Everything’s Dry in Texas: 1970 Toyota Hilux

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

Due to rust and relative obscurity, finding a vintage Japanese pickup in the USA is one of the more difficult project vehicle searches you can embark on – particularly if you’re looking for a nice one. Starting your search in a dry state like Texas is a good first step, as examples like this 1970 Hilux here on eBay demonstrate. It has under 70,000 original miles and comes with a stack of receipts from the selling dealer. 

The auction is ending at the end of the day on Thursday, so lodge a bid soon if you’re on the hunt for a mint, vintage ‘Yota truck. This one is an impressive specimen, with all of its factory decals in place including in the cab’s rear window, which I can’t even recall seeing before on other examples. I’m not sure that those rear side markers lights are original, but the lamps on the far edges of the front fenders are, which is just the sort of detail that keeps these early Japanese pickups equal parts fun and weird. The rear bumper may not be correct, however.

The seller says the interior needs finishing, but I’m certainly not seeing how or why in this picture. It looks great, quite frankly, and the untorn bench seat and uncracked dash further demonstrate just how well-preserved this Hilux is. If nothing else, you’d expect those areas to be sun-damaged even if the outside is perfect, as that’s not uncommon to find on Texas and other desert-area vehicles. Not here – though I do wonder if it’s missing some carpet around the transmission tunnel. That’s a quick fix if that’s the only issue the seller is referencing.

The seller says there’s no rust and with photos like these, you believe it. This thing is dry from stem to stern. The best part about a collectible workhorse like this Toyota is that you won’t spend a ton of money to own it, and you likely won’t be afraid to use it for the occasional errand or home project. The body will be the biggest risk in terms of watch areas, as the included maintenance files seem to indicate trouble-free motoring is in store for the next owner. Keep it out of the wet stuff and this Texas Hilux should be a useful addition to any collection with the potential for a modest increase in value.

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Comments

  1. Bill

    I hope it doesn’t wind up in the Middle East with a machine gun bolted to the bed.

    10+
    • Patrol2620

      I didn’t like the comment man. We have many beautiful classic cars with no guns in or on the car.

      3+
  2. Leo

    Better lose that rear bumper fast and source a correct unit as thats a stump grabber waiting to happen…

    0
    • geomechs

      That bumper is almost identical to the one that was on my truck. And it came from the dealership that way….

      4+
      • Leon

        In the 70s and 80s I recall that rear bumpers were an option installed by dealer or after purchase Also sliding rear windows were a dealer install in the 80s When a New Orleans Toyota dealer closed in the 90s I had a chance to acquire such parts which I later sold

        0
  3. geomechs

    If this was painted seasick blue then I’d say that I was looking at a ghost from the past. I had a ’71 HiLux although, since I bought it in the fall of ’70, it was a ’70 model in reality. To this day I’ve never owned a vehicle I hated more. If the outside temp dropped down to Zero you couldn’t start it unless it was plugged in, and it was all the defroster could do to keep a six inch hole in the windshield–while your feet froze. It pinged like a diesel, even on Premium gas. I sold it to a local contractor who used it as a gopher truck. A week after I sold it to him it collapsed a piston which, because I was a nice guy I fixed. He loved it and it still sits (kind of rusty) in the backyard of his widow’s house. And I still think about asking if it might be for sale. Go figure.

    I think all the troubles I had with mine were because I sold a ’69 Chevelle to buy it. The GM gods were punishing me….

    4+
    • Bill

      Go get it back! That would make an even better story 🙂

      3+
      • geomechs

        Hi Bill. You know, every time I venture back to the old hometown I find an excuse to drive down the alley and look over the fence. It was still there last fall but I’d better check it out real soon. The old widow is in her 90s and probably will be headed for the nursing home. Well, she’s pretty feisty (a determined Minnesota German) so she might have to go somewhat against her will when the time comes. But so far she isn’t parting with anything that her husband owned. All his construction tools and equipment are all in the sheds and locked down, going onto 20 years now…

        1+
    • JCW Jr. Member

      I know it was the times ,but why oh why would you sell a chevelle to by a little truck like this. A real truck maybe but this. Just kidding. We have all gotten rid of things that years later we regret. Like my 70 Machine, 65 SS Impala, 65 amd 66 Mustang amd the list goes on and on.

      0
  4. Don

    I don’t think the top of the dash is bare metal should have something covering it plastic probably​ ,and has a big hole in dash where a radio our something went

    0
  5. BradL

    “Everything’s Dry in Texas”

    I guess you’ve never been to the Gulf Coast, where car rust with the best of them. I saw a 5 year old 77 Celica rust to nothing in 2 years in Surfside.

    1+
  6. Jeff

    Here’s a picture of me and my Hilux ca 1986…

    4+
  7. icee3

    Had one as clean as this but sold it for a bigger truck. It had the same bumper.

    0
  8. angliagt

    Those were Barden bumpers.Seemed like they were on every
    truck in the ’60’s.I had one on my ’72-1/2 RN22 Hilux.

    0
  9. Chris In Australia

    So the Hi Lux was spared the hideous JDM fender mirrors, only to get those hideous indicators…………..

    I’m guessing a redone seat. Japanese vinyl of that era was not durable in the sun. I saw plenty of Stouts and Landcruisers in New Guinea whose vinyl was falling apart in under a few years.

    0
  10. Jackson

    I had a 1970 HiLux as my first car (my Dad got it in 1973). I mostly restored it from sitting in the driveway for ~5 years. It was pretty basic. The engine was decent, it was a tough little truck. But gosh, its handling was poor even for trucks of the time period, with pretty massive understeer (completely rebuilt suspension). Brakes were extremely marginal overall no matter the compound, with any weight in the bed or towing, it was a plan on braking kind of truck. But the real icing was that master cylinders would fail utterly without warning. I had not just 1 fail, but 4 fail in a 3 year period (yes I was using the correct fluids). I got pretty good at reaching and pulling on the emergency brake, but still took 2 trips through fields to stop.

    I liked the styling (although I did dump the fender mounted signals and put them on the bumper) and liked the simplicity, but what a frightening truck to drive…

    0

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