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One Owner Cali Truck: 1981 Toyota Pickup 4WD

Old Toyota pickups continue to be a thing of desire for collectors of a certain stripe, and this clean 1981 four-wheel-drive model is going to appeal to lots of Toyota fans looking for a clean survivor. This example also looks pretty clean with deep blue paint and a matching bed cap. The seller claims it’s the perfect specimen for anyone who wants to build out a collection of some kind, but it does have some minor flaws that would keep me from calling it a Concours candidate right out of the gate. If nothing else, it’s an awesome platform to improve without the risk of losing your shirt. Find the Toyota here on eBay where bidding is just over $10,000 with the reserve unmet.

Now, the seller may be looking at the big picture when he claims this is a collection-grade example because if you look past the tired rear chrome bumper, the rest of the truck does appear to be quite nice. The paintwork is bright and consistent down the sides, and it does make you wonder if it was previously repainted to still look this good (plus, it seems likely given the bumper is as tired as it is; I don’t think there would be such a big discrepancy in condition if the paint was still original.) It’s a great color no matter who painted it. Period-correct aftermarket wheels look decent; I wouldn’t mind seeing some traditional steel wheels on here.

The interior is a treat, looking both highly original and in excellent condition. The Toyota is a one-owner vehicle, so you can talk to the man himself when you pick it up about how he kept it in such good shape. It’s hard to believe that’s original upholstery, but there’s no mention of the cockpit being redone, so one has to assume it’s the factory fabric. The deep blue carpets are quite eye-catching and match nicely with the other details, and I love the factory three-spoke sport steering wheel. I had this same wheel in my Toyota HiAce and it helped greatly with building the illusion that you could move slightly faster with an appropriate steering wheel. I wonder if there are any cracks in the dash.

This bed was clearly not used for hauling heavy loads given how clean the paint on the floor is. Plus, look at the paint on the wall that backs up the cab – that looks like brand new given the depth and clarity of the finish. The seller doesn’t say much about how it stayed so nice other than that it’s a genuine one-owner example that’s lived in California all of its life. Throw in the reliability of the 22R engine / and the 5-speed manual combo and you have a truck that will likely outlast its next two owners. The long bed may not be the preferred setup, but given how good any vintage 4WD Toyota pickup seemingly looks these days, I doubt the bed will keep prospective buyers from bidding.


  1. RexFox Member

    A long bed on an older Toyota substantially improves the ride while making the truck more useful, so I find it rather appealing. Of course the dash is cracked, otherwise, why would you show the cover in the photos? Judging by the paint flaking off on the left front fender, I’d guess this is a respray covering some bondo. Whoever buys this truck should be prepared for some additional expenses, beyond the air conditioning repairs. It’s still a neat truck though.

    Like 2
  2. chrlsful

    yes, if @ my place it would look alot rougher, short time for cosmetics (but done occasionally). Love the rigs from the ol single layer beds. Need short bed 4WD here tho. If a mini truck it’s not useful as road vehicle even w/longer bed. Need real truck (hauling) for that.
    Like my 1st gen bronk these comand hi prices round here, just for it having the 22R eventho there are better Toy motors (tacoma).

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