Boosted Cab: 1986 Toyota SR5 Turbo

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While we often associate turbocharging with 80s domestics and imports, it often takes the form of some hot hatch or economy coupe trying to look sporting. Well, Toyota trucks also had a chance to play that game with the likes of this 1986 SR5 pickup here on eBay which featured a turbocharged 22R-TE powerplant that helped the brand compete for the attention and wallets of consumers considering small pickups from Ford and Chevy.

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These rare turbocharged Toyotas enjoyed healthy boosts in power and torque, rising to 135 b.h.p. and 173 lb. ft., respectively. The interior was typically vanilla Toyota, but like so many 80s turbo cars, they couldn’t resist the urge to imprint the word “Turbo” into the seat fabric. Unfortunately for examples like this one, these older ‘Yotas also suffered from chronically weak sheet metal. This banana yellow pickup has plenty of corrosion peaking through near the fenders and elsewhere on the body, but so far, it isn’t terminal.

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Despite the added horsepower and torque, the turbocharged engine did not last long in Toyota’s lineup. It wasn’t as simple to understand or maintain as a good ‘ol V6, and turbo lag was still a very real thing in the early days of factory-boosted models. The 22R-TE lasted just three years before being pulled from the lineup, hence why it’s so rare to find today. Combined with Toyota’s adoption of V6 engines, the days of turbo badging on the rear gate were numbered.

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The seller says this truck is a good base for a project, despite the visible rust in the body. The highly generic recommendation of “needing a tuneup” is offered, and it also has a gas leak – hopefully, this doesn’t refer to corroded hard fuel lines, but the odds are good that this is the problem if it hasn’t already been fixed. Still, this is a rarely seen example today and will still be underpinned by legendary Toyota reliability. Is this a project you’d be willing to take on?

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Comments

  1. Blueprint

    My Dad bought an ’87 SR-5 XTra Cab 4×4 new (atmo + stick). The bed rusted through before 1989! The bed fenders are built out of separate panels with a longitudinal weld, and that weld is the weak point where the rust starts. The cab remained fine, and so did the bed after warranty rust repairs.

  2. grant

    It’s bid up to 1500 with the reserve not met, honestly I can’t see much more for a rusty old Toyota truck. The turbo isn’t a plus for me. The 22R was a great motor, but turbos beat engines up if the oil isn’t changed religiously (turbos turn 2x engine speed, and share lubrication with the engine.) Hard to kill a ‘Yoda, but this one looks tired.

  3. Patrick

    Mechanically, these are very easy to restore with tons of part availability at both the OEM and aftermarket level. Cosmetically….which is where this example really suffers….that is whole different ball of wax. Very little is available in the aftermarket unfortunately so the new owner will be left to either fix what they have (not an easy task on this rusty truck) or spend a lot of time in the junkyard. These trucks literally do not exist at junkyards here in the North East, trust me. I resorted to buying a parts truck in Montana just to get some body and interior parts I needed to restore our 1985 SR5 Xtra Cab. Came in really handy though when we needed a bolt or a clip that was missing or broken! Also was a nice reference when putting ours back together. As much as I love these trucks this is one scary investment and will be a massive money pit. Too bad because it is super rare, loaded to the gills and appears to have been a mild custom in its younger days.

    • Jeff Staff

      Well, Patrick, you”re living the dream of any car-crazy male who watched “Back to the Future” more for the vehicles than the plot! She’s a beauty!

      • Patrick

        HA! Thanks Jeff! That is the actual truck used in both Back to the Future II and III. It was restored by my pal Greg Ward at his shop in Rutland, MA. We are extremely lucky and very proud to own it!

      • Murray

        There was a plot?!

    • Mike H. Mike H.

      Outstanding! Very nicely done, Patrick.

      • Patrick

        Thanks very much Mike!

    • Gnrdude

      How Come I hear Huey Lewis & the News Power of Love every-time I see This truck & start thinking about Giggawatts…

      • Patrick

        It’s only natural Gnrdude!

  4. sparkster

    The trucks were imported from Japan minus the beds which were manufactured from US based company and installed here in the states. In California I believe there was a company based in Long Beach that would manufacture the beds for Toyota and install.

    • Mike

      A once dealer said the same thing. The boxes were a US product. The thing that rusted first.

    • JMB#7

      I was told the same story back in 1986 when I bought my SR5 Xtra Cab 2wd. The dealer assured me that the bed rust issue was history since the beds we installed in California. I also had a rust proofing warranty. It took about 4 years for rust to appear over the back fenders. The dealer weaseled out of the warranty. The EFI 4 cylinder with 5 speed was fun to drive and always returned 24 to 28 mpg. I added Addco sway bars (stiff, but lousy kit), Dayton Daytona 215 70 14, and for awhile KYB mono tube high pressure shocks.

  5. crazydave

    What I’m seeing here is a good source of parts to build something unusual – like maybe a turbo Nash Met? A turbo MGA? Use your imagination!

  6. sparkster

    My 1988 Longbed Xtra cab before I sold it for $2100 with 300,000 miles

  7. sparkster

    Interior of my 1988 with 300,000 miles , what a great and fun truck. Anybody guess what wheels those were ? They’re not Supra wheels

    • Jeff Staff

      I wanna say Conquest / Starion wheels? Awesome sport truck, love it!

    • Mike H. Mike H.

      I was also going to say the Mitsubishi/Chrysler twins. Those wheels had a great dished look.

  8. sparkster

    Dang you guys are quick. Yep you guessed it Starion turbo wheels , I got them for free , traded stock steel wheels for these because the owner didn’t want to spent the extra money for the 16″ tires.

  9. AMC STEVE

    Mcfly slacker special

    • Patrick

      Two coats of wax Biff…..

  10. Chris

    I bought an 87 Turbo extra cab new when I was 15 (I mowed A LOT of yards). Check out the window sticker, still have it! The truck was pretty fast for 87.

    • Chris

      Here is the window sticker

      • Chris

        Sorry BF is having issues, let me try again.

      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

        Check the size and file format. Are you using a mac?

  11. James

    Ive just realised…. Ive turned into my dad!!! My thoughts when I saw this ” that would be good with a diesel in it!!!”

  12. chad

    They DID have diesels, James. Just a few yrs earlier (82, 3 4 sure).
    Or may B U knew that…
    I think vin tag showed the L in the 3rd digit.

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