It took a 3,200 mile trip across the country to get it, but Rick Niquette found his dream ride.
It was over six years ago that an innocent peek through an Oregon online newspaper turned into a cross-country trip that led Niquette to find a 1965 Toyota FJ 40 Land Crusier. This weekend, the Alton Bay, N.H. native showed off his prized possession in the Custom & Classic Car Show at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
“I’ve always loved them – I had a couple when I was younger but had to sell them,” said Niquette, who co-owns Ship Shape Marineworks with his wife, Anne. “I flew out to Castlerock, Wash., just to look at it and figured, if nothing else, it would be a chance to visit with my sister, who lives in Oregon.”
It turned out to be much more than that. Picked up at the airport by the seller (who was holding up an FJ40 sign as Niquette exited the terminal), Niquette was driven to the seller’s house, was given a brownbag lunch and the keys to the ’65 Land Cruiser.
“There was no doubt (I was going to buy it) once I saw it,” said Niquette.
After the deal was completed, Niquette drove it 600 miles to his sister’s house in Oregon, where he then had it transported back to the Granite State. And there it sat for nearly four years, until his friend told him it was time to get to work.
“He said, I’ll see you at 6 a.m. tomorrow,” said Niquette of his friend, Mike Moore, whose freeborn red ’80 Toyota FJ40 sat next to Niquette’s atomic orange ’65. “Two years later here we are.”
Niquette has put his time (over two years) and his money (nearly $20,000) into the Toyota, which has only 25,000 miles on it. Nearly everything on the machine is original, but Niquette did take it all apart and sandblasted every inch of it. He’s added and replaced parts here and there, and has plans to add jump seats in the back, a stereo, an original hardtop and even a corner window that was unique to later models.
The hard work has paid off, too, as it won first place in the Trucks 1946-72 class on Saturday at "The Magic Mile."
“I’ll always be tinkering with it,” said Niquette, “but I have no plans of selling it. No way.”
After all, it is his dream ride.