Best One Left? 1985 Toyota 4Runner SR5

If you’d asked a young teenage Jonny in the mid-to-late 1990s to pick just one car to drive for the rest of his life, without hesitation he would’ve said: “First-generation Toyota 4Runner.” Somehow, nearly 25-years later he still hasn’t owned one, but his time will come and this one is a good candidate. This 1985 Toyota 4Runner was sent in by a Barn Finds reader who found it here on eBay in Naalehu, Hawaii. After 53 bids have been tendered the current high bid is $13,800, but the reserve has not been met.

The first-generation Toyota 4Runner was introduced for the 1984 model year. Following the lead of the Bronco and Blazer, it was largely based on its pickup-truck sibling and had a removable hardtop. The first-generation 4Runner received some drivetrain changes and very slight cosmetic updates throughout its run, but largely remained unchanged from 1984 to 1989.

Here, in the lower Midwest, we don’t often see 1980s Toyotas that are rust-free. This 4Runner lived most of its life in Utah before moving to Hawaii, so it doesn’t suffer from that same corrosive fate. The black paint shines, the chrome wheels are bright, and those side stripes won’t let you forget this 4Runner is from the 1980s. It looks like there is some paint fade on the top of the tailgate and the seller notes some chips and dings but says overall this 4Runner “looks beautiful.” I agree.

Question: Am I the only one who thinks these 4WD mudflaps are iconic?

The interior appears to be in very good condition. The seller says the SR5-print seats are rare and in near perfect condition. The carpet looks clean and other interior surfaces follow suit. There’s a carpeted cover on the dash, so we don’t get a peek at its condition. As I mentioned earlier, the top of the first-generation 4Runner is removable, so if you’re trying to justify the cost, this is a: 4×4, SUV, and convertible!

1985 was the first year the 4Runner was available with fuel-injection and this one is so equipped. Under the hood is the 2.4L 22R-E 4-cylinder engine. Power is sent to the rear wheels – or all four, when engaged – by a floor shifted 5-speed manual transmission. The odometer shows roughly 148k and the seller says the “vehicle runs great and is mainly used for weekend drives.”

Based on the number of bids and the current high bid, it’s clear there’s a strong following of the first-generation 4Runner. As mentioned, I’m among those fans, but this one is getting to rich for my blood. Do you think this is a good alternative to a Ford Bronco, Chevrolet Blazer, or Jeep Wrangler?

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Comments

  1. dave

    I had a similar ‘85. They are the last of the solid front axles, go anywhere, and are hard to kill.

    Like 4
  2. Todd Zuercher

    This is the penultimate 4Runner for many enthusiasts: solid axle, EFI, 5 speed and SR5 trim with those awesome bucket seats. Drool worthy.

    Like 3
  3. Gabe

    Pretty nice, however I wouldn’t say “Best one left”, as I’ve got a garnet red 1989 with 37,000 original miles!

    Like 1
  4. David B.

    I was an auto tech for Toyota for many years.The 22RE was by far my most favorite motor.The plastic timing chain guides would wear out,not too hard to change,and as long as you did the valve adjust correctly,they ran quieter,and would run forever.I even had a 21ft Dolphin RV with the 22RE and pulled a 16ft Klamath with 40hp Merc. Surprised a lot of people.They also had a turbo version which only came in the 4×4 pickup.The 4Runner was a good four wheeler,but not rock climber.Top heavy and a little tippy.

    Like 2
    • Owhata feeling

      They did put the turbo in the 4runner, only with an auto trans. I’ve seen a few.

  5. suprarossa

    This is absolutely stunning! Best example I have seen in a long time with zero of the typical wear spots (like the lettering on the rear mud flap from getting stuck under a spinning wheel). The tailgate paint problem isn’t sun fade; we call it ‘fun fade’ from sitting on the tailgate swinging your legs watching your favorite event (plus Toyota’s terrible single stage factory paint). My fresh-off-the-boat from Guam ’86 carried part of our SCORE checkpoint crew and towed our travel trailer to the 1985 Baja 1000. The paint on that part of the tailgate was already wearing off by the end of the long week from kids/adults sitting and swinging their legs. Not to mention the months of detailing it took to get the dust out hahaha

    Like 3
  6. bikefixr

    “weekend drives” at 148,000 miles on an island that takes an hour to cross? Sorry, 148k is a lot of miles. Bearings, belts, alternator, PS pumps, water pumps…you’ll be putting money into on a regular basis.

  7. Car Nut Tacoma

    Awesome looking 4Runner. I remember when this generation was on the market. This is my favourite generation 4Runner. It’s hard to believe there are still any in this nice original condition.

    Like 1

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