One Of 1,200 Imported: 1986 Toyota SR5 Turbo

The 1980s were not kind to the automotive hobby in many ways, but it at least broke the door open on manufacturers turbocharging practically everything in search of more power and decent MPGs. Toyota actually piloted a turbocharging initiative on its pickups of the era, including this incredibly rare 2WD, extended-cab SR5 package model here on eBay, which the seller claims is one of the best unrestored examples in existence. 

Frankly, I am as sick as you are of seller hyperbole, but this unusual Toyota looks pretty good. Still sporting the factory-applied Turbo graphics on the tailgate and supposedly on the bucket seats (photos not provided), there’s no question this truck is a child of the 80s. The seller bought the ‘Yota out of Florida and has invested a fair amount of cash to set it straight mechanically; the question now is whether anyone wants to make his investment a net positive based on the potential sale price.

Low mileage is impressive at just 37,736 since new. The interior presents very well (though the seller chose some unusual photos to post – we get it, the HVAC panel and Quartz digital clock are perfect) but from what we can see, the dash is uncracked and the carpets are clean. The seller has invested “thousands” of dollars, including a new turbocharger, brakes, steering box, belts and a replacement ECU. The Buy-It-Now is $12,500, which honestly, doesn’t seem terrible for a low-mileage Toyota truck that’s not likely to depreciate.

Typically high-wear areas like the bed present quite well. The turbocharged 22R-TE will provide some nice get-up-and-go in this 2WD configuration, thanks to its beefy torque numbers and improved horsepower over the naturally-aspirated mill. This is not a truck for working, or even for using casually around the farm; it would likely be welcome at any vintage Japanese show of your choosing and draw a small crowd at your local Cars & Coffee. As someone who digs obscure cars, I love it.

Fast Finds


  1. 68 custom

    nice 2wd love everything about it but wish it had the 5 speed! nicely equipped otherwise! I had a 86 4WD which was a great truck i still wish I kept.

  2. nessy

    I may be wrong but I recall when this truck first came out with the gas turbo engine, it was only offered with a 4 speed overdrive automatic. That may have been in either 84 or 85? I remember reading a road test on one and I remember the color page in all the magazines at the time showing the truck coming through the fog at night and the short writeup stated it was the most powerful small pickup available with 135 hp. It also shows the interior with the automatic. Maybe the 5 speed came out later in the year or the following year? Reminds me of the first Datsun 280ZX Turbos which also came with an automatic transmission only and they were and still are rockets with the automatic. Turbos were always faster with an automatic as boost can build up against the torque converter and there is no drop in boost upon shifting gears.

    • Chris

      I bought a new 1987 Turbo SR5 4×4. I still have the window sticker. Got it with a 5 speed.

      • nessy

        Yes, the automatic must have been only the first year or so of this truck. I’m going to look through my magazines and see if I can find that issue with the gas turbo automatic as I am curious now. I’m sure it came with a 5 speed but the more I think about it, the more I remember this truck only coming with an automatic at first.

      • Chris

        I’ll try to find my window sticker tonight and post it. It was an awesome truck for a 16 year old. Only rated 135hp with the turbo, but sure felt fast.

    • Steve

      In ’86 you could get a 5 spd. Mine below(pic) was an ’86 5 speed. I don’t have any interior shots sadly. The little thing would do 2nd gear scratches like crazy. lol.

  3. Car Guy

    My father purchsed one of these new with the automatic. It was “Arrest me Red”. It was a great little truck with a suprising amount of power for the day. at the time I purchased his previous Plymoutn Arrow (Mitsibushi) sport truck (also in “Arrest me Red”) with the 2600 engine with a five speed. it was a fun small truck as well.

    When he was ready for something new I asked him to sell the Toyota to me. He always took great care of his cars. I had it a week when a lady turned directly in front of me coming from the opposite direction in broad daylight on a sunny day. She claimed she did not see me……. Did I mention it was “Arrest me Red”???

  4. misterlou Member

    Pic of the LED clock but not one pic from under the hood.

  5. Leroy

    37,000 miles and it needed a new turbo and steering box?

  6. Steve

    I owned that exact color and model, but even better I ordered it in a 5 speed. I would love to have one back again. Doubt that will ever happen. Here I am looking goofy in my 80’s stash. Of course I lowered it…80’s mini truck/So.Cal! My original turbo had 137k on it when I sold it. Only oil changes in that time. Not one part replaced. The only trouble I ever had was when a drunk hit me in the left side bed. We fixed it and kept her going. I miss the truck, not the stash. Haha.

    • Beatlepat

      With that truck and that haircut you must have been a babe magnet! Crank up the Van Volume and let the good times roll!

  7. S.

    Had a girlfriend at the time, so I sadly was not beating them off with a stick. LOL. That mustache wtf was I thinking? And why are my hands in my pockets? Oh, if we could all go back in time and whisper to ourselves. Haha. I miss that truck.

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