Groovy Graphics: 1985 Toyota 4Runner SR5

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How does an American RV maker figure in the creation of a Japanese SUV? When it’s Winnebago, asked by a Wisconsin dealer to alter the Toyota Hilux pickup to make a hunting rig for its customers. Toyota’s mistake – if it can be called that – was yanking the Land Cruiser FJ40 off the market before designing a suitable substitute. The Winne/Hilux rig – called a Trekker – was manufactured from 1981 through 1983, until Toyota made its own alterations to the Hilux, launching the 4Runner in 1984. A strong competitor to the Bronco and the Blazer, the 4Runner offered 4WD, a removable truck bed top, and a robust four-cylinder engine. The SR5 package gave buyers an upgraded gauge package, better upholstery, and rear seats. This example is located in Winsted, Connecticut, and it was spotted for us by Mitchell G – thanks, Mitchell!

By 1985, Toyota had fuel-injected its 2.4-liter four-cylinder 22R-E engine raising the power output to 116 hp. A five-speed manual gearbox was standard but this one has the four-speed automatic. The odometer reads 232,000 miles, and it comes with an uninstalled high-steer kit. The underside is spiffy, and the truck is said to run well. The 4WD system runs through manual locking hubs.

Our seller notes that the interior is “decent” but we aren’t shown many details to see for ourselves. The sunroof and power windows were also part of the SR5 package. Toyota fans will argue there’s no better adventure rig than the 4Runner; it’s still in production with over 4 million made through five generations. Offroad racing is in its DNA, but it’s also a capable commuter.

This 4Runner’s new paint really makes these graphics pop. The glass, trim, and lenses are in average condition given the truck’s mileage. These first-gen 4Runners have retractable glass in the tailgate – a rare feature on any SUV. It’s listed here on facebook Marketplace for $7500. Like values for nearly every early SUV, vintage 4Runner prices have been climbing. Five-speed models sell for $20k to $25k, though automatics will be much cheaper. What do you think of the price of this 4Runner – reasonable, or on the high side?

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  1. Steve R

    Looks good in the pictures. This body style of pickup and 4Runner used to be everywhere. The asking price seems very reasonable, yet it’s been in the market for 2 weeks, even though it’s 2:15 minutes from the population centers of New York City and Providence, 2:30 from Boston.

    Steve R

    Like 1
  2. Howard A. HoAMember

    I had a 2 door gray 4runner, sans graphics, very similar to this. WHAAAA? Some may be thinking, Mr. RWB in an Asian 4×4? Well, it’s true, this was one of a handful of Asian vehicles I had, and I loved it. Keeping in mind, I never said they were inferior in any way, in fact quite the opposite to US offerings. It’s just what they did to our economy AT THE TIME, now it doesn’t matter. Mine was an ’86, I think, V6, some weird automatic, a sort of replacement to my FJ55 years prior. Clearly better than the FJ in every way. It was pretty tired by the time I got it, and costs of repairs scared me, and dumped it. These are actually quite popular out here. In fact, the guy that lives above me has an ’82, he drives sparingly, he bought it new, it was his only vehicle, has over 250K, and a replacement motor “a while back”, and still no rust. Now that I think about it, most of the 4Runners I see are 2 doors. You’d think the 4 door was more popular, I suppose nobody kept a 4 door. Great trucks, I can’t imagine why it isn’t sold. Must be the mileage.

    Like 1
    • Bobby

      4 doors didn’t come out until the mid 1990’s in the new body style.

      Like 2
      • Truckeemtnfords

        My 1990 4Runner (second gen)is the SR5 w/auto and 4 Doors and a roll down rear window.

        Like 1
      • Bobby

        Ya 1990 was first year of second gen. Option for 2 or 4 doors. I believe all 4Runners except maybe some new ones had roll down back windows. And only first gens had removable tops. And only 1985s had solid front axle and fuel injected 22re. Best year

        Like 1
  3. Big C

    These were strong competition to the Bronco and Blazer? Where? Maybe on the left coast. These were rare sightings when they were new, in the real world.

    Like 0
    • Bobby

      She’s probably referring to the Bronco II and S10 Blazer which would be in the same class as a 4runner. (Can’t compare a 4 banger to a V8). I’d take a 4Runner over the S10 Blazer and Bronco II any day, even though they had more power. I’d never consider this one however due to the automatic…

      Like 3
  4. 8banger 8bangerMember

    And if it’s an ’85 like I had, it has the solid front axle, which was the last year for it. Tough as nails.

    Like 3
  5. bob boyd

    tough as nails , yes!!! looks good , yes! 25 grand, no!!! there were hundreds of thousands of these made. the 22r motor was the best toyota engine made. the solid axle was great. 25grand great, no!!! 15 would be more realistic and in line. this is not a 70s land cruiser , which commands extremely big money.

    Like 1
  6. suprarossa

    Well, it’s not an SR5, that’s for sure. But it has the awesome NWOR steel roof rack. Carried my Suzuki QuadSport up there on my ’86 from Texas to Cali one year on leave from the Navy.
    And there is no such thing as an ’82 4Runner, so your neighbor has been wrong for over 40 years. There weren’t any USDM 1st gen 4Runners with 4 doors. Those were Hilux Surfs and sold overseas only.
    The S10 Blazers and Bronco IIs may have been RATED for more power, but they were way slower than a 22R-E 4Runner, mainly because of Toyota’s fantastic gearing especially in the transfer case. Back in my days with CA4WDC at Pismo, I would out-drag and out-climb every one of them, as well as every 305 Blazer and 302 Bronco when they moved me up a class. Miss my 4Runners

    Like 5
    • Howard A. HoAMember

      Yeah, thanks, I think, for that correction, I’m not sure what year his is and quite frankly don’t care. I never said anything about a 1st gen 4 door, it’s your misinterpreting my comments, then go on a roll with it, something I’m tiring of.

      Like 0
  7. jnard90 jnard90Member

    I have a 5th Gen 4Runner and I love it more than any vehicle I have owned in the last 20 years. It’s a great commuter but also a beast in the mud, sand and snow. Only wish the 5th Gen had a manual option. That said, my dream is to land an ‘85 one day. That is the Holy Grail for a Gen X 4Runner fan.

    Like 3
  8. Duke

    85 had Leaf springs in front. I am not seeing it!

    Like 0

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