The Toyota Hilux pickup truck first hit the streets in 1968, shoving aside flimsier trucks based on the Corona and Crown within a few years. While the Hilux (or “Hylux”) name got a bit of marketing use by Toyota in North America, this truck was known here as, simply, the Truck. I found this well-worn-but-unrusted ’78 in a Denver self-service yard last month.
How many miles are on it? Plenty. Toyota felt confident enough to go to six-digit odometers (or perhaps just became willing to throw some yen at an extra reel in the mechanism) soon after 1978, but this could be indicating 626,569.7 miles as easily as 126,569.7 miles (the wear on the seats and pedals rules out the possibility of 26,569.7 miles).
These trucks were small, efficient, and got their power from an engine family that earned a reputation for sturdiness rivaled only by the likes of the Chrysler Slant-6 and certain Soviet agricultural engines making 20 horses per liter of displacement.
The 2.2-liter 20R in this Truck made 90 rumbling, grumbling, low-revving horses when it was new. Perhaps the 20R didn’t quite fit the sporty image of the Celicas in which it was installed, but it was perfect for the Truck.
Most of the second-gen Trucks came with four- or five-speed manual gearboxes, even in the United States, but this one has the luxurious three-speed automatic (sadly, the Toyoglide two-speed didn’t go in this generation of Hilux).
Speaking of luxury, check out these wire wheels!
The homemade plywood desk atop the split-bench armrest suggests long-term use as a delivery vehicle; delivery drivers need to do a lot of paperwork while performing their appointed rounds.
These trucks held their value for many decades, but the used-truck market is now saturated with cheap big pickups equipped with air conditioning and menacing road presence; I’m seeing a spike in 1970s and 1980s Trucks in wrecking yards in recent years.
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