Baby Blue Barn Find: 1973 Toyota Hilux

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

It’s not often you find Japanese trucks of this vintage in honest condition without any major rust present. Datsun, Toyotas, you name it – if it resided in a wet or snowy climate, you can forget about finding one with solid panels. Fortunately, this 1973 Toyota Hilux comes from a farm in King George, Virgina, where the owner apparently took care to keep it dry. You’ll find it here on eBay with the reserve unmet. 

These long-bed style pickups could haul a lot, provided you didn’t exceed load capacity. Although it may not look it, this is one of the prettiest old Toyotas I’ve laid eyes on simply because there aren’t any holes in the bodywork. The 18R four-cylinder has less than 50,000 original miles and is paired to a four-speed manual transmission. As an added bonus, factory manuals are included along with the proper stickers in the engine bay and door jambs.

The seller says the interior is where this truck’s greatest sins can be found, but the issues are minor. Some tears in the bench seat, floor covering and dash topper. Really, that’s to be expected for a truck that has seen any sort of use over the years, and considering this one was found on a farm, it’s not nearly as bad as I was expecting. Although we all fawn over West Coast cars, the other side of the country is far less prone to extreme sun damage.

The engine bay, like the rest of the car, wears a pleasing coating of light surface rust, which provides some added reassurance that it remains as un-messed with as the seller promises. If it were mine, I’d be sorely tempted to clean up the paint since it’s so straight, but that aged appearance is impossible to replicate – and why mess with a good thing? I’m guessing the reserve is somewhere around $5-$7K, which doesn’t seem unreasonable, but hopefully it’s not much higher. Have you ever used an old Toyota like this as a workhorse?

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  1. Ben T. Spanner

    I had a 1978 in Central Ohio. Bought it brand new. The bed was made in Long beach California per the sticker on its front panel. There was a so called chicken tax with 25% tax on complete trucks. Toyota shipped bed less trucks and the beds were made in California.

    My friend had a 76 or 77. At least his was brown and hid the rust. Both had problems with the rear light grounds rusting off. My bed had rust beginning in the horizontal seam of the bed, but in three years or so, the A pillars on both sides showed rust bubbles. I cleaned it up and sold it for more money than i expected.

  2. Jamie P

    Considering the age of this truck. I can’t justify paying over $500. If it was perfectly preserved I would probably pay around $3000

    • Andrew

      I believe those days are gone Jamie. You don’t get much for $3K anymore, but I hear you.

  3. geomechs

    This one is a couple of years newer than the one I had but it looks like the color department hadn’t changed as this one appears to be the same shade of blue. Mine didn’t have any rust on it—yet but that was 45 years ago. At least they got the signal/park lights moved off the tops of the front fenders and somewhere where they wouldn’t be ‘wiped’ off by some idiot. The 18RC motor was a drastic improvement over the 8RC. These trucks still rode very rough (mine rode like a lumber wagon). I hope the buyer of this one has a good time with it

  4. nessy

    The paint on these trucks was very thin to start with. Alot of the rust in the paint showing is stained rust. Believe it or not, if you took your time and gave this truck a light polishing, much of this paint will come back to life except for the roof. The hood, doors, fenders and bed will clean up very nice. My old Datsun 210 in the same powder blue looked just like this until I gave it a light buff. It cleaned up great.

  5. KevinW

    I guess the patina look is the current thing, but wouldn’t this look cool with new paint in the original colors?

  6. milotus

    It’s a ’74 – NOT a ’73.’74’s had the body colored
    grille,& that was the first year for the longbed model.

  7. Jason

    I remember when Toyota trucks looked like this. My stepdad had a 78 Toyota truck. I loved driving it. While it was small, compared to full-sized trucks of the day, and the seats were dreadful, its cab was quite comfortable. The only thing I’d change are the driver and passenger seats.

  8. Rustytech

    This is a nice little truck, and there’s just enough patina to stabilize it and then you would have a nice little driver. $3200 though is ALL THE MONEY!

  9. Doug Towsley

    These were great little econoboxes back in the day,. But highly sought after in many areas today. This would sell quickly and for a lot in many places including where I live. Upgrade to a 5 speed, better seats and enjoy it. I laughed at the 500 dollar comment. Gotta love people with that mindset, Flippers make $$$$ off people like that. The dream is always an estate sale with people who think that way. I assisted on one estate where the family was that way… “That old Honda? Thats junk, Mom hated that thing”. It was a 68 and had 125 miles on it. I detailed it, serviced it and sold it on ebay for them for $5500. Junk indeed!


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