts for Cruisers and Toyota 4WD’S

Cliff Weichelt founded N1 4X4 in 1995 after he recognised the need for new, used and reconditioned parts for Cruiser and Toyota.

Since its inception, N1 4X4 has become Southern Africa’s biggest supplier of new, used, reconditioned and replacement parts suitable for Toyota Land Cruiser and Toyota Hilux, as well as rebuilding vehicles and manufacturing specialized vehicles.

We have a large African and international client base and we are constantly striving to meet their specific needs, whether it be through new product development or spares supply.

N1 4×4 – Our History


Behind The Toyota Land Cruiser Name

Mr. Hanju Umehara, former Managing Director of Toyota Motor Corporation gave the Toyota Land Cruiser its powerful name.

At the time (here he refers to the early history), one vehicle made itself very conspicuous, the Jeep. Before this encounter I had never heard of or seen a Jeep. I somehow came to associate it with the fantasy animals that Seeger, the American cartoonist used to draw. This agile little beast captured the popular interest in America around 1938.

Later, when I was a technical director at Toyota we were conducting tests of a future competitor to the Jeep. After the tests, our test driver, Ichiro Taira, insisted on taking the car up the steps of Mt. Atago (Tokyo). Heikuro Magaki had climbed these same steps on horseback three centuries earlier.

Once we got there, we saw there was a pillar in the middle of the steps and were forced to give it up as impossible. Instead we rode up the steps (no longer existing) leading to the Fudo temple in Okazaki city. Much like Heikuro might have done, Ichiro Taira went up the steps zigzag-fashion and reached the top without any difficulty. An incredible feat! This if nothing else convinced us of the worth of our new product.

In England we had another competitor; Land Rovers and Jeeps! I had to come up with a name for our car that would not sound less dignified than those of our competitors. That is why I decided to call it “Land Cruiser”.

The Early History

The history of the Land Cruiser began just after World War II in 1950. On June 25 of 1950 the North Korean (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) suddenly invaded the South Korean (Republic of Korea), and the Korean War had begun.

At that time Japan was still under the influence of America, centering on the occupation forces of the United States military, for which Japan played a role as a supply base, and with the Korean War all military production went into full time operation.

When the Japanese National Police Reserve Forces (now called the Self-Defense Forces) was first established it depended entirely on the U.S. Military for all of its equipment, however very quickly it was urged that domestic sources of supply be developed. Part of the motivation was to create a base in Japan through which the U.S. Military could procure military vehicles for use throughout the Asia region, but Japanese automakers were asked to produce prototypes for compact 4X4 trucks and other vehicles.

In response Toyota began designing such vehicles in August of the same year, and by January of 1951 had produced a prototype. At the time there were many Jeeps being driven in Japan, which had been brought in by the occupying forces, and the Jeep came to be the symbol of the 4X4.

For this reason Toyota called its prototype the Toyota Jeep, and by combining a B-type engine with a Jeep model it was known as the BJ. However, the vehicle which was ultimately selected the National Police Reserve Forces was the Willys Jeep. The Toyota Jeep BJ had been rejected on this project, but in July of the same year test driver Ichiro Taira did a test run under the supervision of officials from the National Police Agency, and performed brilliantly, climbing by car all the way up to the No. 6 checkpoint on Mt. Fuji. The test run was viewed favorably, and in August this model was officially adopted as the patrol car for the National Police Agency.

However, large-scale production of the Toyota Jeep did not begin until August of 1953. In the first year 298 Toyota Jeep BJs rolled off the production line. Later, in addition to the patrol car for the National Police Agency, Toyota also received orders from the Forestry and Agricultural Agency and from Electric Power companies.

The next year in June of 1954, responding to claims of trademark violation by the Willys Company that produced the original Jeep, as well as viewing opportunities for export, then Director of Technology Hanji Umehara renamed the 4-wheeled vehicle as the Land Cruiser.



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