Little Old Lady Owned: 1991 Toyota Pickup

Modern-era Toyota pickup trucks continue to draw strong prices at auction, despite the fact that they were nothing more than a solid used car value just a few years ago. Blame it on the fact that most new trucks are suffering from too much equipment and seriously ballooning prices that the trucks of old look better and better. Oh, and the fact that these Toyotas are indestructible. This 1991 model is listed here on eBay with just 69,805 miles and bidding at $8,400.

The Toyota is a desirable extended cab model with four-wheel drive, a five-speed manual, and the 3.0L V6. The body is obviously in mint condition, and being a California truck since new, it suffers from none of the frame rot issues that saw many northern trucks removed from the roads before their useful lives were over. This particular truck was owned by an elderly woman and it was recently inherited by her son, who obviously knew that survivor-grade Toyota pickups command a good price in today’s market.

The interiors were simple but functional affairs, and this one looks damn near new. The plastic covering on the floors is a nice touch, making you think you’re looking at a truck with delivery miles only on it. The matching blue plastics, shift boots, and steering wheel are all hallmarks of the early 90s, but given how clean it all remains, it doesn’t bother me in the least. I’m still trying to figure out how an older gal strolls into a Toyota dealership and buys a stick-shift 4WD pickup, but here we are.

The engine bay literally looks like new. That’s either amazing preservation, detailing, or most likely, both. The seller notes the air conditioning was just serviced and works fine, and that the Toyota just wrapped up a 400-mile road trip with no issues. To me, the tricky thing with a Toyota this nice is always what do you do with it? It’s too nice to use for actual work, and driving it as a daily seems fine until you think about an inattentive driver taking it out. Would you treat it like a museum specimen or use it like a truck? Thanks to Barn Finds reader Chris for the find.


  1. Candy

    This is one really nice Toyota. I have a 1992 4×4 and has 3 times the miles. I would love to own this if I had the extra cash!

    Like 11
  2. Gunner

    Wow…… just wow. As a Toyota owner, this one is hard to beat. You need to be cautious however of the 3.0. They were prone to head gasket issues if not properly maintained. If taken care of properly though, they would last for many miles. Prices for these older 4WD Toyotas are on the rise for good vehicles that have been taken care of. I sold my 1987 SR5 4Runner last fall and received what I considered a very fair price for it’s very good orginal condition. I will be watching this one. Great color combination. Why would you want to spend 10s of thousands of dollars on a new truck in the same category (with the payment most likely) when you can own this beautiful truck for much less? Museum piece? Absolutely not. Just as the current owners have done, take care of it and drive it. That is what it was built for.

    Like 14
    • Cman

      How exactly do you maintain a head gasket?

      Like 7
      • Tony Primo

        Regularly changing the antifreeze would be a good start.

        Like 9
      • JMB#7

        Don’t keep driving it after all the coolant leaks out.

        Like 2
  3. Candy

    Majority of them are small and weigh under 100 pounds I’m assuming lol

    Like 3
  4. Buffalo Bob

    Toyota actually had a buy-back program for the frame rot issues on the Tacomas. One of my guys at work got a good buck for his ’95, enough to replace it with a newer one that was clean underneath. Great little trucks.

    Like 1
    • George A Gillespie

      This is not a Tacoma! That series of trucks replaced the pickup in 95. That is the truck with frame rot issues. I had a 94 like this one with 180,000 on it and sold it in 2012 for $5000 cash in 2 days on Craigslist. It was a great truck! Not like the monster pickup pawned off on us today.

      Like 3
  5. Eric

    “I’m still trying to figure out how an older gal strolls into a Toyota dealership and buys a stick-shift 4WD pickup, but here we are.”

    Keep in mind that it was bought 30 years ago, as hard as that is to believe, so she was somewhere in the middle aged range.

    Like 12
    • moosie moosie


      Like 3
    • dr fine

      Don’t stereotype old ladys. I saw a profile some years ago about a woman in her nineties who still drove the Bentley she bought when she was barely twenty. She didn’t want the Rolls Royce because it only came with an electric starter. She didn’t want to be left stranded with a bad battery or starter, and was happily cranking seventy years later!

      Like 6
  6. angliagt angliagt Member

    My Wife gave me permission to buy another 4wd pickup
    to replace my ’95 Dodge Dakota 2wd Club Cab.
    I’ve narrowed it down to three – Tacoma,Tundra,or Dakota 4wd.
    The Dakotas are still affordable,but hard to find in great shape.The
    Tacomas are out there,but the prices are out of my budget for ones
    like this.The Tundra is a little bigger than I want,& the prices are up
    there,plus the frame/issues concern me.They’re also fairly high-tech,
    so any repairs could be costly.
    Will trucks like this ever be affordable again?

    Like 8
    • Patrick Michael Shanahan

      I bought and kept my ’93 Toyota short bed base truck 4 cyl 5 speed. for 25 years and it looked practically brand new. Ist guy bought it..Thinking about replacing it and the only thing close (few frills) Nissan Frontier around 19 or 20k out the door brand new. Everything else is loaded with crap I don’t need.

      Like 1
    • JMB#7

      IMO, I would add the Jeep Comanche to that list. I bought a Toyota SR5 back in 1986 and as nice as it was I still regret not buying the Comanche. And the only reason I did not was the salesman at the Jeep dealer was a total jerk. Come to think of it, I had to find a second Toyota dealer as well.

      Like 2
      • MGSteve

        ahhh . . . . car sales “associates”. My wife had inherited a very small inheritance from her Mom. It was a probably 1/5th the cost of a new car, but she wanted to pick out her own new car, with “her” money. Prior to this, we had never bought a new car. We had it down to three similar makes. Off we went. First dealership, the “associate” walks right up to me and starts in with the pitch. I told him in no uncertain terms, he needed to talk to my wife, it was her money, her car, her decision. He continued to ignore her, and insisted on talking me up, as we walked away. Second place was worse, as the idchut literally turned his back on my wife. Amazingly, the third place had an associate with a working set of ears, who essentially turned his back on me (which was fine!) and treated my wife as a human being. A sale was made. How hard is it?????

        Second rant: Appears to be a bunch of responders who didn’t read Eric’s post, and/or math skills are a little fuzzy. I’ll try to explain it a wee bit differently than Eric. I gather not all the folks who contribute messages to this group are “spring chickens”. So, subtract 29 years (2020 minus year of truck, 1991) from your age and I would surmises your tastes, desires and needs have changed a bit also in the ensuing 29 years. To wit, she was not an “old lady” when she bought this.

        Like 3
  7. Eric

    If anyone cares, I contacted the seller. He’s a flipper who bought it from the son and he has no receipts, etc from thru the years. Big turn offs for me, but it is what it is and still a great truck. Why can’t people just take the time to research, prepare and sell a car on their own so they don’t get ripped off?

    Like 10
  8. JohnfromSC

    These Toyotas remain popular because there is nothing this size available in the new truck market. And as others have already pointed out, they have exceptionally good reliability. None of the big car makers including Toyota want to sell a truck that doesn’t generate a huge profit per vehicle. New small trucks can’t achieve that. It doesn’t matter how many buyers want a small truck.

    Like 5
  9. Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

    …probably because the majority of them are horrible drivers!

    Like 4
    • mistrelou Member

      WOW Bluetec320. Just a reminder: “RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.”

  10. ccrvtt

    Looks like Marty McFly’s grandmother owned this one. All it needs is a light bar and 4 big Cibie spots.

    Like 4
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Gotta agree ccrvtt, Being in Cali, I wonder, little old lady from Pasadena?

      Like 2
    • Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

      ccrvtt, Toyota actually recreated a tribute of Marty’s truck out of a 2016 Tacoma for “Back To The Future Day”. It was built to celebrate October 21, 2015, the day Marty travels to the future.

      Like 5
  11. 8banger dave Member

    Gunner is correct about the 3.0. Not only the head gaskets, but oil leaks a-plenty! Like valve cover gaskets , and distributor o-ring…not to say every vehicle wouldn’t do this, but these are special.

    Like 2
  12. Tom Harris

    Had a duplicate of this one bought new. Loved it. Had the head gasket problem at about 150,000 miles. Dealer gave a me rental while they put a new short block in it at no cost to me. Had them do a head job, clean injectors and replace clutch while working on it. Ran like a new one and I put another 100,000 miles on it until an 18 wheeler run over me at a stoplight. Really hated to lose it like that. As a little testament to how tough this little trucks were the big truck had to be towed away while mine was driven home. Something about my trailer hitch going thru his radiator. LOL.

    Like 5
  13. Fred Alexander

    As a previous Service Manager at our local Toyota Dealership, there are a couple of comments I’d like to include after reading those already posted – –
    1. Yes, change coolant regularly, and if it starts to over heat some time STOP. or you will definitely have a head gasket problem.

    2. Little old lady and a stick shift – – – well, when gas prices rose (spiked) back in the late 70’s the new car salesmen sold cars to people who had never driven a standard transmission equiped vehicle – – even at 65 years old which to me was amazing because of our regulations back to and up to the end of the 60’s if you took your driven drivers test in an automatic trans. vehicle you had a restriction on your license, which you could re-test in a standard if you wanted the restriction lifted.
    Anyway, I became the designated DRIVE WITH FRED to learn how to drive your new standard transmission equipped Toyota.
    There were some interesting experiences in the training sessions like yes my foot has the clutch depressed but are you forgetting to step on the other (brake) pedal as we coast through a stop sign!
    Also, most of the salesmen hadn’t driven a standard for a lonnnng time – – that being interesting in itself.
    ** I an a Chevy Pontiac CMC type but when it came time to buy a new car back in 2010 I bought a Toyota RAV4 Sport – – – the Spot that year had shred the exterior spare tire carrier which I liked – – and of course now they are all presented that way.
    Bought the Toyota over Chevs offerings because of my experience with Toyota, repair frequency / maintenance costs, reliability and exceptional retention of their value for resale,although I have no intention of selling it.

    Like 2
    • Clay Harvey

      I have never heard about any restrictions about automatic or manual transmissions in Texas, but I am 63 yo and have known many older women who never had an automatic tranny in any of their cars or trucks. The last one I knew bought a new Dodge Dakota in 1992 and drove it for over 20 years. My brother has 12 kids and he required all of them to learn to drive in a manual before he would let them get their license.

      Like 10
  14. MGSteve

    To me, even this is a “big” truck. My first Toyota truck was an ’83, purchased at 160K miles. Ugly, but ran like a Swiss watch. Kept it 23 years, and solid it for more than I paid for, when mileage was 331Kish. At that point, it was a little uglier, but still ran perfectly. I did take care of it myself, regular oil changes and tune ups. One head gasket during that time. Only reason I sold that was I lucked onto a “newer” ’04 Tacoma, which is described as the LAST of the small Toyota trucks. Standard cab . . . I still fail to see why anyone (except real contractors and such) need a bigger/fancier truck than this. Shoot, compared to my ’83, it has AC, a WORKING radio, PS, PB and the dome light works!

    Like 5
  15. Bob McK Member

    This is a really nice find. If I had the room I would bid on it. Granny must have been quite a woman with a standard transmission and 4 wheel drive.

    Like 2
  16. Doug

    Sadly, it is almost impossible to find one of the small Toyota pickups, either 2 or 4wd, with the 22R engine & manual trans in any kind of decent condition anymore. That was probably the most bulletproof small truck ever sold in the US.
    I recently settled for a ‘ 97 2wd Ranger 2.3 / 5speed extended cab that needed some collision repair ( Headlights, grille, front bumper, etc. ) Parts obtained from RockAuto and Pick’n Pull – brand new headlights with bulbs were less than $2 more from RockAuto than old ones from Pick’n Pull ! )
    The truck had obviously been towed behind a motorhome for part of its 154K miles. The broken timing belt allowed me to get the truck for under $1K . The 2.3 Lima engine is a non- interference engine, so now since I replaced the timing belt, water pump, and hoses, I have a decent running small pickup, with less than $1500 & some time invested.
    That being said, I would definitely prefer having a 4 cylinder Toyota truck. My buddy’s 4wd 1985 4 cylinder Toyota has about the same mileage on it, none from being towed, runs smoother, and seems to be of generally better quality.

    Like 1
  17. Scott Member

    Does it look like the front bumper has been pushed in a bit in the middle?

  18. JMB#7

    Jeff, finish your sentence, and you would explain it to yourself. ” I’m still trying to figure out how an older gal strolls into a Toyota dealership and buys a stick-shift 4WD pickup, but here we are”… in California.
    My sister is a California Gal, and I can certainly see her doing that although she does prefer Jeeps.

    Like 1

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