One Owner! 1978 Toyota HiLux Pickup

As big and heavy-duty as many trucks have gotten these days, it’s nice to step back in time and re-visit the days when simple, low-cost pickups like this 1978 Toyota HiLux were just as much the norm as their larger counterparts.  This one’s been with the same owner since it was new, and if you’ve been in the market for a work pickup, farm truck, or just a cool relic to drive around town, this one might be worth a look.  It’s located in Burney, California, and can be spotted here on eBay with the bidding only up to $1,525 so far.

The seller describes his HiLux as an awesome vintage survivor, and for nearly the last three decades he says it has been used mostly as a ranch truck, with very few miles added to it during this time.  The orange finish looks like it’s had some touch-ups over the years, but if that’s still mostly the original paint it really doesn’t look that bad at all.  There’s no mention of rust on the body itself, but there are a couple of spots in the bed.  And while the bed is no stranger to hauling, to be an almost 45-year-old work truck its appearance isn’t bothering me much at all.  You could always drop an inexpensive line-a-bed in there at any time too.

Under the hood is Toyota’s rugged 20R 2.2 liter 4-cylinder engine, and while it didn’t quite make 100 horsepower, it’s achieved legendary status in the low-maintenance and reliability departments.  The truck’s mileage is listed at 126,000, not that many for its age, and the seller says things have been well maintained and the truck runs and drives beautifully.  The pickup has a 5-Speed manual transmission, and the clutch is said to have been replaced.  There are also new tires all the way around.

Things inside look just as no-frills as they do outside, with the dash appearance falling into the minimalist category.  The seat could stand to be reupholstered and the dash pad has some cracks, but for a work truck, the blanket over the seat cushion seems to be hiding things pretty well.  Maybe the next owner can find an old quilt or afghan to put over the seat back and call it a day!  We also get one photo from the underside, and from what we can see the south side looks pretty solid as well.  What are your thoughts on this 1978 Toyota HiLux?  It probably won’t, but if the bidding stays near the $1,500 mark I just may have to buy it!   What’s a fair price to pay for the pickup you’re seeing here?


  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    I had a ’72-1/2 shortbed (RN22),a ’77 SR5 Longbed that I
    bought new,& an identical ’77 SR5 Longbed.
    The long beds ride better than the short beds,but none have
    very much legroom,are noisy,& can’t tow much,plus the sheet metal
    is fairly thin.If you can live with that,they’re great,but after owning five
    ’94/’95 Dodge Dakotas,I have no desire to relive those memories.
    After looking at used Toyotas (’99 & older) I’ve decided that The
    Dakota is a much nicer truck for less money.
    I just bought this ’94 in Tennessee with 75,000 miles,4WD,
    318 V8 & Virtually NO rust,& am hoping it will last me the rest of my life.

    Like 10
    • John Guthrie

      Ýou ever change transmission in a older model dakota 4×4? I’d rather do the toyota!

      • angliagt angliagt Member

        Mine was just rebuilt,so no problems.

        I’m surprised at the rust on the bed floor.
        The rest looks to be in great shape.I wonder
        what that would cost to repair/replace?

        Like 1
      • angliagt angliagt Member

        Also,I bought the Dakota for $4250.Just try to find an
        old Toyota pickup with that mileage in the same condition
        for anywhere near that.

  2. Howard A Member

    Anybody else that had an old man like I did, fetch your rifle, ready, aim,,, this is the vehicle that set our world on end. In the 70s, we had denial up the ying-yang, pfft, my old man said, these tin buckets won’t replace MY squarebody( the highest class pickup of the time), wow,, was he off base, but, typical behavior for someone whose way of life was threatened.( Sound familiar?) Not many older folks bought these, but after the wild 60s, the 70s was all about change, and most of their kids bought Toyota trucks. I don’t think they thought they were superior, more like a giant middle finger to the old mans society, and we never went back. I had one, a ’74, apparently, the 5 speed came out in ’75, and my truck, being a 4 speed was adequate for 55 mph times( 55 what grandpa?) but were poor vehicles, gas mileage their only attribute, but for a changoing time, it was a bullseye hit. While we dominate the big dually market, the Asians still kick our azz in smaller pickups. Newbies, be warned, it’s NOT your new Tacoma,,,

    Like 7
    • angliagt angliagt Member

      In ’79,we drove our ’77 cross-country from CA to Maine & back.
      Luckily the speed limit was 55.I was surprised that when we went through
      the Midwest,you never saw imports on the road,except in big cities &
      college towns.
      I always say that it was a great truck……in 1977.

      Like 4
  3. Car Nut Tacoma Washington

    Beautiful looking truck. My late stepfather had a 1978 Toyota truck just like this. All this needs is bucket seats and SR5 side trim. Given its condition, I’d pay around the asking price. That’d leave you enough money to spend on whatever you wish to do with the truck. Assuming everything works like they should, I’d keep as much as original as possible, while also upgrading what needs.

    Like 1
  4. JMC61

    I bought one of these Toyota’s back in the early/mid 2000’s when gas prices went thru the roof. Bought it to drive back and forth to work. Mine was eat up with rust, won’t a straight body panel on the whole truck, looked like it survived the apocalypse. But it started and drove and provided me 27 mpg. Could have stood another gear as mine was a 4 speed. Think the only thing I ever had to do on it was replace the clutch slave. Kept tags on it and parked it behind the barn (kept liability insurance on it) since my 2 sons were “new drivers”. My insurance would code them to the oldest vehicle I had so the $700 I paid when I bought this was money well spent in more ways than one.

    Like 5
    • Car Nut from Tacoma Washington

      That’s typical of Toyota trucks of this vintage. Mechanically, they’ll last forever with maintenance. But the body tends to rust like there’s no tomorrow. That’s what happened with my stepfather’s Toyota truck.

      Like 4
      • nlpnt

        Only thing that’ll kill ’em is road salt.

        Like 2
    • Howard A Member

      I liked mine, as well, one of the few Asian 4 wheelers I had and the story that goes with it, is equally as interesting. In 1974, my ex-brother in law, who rebuilt log homes, and did a lot of driving, wanted one of them new “mini-pickups” we heard so much about. American pickup trucks notoriously got poor gas mileage, even empty, but was the price of needing a truck. For the 1st time, Americans could enjoy TRIPLE the mileage, and that was the cheese. He went to 3 different Toyota dealerships, he’d walk in, tell the salesperson, he wanted a basic pickup,,,,no options. Everybody said, he’d have to order it, taking up to 6 months. NOBODY had a bare bones pickup. Finally, a dealer in Chicago had one, he bought, no options. He drove that truck for 10 years, 238,000 miles before I got it, and all he did was change the oil every 3,000 miles, and usual stuff, tires, brakes, but was pretty rusty when I got it. It too, sorely needed a 5 speed. You can bet his next truck was a Toyota.

      Like 1
  5. Chris Londish Member

    I didn’t know Australian Telecom yellow was available as a factory colour in America, Telecom had thousands of these with a toolbox cover on the bed

    Like 1
  6. Solosolo UK Solosolo Member

    These were sold to just about every farmer in South Africa where there is very little rust, apart from the coastal cities on the Indian Ocean seaboard. The inland farmers could never destroy them and they were classed as ONE TONNER trucks. That’s 2240lb imperial lbs. When the farmer bought a new truck the old one was passed down to the black workforce who then used it as a TWO TON truck. A broken rear spring occasionally, brake linings sometimes but other than that nothing ever broke, and there are still plenty of them running around in SA always loaded to the hilt. There is a saying in SA that if the black dudes can’t kill it then nobody can and the Chrysler Valiant with the slant six motor was another unkillable automobile.

    Like 7
  7. FOG

    Have to admit that I would want this as my daily shop truck. Rusty bed and all. Still a keeper to the right buyer. She still has a lot more miles to go.

    Like 1
  8. Howebrad460 Member

    This old Toyota is still nice enough that it needs to be restored and kept. Not too many left anymore

    Like 1
    • Car Nut from Tacoma Washington

      I agree. I remember when Toyota Trucks looked like this. If I bought one in this nice condition, I’d put a bed liner in the bed and keep what I can as stock original as I can. If it came with an AM/FM radio for example, I’d keep that original as I can.

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