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Search For Perfection: 1980 Toyota 4×4 Pickup

Some classics are more obvious candidates for restoration projects, and while the 1980 Toyota 4×4 Pickup is an extremely versatile vehicle, it would probably struggle to make many “Top 10” lists. That hasn’t deterred this Toyota’s owner in their quest for perfection, and the results appear worthy of the time and expense. After creating the Pickup of their dreams, they have elected to send it to a new home. Located in San Mateo, California, you will find the Toyota listed for sale here on eBay. Spirited bidding has pushed the price to $15,200, although this remains short of the reserve.

If you plan on tackling a restoration project, there’s nothing wrong with commencing the process with a vehicle that is already in respectable condition. That’s what the owner of this Pickup did, but their eye for detail is commendable. Once they found the Toyota parked in their workshop, they treated it to a media blast that revealed no rust or hidden Bondo. With the panels clean and laser straight, they applied a fresh coat of the Pickup’s original Code 4A8 Beige paint. They added reproduction stripes to provide a striking contrast, along with new wheels and tires. The underside shots reveal the extent of their work, with everything rust-free and freshly painted after receiving a similar level of preparation to the panels. With trim and glass as immaculate as the rest of the exterior, this Toyota makes a positive first impression.

Powering this Pickup is its original 2,189cc 20R four-cylinder engine producing 90hp and 122 ft/lbs of torque. Neither figure sounds impressive, but with the power feeding to Planet Earth via a four-speed manual transmission and a dual-range transfer case, the Pickup should cruise all day on the open road at 60mph while still being capable of climbing every mountain and fording every stream. As with the exterior, the Pickup’s drivetrain came in for close scrutiny. Everything was thoroughly inspected, with any suspect components rebuilt or replaced. The Toyota runs and drives perfectly, and with the Pickup’s legendary bulletproof nature, it should do so for many decades to come.

One aspect of an older 4×4 that can suffer is the interior. The nature of these classics means that carpet and trim can become damaged and stained as mud and other “icky” substances are inevitably tracked inside. It looks like this owner has replaced the seatcover and carpet, but the remaining upholstery and plastic is original. The dash pad has cracked in several places, which isn’t unusual. Locating a replacement could prove challenging, but a glue-on cap in the correct color retails for around $170. I have also seen an owner cut away the damaged plastic and foam and affect a repair utilizing that expanding foam you can buy in a can, followed by a layer of fiberglass. That might sound strange, but with the fiberglass sanded, followed by a coat of texture finish and the correct paint color, the pad looked as good as new. A couple of plastic pieces show some stains and wear, but if the buyer can’t locate replacements, they could paint these when repairing the dash pad. There are no aftermarket additions, with the factory AM radio remaining intact.

Several factors combine to make the classic scene fascinating. The sheer variety of vehicles that can wear the “classic” label is one, as are enthusiasts’ varying tastes and opinions. Some will question whether a 1980 Toyota 4×4 Pickup is eligible to wear the badge, but I believe it is. Any vehicle capable of surviving more than four decades and still attracting forty-two bids demands a level of respect. They don’t appeal to everyone, but the reality is that there is no vehicle in the classic world capable of achieving that feat. I won’t be surprised if the bidding passes $20,000 before the hammer falls, and $25,000 is a genuine possibility. Its condition would justify that figure, and it will be interesting to see if any of our readers are willing to pursue it further.


  1. Buster

    This has got to be one of the most important vehicles now available to humankind on the planet!

    Like 12
    • Steve Clinton

      Buster, are you the seller’s father? LOL

      Like 10
  2. 8banger 8banger Member


    Like 4
  3. Bamapoppy

    I had a 1986 1-ton and an 8-foot bed with a vinyl floorboard. Made cleaning it so easy! And it is the vehicle I miss the most in my life, all the way back to a 1955 Plymouth. Toyota = reliability.

    Like 8
  4. Car Nut Tacoma Washington

    Awesome looking truck! I remember when these trucks (pre-Tacoma) ruled the roads. I was too young at the time to drive a car, but I remember trucks like this.

    Like 7
  5. Michael Berkemeier

    Best small trucks ever made. Period. Well worth the price of admission, especially considering today’s prices.

    Like 4
  6. Kelly g

    My pop had a 1986 extra cab turbo 4×4. I totaled it.

    Like 4
  7. suprarossa

    The only downside to this truck is that the 1980 model was the only year Toyota raised the rear end ratio to 3.90 instead of the 4.11 found in the 79s and 81s and on. It makes the 20R really feel like a paltry 90hp and ‘cruising all day at 60mph’ is a struggle

    Like 0
  8. Steve Clinton

    Although I find the price hard to justify, there are very few of these little Japanese trucks still around, which makes one wonder, where did the thousands of these imported pick-ups all go?

    Like 1
    • Trevor


      Like 4
  9. Phipps

    Would like to thank the person that resprayed it in its factory color code. I hate when people do the obligatory red or black over dated yet period correct color schemes

    Like 7
  10. Toypartman

    I worked for Toyota starting in 81 and remember these trucks well. FYI, radios were installed by the dealer. You bought a radio kit from Toyota that had a radio, antenna and speaker. Same thing if you wanted A/C, Toyota had kits for those too. Vehicles would come off the trucks and go to the prep guys for the radio install but the techs would handle the A/C install.

    Like 6
  11. NW Iowa

    Back in the early 1980s I owned this exact same pickup with the exception that my wheels were factory stock w/caps, not the seller’s aftermarket white spokes. Where I live it’s not ‘hilly’ so I could cruise all day at 70 on I-29 or I-90. Mine had a lightweight aluminum topper. In 1984, I traded it in for a new Toyota Xtra-cab 4×2 which I didn’t like as much. Had it for just a short time as getting married that year = had to sell it, ugh. Ended up buying a thrashed to within an inch POS ’80 Ford F150 gas guzzler w/VERY loose steering, one of only two Ford products I’ve ever owned and will ever own. I don’t miss them, but I do miss the bulletproof 4 Toyota’s and 1 Datsun.

    Like 1
    • Brad460 Member

      I own several older Toyota pickups, one of them fully restored. Enjoy them very much. Recently picked up an 84 ford ranger and I have to say the ranger is much more structurally sound with much tougher body panels, and much, much higher interior material quality. I have a soft spot for all these old mini trucks. Glwts

      Like 1
  12. Rw

    I still have a very Rusty crusty 88 4 Runner, we use around the property,runs great,love YOTAs

    Like 2
  13. Jasper

    Nice truck. Too bad they didn’t splurge on a set of Centerlines or factory wheels with caps. Those white spoke wheels look like they’re off of a lawn service trailer.

    Like 1
  14. Rod Plapp

    I sold those brand new and they didn’t have fender flares.My dealership would add chrome roll bar.basket chrome wheels and over size tires and the folding big mirrors.

    Like 0

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