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1-of-1,089 Limited Edition: 1979 Toyota Pickup 4×4

The four-wheel-drive Toyota pickup needs little in the way of an introduction at this point in terms of its desirability, but there’s apparently one step above a total survivor when it comes to collectible pickup trucks. This clean 4×4 is one of 1,089 pickups sent to dealers as a way of introducing the new four wheel drive models; think of it as a first edition, of sorts. The pickup featured a special plaque, paint scheme, and each Toyota dealer across the United States received one to sell. This example has had some paintwork but is otherwise quite original, and listed here on eBay with bids to $22,850 and the reserve unmet.

Toyota isn’t the first company I usually think of when it comes to pushing out limited editions designed to get customers to beat feet to the showroom. While I’m sure numerous examples do exist, throwing a badge on the dash and calling it special doesn’t seem like their usual strategy. However, when you get down to it, these really are the first 1,089 four wheel drive pickups Toyota ever sold in the U.S., and given how popular the trucks remain today, that’s a pretty big deal to a Toyota collector. Imagine if the first one ever sold in the country is still roaming around, but with its iconic badge missing – does the owner know?

To a Toyota collector, this is almost certainly a holy grail find of sorts, which explains why bidding is so active – and why the reserve hasn’t been met. Clean, early Toyota 4x4s have been pulling strong money for quite some time, so it’s no surprise to see a survivor that’s also one of the few truly collectible trucks ever made going for such a strong number. Of course, the condition is superb inside and out, with a cabin that shows very little in the way of wear and tear, including a crack-free dash, clean carpets, original three-spoke steering wheel, woodgrain-style dash applique, and factory radio still in place.

The seller notes some cosmetic refurbishment, but it seems to have been done carefully so as not to disturb the high levels of originality. The truck was partially painted years ago to better coordinate with a previous owner’s motorhome, so it hasn’t had original paint for some time. The current seller oversaw a respray in its original color scheme and using single stage acrylic paint, which shows this is an owner who was not opposed to sweating the details. Under hood paint was left alone, and while some areas of the undercarriage were painted, they didn’t alter areas not needing touch-up. Overall, a beautiful specimen of a limited edition Toyota in perhaps the most desirable specifications. Bidding should be strong!


  1. alphasud Member

    The early solid axle 4X4’s are highly sought after. This one is too nice to take off road or drive in the winter. Good looking truck will have other Toyota truck owners with rusty beds and cabs drooling over.

    Like 4
    • Rich

      Great little truck. Drove this truck when it was brand new. Cool little toy, however there was no power. Acceleration was about equal to an old VW bug. Fun, but no guts. Also too easy to get up on two wheels when cornering, ask me how I know…center of gravity was way too high, and suspension was not set up for spirited driving.

  2. Steve R

    Very nice truck. The bidding still has a ways to go, rightfully so.

    Steve R

    Like 4
  3. rex miller Member

    These Toyota 4×4’s are going through the roof!
    Anyone know of a 4Runner restoration specialist?

    Like 2
  4. Erik

    If only they still made small trucks like this….wait they do elsewhere in the world but cannot import due to “chicken tax” (unless they ship them here in parts which is not cost effective)…and the U.S. “market” will not support enough sales volume to make manufacturing small pickup in the U.S. profitable like the highly optioned “cash cow” full-sized pickups. One could only hope someday the arcane “chicken tax” would go away or that truck buyers will turn once again to small affordable more fuel efficient pickup trucks like they did back in the 1970’s and 1980s which would compel manufacturers to bring back small pickups to be available for sale new on the lots with the “big brother” full-sized models (which are quickly approaching MSRPs of $100k). In short a truck for “occasional use” on weekends or for a “sport lifestyle” and maybe even as a commuter vehicle without driving a lumbering full-sized truck that will not fit in a garage or fills it up completely, gets poor MPGs and requires expensive larger tires and pricier insurance, and has ever increasing MSRPs to purchase rending it difficult to buy as a “second” vehicle.

    But don’t hold your breath for the return of the small pickup because I have already been holding my breath for nearly 20 years since the Tacoma got “larger” (and pricier) with each refresh, the Izuzu truck (and cars) left the U.S. market, Jeep killed off the Comanche and only recently brought out a Jeep Gladiator with, gasp, MSRPs comparable to full-sized trucks, Dodge stopped “rebadging” the Mitsbushi Max and selling it as a Dodge before they then came out with the “mid-sized” Dakota (wich not that long ago was “reverse badged” as a Mitsubishi, Suzuki (before they left U.S. market) was rebadging the Nissan Frontier (which has not really changed much over the years), the Chevy Colorado and Ford Ranger disappeared only to return as larger “mid sized” trucks (have you ever noticed how high the top of the tailgate is on these trucks?) that make no sense when for just a little more $$$ and about same MPGs you can just go full sized and get the added benfits of a little more room and towing capability.

    The only hope is for somebody like Toyota to throw up its hands to “competing” for market share with Ford, Chevy, and Dodge and offer a small pickup “alone” in the U.S. market. Or maybe another manufacturer decides to enter the U.S. market, even though Mahindra tried to with its diesel trucks only to get “Tuckered” and not succeed in getting dealerships and approvals for importation.

    Like 6
    • Rich

      Erik good points made here.
      No offense intended to anyone, but I think the giant pick ups we have now will soon become dinosaurs, like big cars with big engines did in the 1970s when gas became expensive. I personally will never own a truck that needs a ladder to access the engine or bed.
      For years have wished Toyota would introduce a smaller truck, no need for power windows, door locks, etc. Keep it simple, small, and affordable. Repeat the old marketing ideas, simple value based transportation that does not require 5K down payment, and a 6 year loan to pay off. Simplicity and value is what built Toyota and most of the early imports. It was a great idea and concept. Would gladly pay 20K to 30K for a smaller version of the TACO with more value and less unneeded crap on it from the factory.

  5. Jack Arnest

    My Dad had one of these (an ’85 I think), I’ve had a couple of Tacomas. His was awesome and had that bulletproof 22R engine’4 speed/4WD. I just wish that Toyota would bite the bullet and come out with the Hilux diesel in the Taco’s- double the mileage and the same torque as the 4.0 V6. I would drive that kind of rig $ EVER!

    Like 1
  6. Doug from MD.

    You don’t see these in Maryland anymore. Rust took the truck long before the motor gave out. Love to see a truck like this made again. Way too many memories in trucks like this in my 20s rough ride and all.

    Like 2
  7. John Arnest

    Couple of late comments rapping the old Hiluxes for not enough power. They had plenty for their size and weight, but with undersquare engines (longer stroke than bore) they were not high-revving. Tons of low to mid-range torque but run out of top end. Those R motors (20R, 22R) probably some of the best Toyota ever made. I would still shill for a 3 liter 4-cyl diesel in a Gen 2 Tacoma as having all the best virtues of a Toyota (relatively) small truck, with 170 HP and 260 Ft/Lbs of torque and fuel economy in the 30’s per gallon.

  8. chrlsful

    sneakers too big (looks like a puppy w/da big feets) but at 26K$ THAT’s too big 4 me too.
    Lub da ol skool, trouble fittin in. A simlarly aged F series ford was kinda hard (felt like I was sittin at the kitchen table) so sought a king cab or crew even w/them. The square lines. The single walled bed, tie downs, all of it. But again, too smalla cab…

    Like 1
  9. Zach Walker

    I am the current owner of the 100th Limited Edition Hilux. It has been repainted and is now red and white. It is not in running condition and the bed and doors are pretty rough. Everything else is in good shape however. I have plans of fully restoring it back to factory specifications within the next 3-5 years and this post has helped me tremendously. As a Toyota collector I really appreciate this very informative article!

  10. Jayme

    We actually have a limited edition 1979 #266 of 1,089. It’s been painted, interior is a little rough. Could easily be fixed up and restored, we just don’t have time for it. Does anyone know of leads of where/how to come up with a $$ for this truck? I’m thinking of selling and don’t want to get hosed. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

    Like 2

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