Offroad Camper: 1979 Toyota Chinook 4×4

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Every time I see a vehicle like this 1979 Toyota Chinook 4×4 camper I think of a million ways that I could and probably should use something like this. This one can be found here on eBay in Port Angeles, Washington with an unmet opening bid of $9,900 and no reserve after that.

I’m not a huge fan of jacked-up trucks, in general, especially when they have a somewhat heavy camper on them. The seller says that this one handles well and they’ve owned it for two years and never planned on selling it but they’re moving overseas. As far as a step-in height, though, it may be perfect for me being 6′-5″ tall. But, it doesn’t look like there’s much headroom…

Wait a minute. Most of you knew that the top raised up and that would give some nice headroom for sure. I drive 40,000-50,000 miles a year all around the US and I stay in hotels a lot. Owning something like this rig could help me to cut expenses a bit. The seller has done some work in the camper portion but it doesn’t look too sleeping-friendly with the hard surfaces. I guess it’s better than sleeping on the ground in a sleeping bag. I would want a more factory-original camper, but that’s just me.

The cab looks great and this truck has a new clutch and clutch slave cylinder. Chinook made some really great camping vehicles and some really unusual ones, such as the Chevy Chalet/GMC Casa Grande which we have seen here on Barn Finds a few times. A 4×4 Chalet camper sure sounds like a fun year-round vehicle, although I can’t imagine that there’s much heat in the back, especially with the canvas top raised.

This is Toyota’s legendary 22R, a 2.4L inline-four and I would have guessed that this pickup would have the 20R. In either case, this one was rebuilt around 2,000 miles ago and it has a few modifications such as a Chevy alternator. It doesn’t look quite as clean as I would have expected a freshly-rebuilt engine in a non-snow-belt area to look, but maybe the ocean air is playing tricks on it. The seller has included a YouTube video of it running. Have any of you owned a 4×4 camper? Any thoughts on this Chinook?

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  1. HoA Rube GoldbergMember

    Hmm, nobody on the “Shnook” either? You’d think with the nostalgic camper craze going on, this would be a hit. Clean, a little pricey, but could access back country, be great. I guess people, like me, it’s a lot easier to push a button, view, and go back to bed, and not actually buy these things anymore.

    Like 4
  2. local_sheriff

    Seems from the waistline up it’s more or less a blueprint of the Chalet’s camper. Considering the limited production #s of the Chalet, did someone think it’d be MORE successful to put a Hilux under that bulky camper…?!
    Don’t get me wrong, ‘cuz both the Hilux and Blazer are great offroad vehicles I’m just not with on the heavy camper idea. Personally I’d prefer a tent…

    Like 0
    • boxdin

      This camper body was transplanted from an earlier 1977 toyota onto a later chassis. This is not from a blazer chalet. The toyota.chinook model was very popular and still is as many were made over the years.

      Like 0
      • local_sheriff

        I did figure out it couldn’t be off a Chalet as it differs from the waistline down. Your reply made me curious though; a quick search made me realize they were indeed popular and also made way earlier than the Chalet version. Thanks for enligthening me! However; would that 2.4 make it move?

        Like 0
  3. chrlsful

    the Sheriff is several decades younger than me…
    I like it,
    wonder if U can use it w/o pop-the-top? I’d try winters more often if so/
    The pop is good 4 wind resistance (when dwn) but that’s it (and NOT a real limiting factor).
    The 22r makes it tops,
    the 4WD – just OK, cuz too high (for low woods passage) & tippy. An excellent beach goer. This one I’d take in a S. Alaska fall & travel the coast, Hwy 101 w/the cold temps on dwn to Cabo San Lucas…turn around and sell back up in LA. A nice free trip? Worth the gamble, might never come back?

    Like 5
  4. rod444

    I really like the looks and off road capability. But Im getting a bit creaky in the joints. If it doesnt have a *fantastically* comfortable mattress and a good size bathroom, I couldn’t take it out on the road.

    But younger me would’ve drooled all over it.

    Like 2
  5. sluggo

    Listing ended at $11+k. Seems like a sensible camping rig. I like it. Cant understand why people dont understand you supply your own mattress pad and there is multiple options on setting up sleep surfaces. (Looks like 2 singles or add the board and 1 single and 1 double wide). Lots of storage and clever use of the milk crates.
    As to a bathroom? Sheesh! Where would you fit one? And I have worked on a few older RVs and thats just NASTY! (Tanks that leak, and rotted floors) but worse? Have you guys ever seen what happens in a accident with a tank full of sewage on a RV? Its not pretty. I have never understood driving an outhouse on wheels. Same with cooking INSIDE a RV. That fresh caught trout cooked inside (or anything for that matter) permeates everything and talk about FUNKY smells that never come out! Cooking and bathrooms are both best performed outside of a RV.

    Like 4
  6. Andrew

    Wish I would have seen this earlier…

    Like 0

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