To anyone who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, there’s a reassuring familiarity with seeing a great Toyota Pickup. Whether you shared Marty McFly’s lust for the black and silver truck in Back to the Future or used a 300,000-mile 3rd-hand beater on the daily commute to school or work, chances are your memories of Toyota’s rugged workhorse are fond. The Toyota Pickup (known as the Hilux to everyone else in the world) set new standards for reliability and durability, and they are the reason Toyota has essentially owned the compact pickup market for the better part of forty years. Taking a page from the Land Cruiser playbook, Toyota designed the Pickup to be simple yet overbuilt where it mattered and highly capable in virtually any condition. While the Land Cruiser was about uncompromised off-road ability, the Pickup balanced everyday usability with style, utility, and frugality. These trucks were known to run, and run, and run, blissfully shrugging off whatever abuse could be thrown at them.
Central to their astounding longevity was the R-series engine, a stout family of inline four-cylinder engines which powered a wide range of Toyota models from 1953 through 1997! Most common to the classic ‘80s pickup was the 22R-E. This 2.4-liter SOHC version featured electronic fuel injection and produced 105 horsepower, with a square bore/stroke for good low-end torque and little stress. Considering how owners worked many of these trucks beyond their service life and drove them into the ground, excellent survivors are a rare sight, and their stock as serious collector vehicles continues to rise.
This exceptional 1986 Toyota 4×4 Xtracab Pickup is a rare survivor that’s been treated to extensive refurbishment and enhanced with a selection of period-appropriate accessories. A highly desirable four-wheel-drive model, this truck is also equipped with the preferred Xtracab option, which provides a few inches of additional storage, a bit more legroom for the driver and passenger, and – for children of the 80s – a tiny space to be folded into and bounced around, unencumbered by seatbelts or other safety devices. Factory equipment includes the fuel-injected 22R-E engine, automatic gearbox, cloth interior with brown carpets, and air conditioning.
Finished in beige with factory graphics and a two-tone brown interior, this truck is superbly presented and highly appealing. It is in showroom-fresh condition with excellent quality paintwork, restored chrome bumpers and grille, and period-correct touches like the “4WD” mudflaps and black fender chip guards. Additionally, it gets a touch of the Marty McFly treatment with a chrome roll bar in the bed topped with a pair of classic KC Daylighter auxiliary lights, a mild lift, and chunky BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A tires on chrome 8-hole Cragar wheels. There’s also a spray-in bed liner and updated LED headlamps.
The cab is comfortably familiar to anyone who drove a Toyota passenger car in the 1980s. The angular two-spoke steering wheel, robust controls, and simple, clear instruments come straight from the Toyota parts bin. The tweed pattern cloth seats are in excellent condition, as are the tan carpets, upholstered door panels, and brown dash. An aftermarket single-din stereo is about the only noticeable deviation from the standard. The odometer displays 159,000 miles (still a baby in Toyota terms), yet all plastics and upholstery look remarkably fresh. Of course, being a Toyota, it is a delightful classic that you could use every day without worry.
The injected 22R-E sits under the hood and is very nicely detailed with factory-correct decals, labels, and hardware. It is incredibly tidy and looks more like a 5-year-old used car than a 35-year-old classic. The undercarriage is also impeccably clean, with refurbished and painted chassis components, a new exhaust system, and a full-size matching spare wheel.
There’s little argument that the humble Toyota Pickup enjoys iconic status. Few vehicles in history are so widely praised for their incredible reliability, and original examples are still in service around the world. Yet many were worked to death or rusted and tossed away, leaving very few exceptional examples behind. This Pickup is one of a rarified class that’s been treated to a genuinely high-quality restoration and is perfect to cruise to tour local Cars & Coffee or to show off at Radwood or similar events that celebrate the new class of collectible cars.