Kevin VanDam Says "Let’s Take the Land Cruiser" - Major League Fishing
Kevin VanDam Says “Let’s Take the Land Cruiser”
3y • Alan McGuckin • Angler News
Summertime is the right time for “Big Show” Scroggins’ crab leg creation
8m • Alan McGuckin • Angler News
Howell’s 12th annual boat giveaway fundraiser underway through Nov. 12
1y • Angler News
Bradley Roy’s High School Open Presented by Covercraft Continues for 10th Year
1y • J.D. Blackburn • High School Fishing
From Bass Boat to Kayak in Two Days as Jackson Roumbanis Wins His First-Ever Kayak Tournament
1y • Kendra Cousineau • Angler News
Biffle, Fennel, Martens Inducted into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame
1y • Rachel Dubrovin • Angler News
VanDam Goes to NASCAR’s Victory Lane
1y • Alan McGuckin • Angler News
VanDam’s Generosity May Lead to More 10-Pounders at Grand Lake
1y • Alan McGuckin • Bass Pro Tour
BALLY BET AOY UPDATE: Can Anybody Catch Wheeler for 2022 Angler of the Year?
1y • Joel Shangle • Bass Pro Tour
Gary Klein to be Inducted into Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame
2y • Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame • Angler News
Kevin VanDam: “My 2022 Toyota Tundra Has Everything but an Ice Scraper”
2y • Alan McGuckin • Angler Columns
Pro Angler Mike McClelland is Fishing for Sweet Treats at Andy’s Frozen Custard®
2y • MLF • Angler News
Tharp is all in with Ark Fishing International
2y • MLF • Angler News
2021: What We’ll Remember From the Year That Was
2y • Jody White • Angler News
Support Aaron Martens’ Family at the Celebration of Life Fundraiser on December 18
2y • Mason Prince • Angler News

Kevin VanDam Says “Let’s Take the Land Cruiser”

Image for Kevin VanDam Says “Let’s Take the Land Cruiser”
Kevin VanDam and his uncle, Henry Kalkman, stand with their beloved Toyotas. Photo by Alan McGuckin
May 22, 2020 • Alan McGuckin • Angler News

Kevin VanDam is not only the most accomplished professional bass angler in history, but he’s also intensely adamant that his Toyota Tundra is the safest, most powerful truck he’s ever towed a boat with. In fact, he swears its oversized brakes helped save his life when chaos occurred in front of him while towing through a Chattanooga, Tennessee construction zone a few years ago.

But when he’s not pulling his 21-foot Nitro all over America, and it’s time to chill out with family and grab a pizza from Fricano’s in his beloved hometown of Kalamazoo, KVD usually convinces his neighbor and uncle by marriage, Henry Kalkman, to take the Land Cruiser.

Not just any Land Cruiser – an iconic 1975 FJ40 with less than 30,000 miles on it that Kalkman’s wife swears gets more looks amid a short hop around town than if they were driving a high-end muscle car.

VanDam certainly agrees with her.

“I just think it’s super cool,” VanDam grins. “I know its history, and there’s a nostalgia that surrounds it. Heck, I couldn’t wait to drive it last night to go pick up pizza.”

Born during WWII, Land Cruisers are actually Toyota’s longest-running series of vehicles. By the 1950s, both American and Japanese soldiers drove Land Cruisers in the Korean War. And since mass production of the iconic vehicle began, more than 5,000,000 have been manufactured and driven around the world. There’s even a Land Cruiser museum in Salt Lake City.

“My FJ40 is just a raw powerful vehicle that’s much the opposite of the creature comforts and technology in Kevin’s Tundra, but I think the rawness is also what he gets a kick out of,” says Kalkman, who owns a successful injection-mold-making facility that provides molds for the auto and medical industry, and escapes to Key West for an annual fishing trip with legendary guide RT Trosset.

Since taking ownership of the FJ40 two years ago, Kalkman has done little to alter its appearance of 45 years ago. In fact, he even added to its rugged authentic looks by adding an original bumper and steel wheel rims.  

“I’ve seen old Land Cruisers just like it on TV in African safaris. And honestly, the fact it’s a 4-speed manual stick shift reminds me of the very first truck I drove as a teenager, so it’s definitely kind of nostalgic,” reflects VanDam.

He’s right, because of their reliability, Land Cruisers are hugely popular around the world including the vastly remote Outback of Australia, Africa, and wherever global adventure takes place – including trips to an Italian eatery in Kalamazoo, to pick up pizza for the people pro bass fishing’s most decorated angler loves most.