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Awesome in Austin: 1976 Toyota Hilux Pickup

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What an awesome truck! This 1976 Toyota Hilux Pickup is in equally-awesome Austin, Texas. It’s listed on eBay with a current bid price of just over $3,300 and there are over four days left on the auction. This truck is mostly original and it would be a great parts runner or one to just drive to shows or on the weekends.

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It helps to have awesome photos in an ad and there are dozens and dozens of great photos of this great truck in the eBay listing. Along with an interesting (to say the least) description as to why this truck is for sale… The paint and striping is all factory original, believe it or not. There are a few little dings and some surface rust here and there, but the seller says that this “truck has zero rust through anywhere on the body (including the floorboards)”. They also say that this “truck has been lowered three inches front and rear via sport Mighty Max springs in front and blocks in the rear. Driveline angle is correct and there is no vibration at any speed.” Normally I’m a keep-it-original guy, but I think that 3-inch drop enhances the look perfectly on this Hilux. It’s not overly done but just right.

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I personally give this truck a 9.5 out of 10 on appearance, I think it’s spot-on. Sure, the roof is getting pretty crusty, and there’s surface rust on the frame and under the bed and in the bed, but, the bed itself “is solid and all rubber mounts are in good shape (removed the bed to do the fuel pump and inspected all the hardware).” This was a “farm truck rescue” from nearby Bastrop, Texas and it has around 80,000 miles on it.

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Again, the photos are top notch, which helps sell this fantastic truck and it gives me hope for humanity that not all listings have inadequate photos. You can see a 95% original interior other than the speakers and radio. It even has factory AC! The seller says that the “ventilation controls work as they should, the heat is hot, and the A/C is cold (R134)” There are a few dash cracks and a few seam separations on the seat, but those things can always be fixed if a person wanted to do that.

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This is Toyota’s classic 2.2L 20R engine with just under 100 hp, and the seller added a Weber carb, but the original Aisan carb and air cleaner come with it. The seller says that the “engine (20R), transmission (L43), and rear end (GO82 — 4.11, 8″ open diff) are in excellent shape and all maintenance is up to date.”  But, they also mention that when “decelerating for long periods of time at high rpms while in gear (i.e., getting off the highway), you can get a little oil smoke from the exhaust (does not smoke at idle, when cruising, or when accelerating).” I think this one is a grand slam. Sure, a little less surface rust would be great, maybe a couple of fewer dings and seam separations on the seat would also be nice. But, for a great-looking, solid-running, small pickup with a fantastic look and stance, this one is hard to beat, in my opinion. I love the shorter box and the overall look. Would you fix the rust, dings, and rips, or just keep it maintained and drive it for small pickup duties?


  1. Moparman Elliott Member

    Did the cab always extend beneath the bed on these, or is this the result of the lowering? At any rate, it looks a bit odd to me! :-)

    Like 0
    • Scotty G Staff
    • Chris

      All brands of Japanese import trucks from the early/mid seventies had bed design like that. Google Ford Courier,Datsun lil hustler etc…

      Like 0
      • jaygryph

        They’re all like that. They look sorta odd with it matching the cab, actually, though some of the lowering guys have done it for a cleaner and different look.

        The beds lower half is just dress up sheet metal, I chopped all of that off on one of my trucks, it made getting at the stuff on the frame easier and gave it a lot more ground clearance but it sure looks weird.

        Like 0
  2. grant

    Find the right color cap for it and dress it up as the pizza truck from the Toy Story movies.

    Like 0
  3. jaygryph

    I’ve owned probably 10 of these at this point. They really are great little trucks and are fun to drive. This one is in very nice shape from what I can see. Shame they cut the dash for a replacement radio, but that’s just a plastic center section that while hard to find can be had and swapped out pretty easily.

    You will never find one of these with a nice dash pad. In all the trucks I’ve had I managed to find a single one that wasn’t cracked (and kept it!).

    The factory AC is rare, and even more rare if it still works.

    An easy upgrade on these is to drop a 22R in them, but the 20R with a Webber is a great engine combo. They’re totally gutless with an automatic, but the 4 or 5 speed lets it keep a lot of it’s power.

    The roof being sunburnt or possibly crappy from leaves molding on top of it when it sat isn’t that big a deal. They rarely rot out on the roof skin. The base of the A pillars go, because of terrible rustproofing inside the pillar, the rockers under the doors, the lower rear edge of the front fender behind the tire but ahead of the door traps crap and will rust out. The bed’s are all single wall (and were installed by a company in the US in California to avoid the ‘chicken tax’ on importing small passenger trucks) and tend to rust out along the floor seam, or be chock full of dents from things sliding around in there.

    The 76 is the smaller cab, it has the (near impossible to find) smaller B pillar vent’s, aluminum trim rings around the marker lights, chrome metal (instead of tan or black plastic) interior door handles, and I can’t tell if it has the chrome trim strip on the top of the doors at the base of the side glass, the early trucks had that, the later revised trucks did not.

    This is actually a bit of a crossover year I think because it uses the later 78 style grill, which I think looks much better, but it’s still the smaller cab. It also has the rear side marker mounted under the bed, rather than in the bed box like the early trucks. It eliminated the need for a metal cover inside the bed, so was three or four less parts per side per truck. They really did streamline them over their model run and made little tweaks and changes as they went along but they’re basically all the same pickup and most all of the parts still bolt on regardless of year in this body style.

    They are SMALL inside, that extra 6 inches or so that the later cabs had really makes a world of difference in the interior space.

    Someone did a hell of a polish job on this truck, I’d happily drive it as is. Maybe put that louvered hood and dual side mount carb setup I have for a 20R on it.

    The hood is dented (they all are, thin metal right where you push it closed) and the bumper looks slightly tweaked, but those are pretty much normal on these since those are pretty thin parts.

    If anyone buys this and needs parts I have a barn full of them in Oregon :D

    Like 0
    • Scotty G Staff

      That’s a treasure trove of great info, jaygryph!

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    • Celk

      I need parts for my 75, how can I contact you?

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    • Dave

      I thank you for posting that info, being that I recently purchased a 76 SR5 in very similar condition, if not a little nicer in some ways, earlier in the year. I had seen this “Awesome in Austin” Toyota on Ebay as well and thought about how cool it would look next to my green SR5….but just couldn’t swing it financially. Anyway, there are a few parts that I could use…how can I contact you?

      Like 0
      • Linda

        I have this same truck. Very low mileage. Heater and AC work great. All original.

        Like 0
    • Summer Waters

      HI Jaygryph, I have a 76 hilux and have been looking for a replacement driver door or at least the lower driver hinge as I backed out of my garage one day with door open just had one of those horrible days how can I contact you. I hope this is ok?!?!

      Like 1
    • Griffin Wilson

      Hey jaygryph, i need some parts..do you have a contact? Or email me at griffin.andrew.wilson@gmail.com

      Like 0
  4. angliagt

    The factory A/C was a kit that was added by the dealer.
    I bought the kit & installed it on my ’77.

    Like 0
  5. stillrunners

    yep nice truck….think they sold new for around $2500………

    Like 0
  6. Doug Towsley

    Somewhere we all went crazy. There was a time and a place that these made sense. What happened to these? It seems logical there is still a strong buyers market for trucks like this and same period Datsuns. Cheap, economical and great little workhorses.
    I debated about buying one new in the early 1980s and wished I would have. Granted I had fun with my hot rods but I would have been way better off with something like this and just kept the hot rod as a toy.
    Sure wish we could still get new trucks like these today.

    Like 0
    • jaygryph

      Crash safety is part of what happened. These trucks do not hold up well in modern wrecks at higher speeds. None of the small import vehicles, or even really the domestics, do.


      For example is a crash test of a 78 camper version of this. the standard truck probably did not fare any better. Hitting your face on the steering wheel and having it pushed through the windshield by such as the A pillar collapses and the cab turns into a banana is something you’d expect of Chinese cars from the 90’s, not a Japanese car, and particularly not a Toyota.

      I miss the super simple tiny trucks like this, but if given a choice between this pickup, and the 2010 F150 I also own, I’d drive the F150 every time simply from a practicality and comfort standpoint.

      For fun vintage motoring, hands down I’d pick the little Toyota’s. They just make me smile to drive (I own three). They’re very basic, rattly, but nimble little trucks and they make just enough power to be fun to drive without going so fast you scatter it across a cornfield.

      As a little around town truck and parts runner, they’re wonderful rides with a now classic early Japanese styling that cleans up well. These look pretty sharp with the markers and B pillar vents shaved, lowered a little, and in a patina original color.

      I say if you ever wanted one, buy one now. Search craigslist for ‘Toyota 197* ‘ but without the ‘ and the asterisk * will tell the search engine to search for all Toyotas that also have 197 in the title or text, which means it will bring back 1970 1971 1972 etc and this body was only made in the 70’s (72 to 78 I think).

      I’d go for a later 78 since it has all the refinements, but the earlier 72 trucks are emissions check exempt if you need to worry about that.

      Like 1
  7. Steve

    Cool truck! My family had a 71 or 72 Datsun back in the eighties. I was too you g to drive it (much) but remember it was to one vehicle we never had to work on!

    I recognize the photo shoot location in the toyota auction. It is just across from The old Seaholm Power Plant in Austin on Ladybird Lake. I drive by it every day on the way to work. It looks better in pictures than in person. There are usually a million cars and people around!

    Like 0
  8. Scotty G Staff

    This great looking truck sold for a mere $5,600!

    Like 0

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