SR5 Survivor: 1988 Toyota 4Runner

This 1985 Toyota 4Runner combines several desirable options into one pristine package, including the SR5 package and preferred five-speed manual transmission. While these trucks are hard to find in condition like this, I feel like more of them are coming out of the woodwork in survivor condition, bolstering my theory that old-school, square-body Japanese SUVs are smart buys at the moment. Find the 4Runner here on eBay with bidding at $15K and the reserve unmet.

While the Land Cruiser has been a pricey buy for years, the 4Runner has quietly stood in its shadow, offering similar levels of capability at the expense of slightly less cabin space. The aftermarket is just as vast, should you want to increase its off-road skills, and the turnkey reliability is similar to its bigger sibling as well. The 4Runner, thankfully, has always been cheaper to buy, but that could be changing as enthusiasts and overlanders realize how difficult it is to find one that hasn’t rusted out.

It wasn’t uncommon to find them outfitted with the optional automatic transmission, so this example likely has caught some additional eyes with the manual ‘box. The carpets are mint, as are the floormats. All trim, really, appears to be in fine shape, with no damage noted to the dash pad, either. Even the leather shift boots look fresh and show no tears or fading, which speaks to the likelihood this 4Runner was driven into a garage every night. The seller notes the A/C still works and an anti-theft system is fitted.

Up north where I live, you won’t find a 4Runner like this unless it’s been moved up from the South or a western state – these panels would likely be rotted through with tons of surface rust (or worst) on the undersides. The seller notes the 4Runner is a two-owner, dealer-serviced vehicle that benefits from a recent timing belt service, and that it retains its clear California title. Despite this clean condition, there’s over 150,000 miles on the 4Runner, but it clearly has been loved every step of the way. What do you think a fair reserve price is?


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  1. Michael Leyshon Member

    Absolutely gorgeous specimen, not often seen in such condition. Too nice to be used for what it was meant for (?) It apparently will sell at good price and I would definitely be one of those enjoying a look and chatting with the owner at a car show.

    Like 2
    • chrlsful

      yeah, take that rug out…
      gone anyway @ 16,4$.

  2. Todd Zuercher

    Hagerty put out an article today, Jeff, agreeing with you on the value of these rigs.

    Like 3
  3. Kevin F

    I have one of these, a 87 4Runner and my Pops has a 88 4×4 Pickup. There is one for sale in Tucson for 1500. 22re

  4. Howard A Member

    Well, depends where you go. In my little town, these are very popular. The schmuck that lives above me has one ( in deplorable condition) His has that “tip-o-meter ” gauge cluster this doesn’t have. There’s probably half a dozen in nice shape around, and a guy that hoards FJ’s has a few. I had one like this, automatic, was a really nice truck. Was a V6 and impossible to work on, several issues came up, and I dumped it. Sorry, having owned one, I don’t care if it has the sticker in the window, I wouldn’t pay $15g’s for one, they weren’t that nice,,but that’s me.

    Like 4
    • Bakyrdhero

      I appreciate your take on this one Howard. I’ve owned several Toyota’s and I think highly of them. The prices are climbing high on these Forerunners and your comment serves to remind that these had their flaws just like any other vehicle.

  5. Michael Leyshon Member

    See your point Howard. As much as it is in VGC, 15K and bids counting, I can’t imagine the purpose… We all have our affections for certain vehicles though. Personally, I couldn’t justify the $$$$$ to take that thing for the good ol’ off road thrashing it was designed for and test its capabilities knowing that it only hurts it.

    Whereas, I could take out a ’70 Chevelle or ’88 Mustang, enjoy the show, show off a little, push it a bit, then bring her home to the friendly confines of the garage and forget about it !

    Like 1

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