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Yo! 1980 ToYOta Pick Up

To some of our readers, this might be just a solid old used pick up truck. But how many 1980 Toyota SR5 Longbeds do you see anymore, with relatively low mileage and in good running condition? This is a great example of a survivor that has been used and not abused by its two owners. While the color scheme of this nice old Toyota pick up truck for sale on craigslist in Tucson, Arizona hurts my eyes, I really like it anyway.

I actually do like the “YO” name revealed on the tailgate. It’s a bit over the top, but works great on this rig?

Overall, with only 111,000 miles, working air conditioning, and a nice looking topper, this is a very solid 37 year old truck that can still be used daily.

Toyota trucks have long had a strong reputation for reliability and lasting a long time. The 20R engine has a terrific reputation.

If it wasn’t for their tendency to rust away, which is not such a big deal in the desert southwest, most Toyota trucks seemingly would last forever. Toyota has called their small truck line “Hilux” in markets all over the world, but the name was retired in the United States in 1976. For some reason, the seller of this truck calls it a Hilux anyway.

Look at all this truck has going for it. It features the higher trim level SR5 version with an eight foot bed, has had only two owners, and looks like it has been relatively well maintained throughout its long life. The original blue interior is nowhere near perfect, but is serviceable. The interior sports some cheap looking after market seat covers and that bulky steering wheel cover is not very attractive either, but presumably they’ll get you by until you can find some used or OEM replacements.

Happily, this truck is equipped with a 4 speed manual transmission that is said to shift “smooth & tight.” Another positive is that this truck has the SR5 gauge package with tachometer, temp, oil pressure & voltage.

The seller says the “AM/FM tape deck is ancient but still sounds OK.” That is something most of us might want to replace if driving this truck frequently.

Additionally, the battery is new, the shocks were recently replaced, the carburetor has been rebuilt, and a tune up has just been done, with new oil, spark plugs, etc. There is even new gear oil in the transmission and differential.

The seller says that the tires have good tread, another plus for this solid old truck.

According to the seller, his truck “starts every time with a click of the key. No leaks. No smoke. No knocks. No issues. Runs cool & quiet.” The bed is utilitarian and nothing fancy – and you can see that this truck was originally painted blue, of course.

The seller will also provide the new owner with a recently passed emissions slip and a notarized Arizona title.

And I’ve saved what is perhaps the best for last – the asking price on this nice little Toyota is only $2,950. It ought to sell very quickly, indeed.


  1. Mike

    I like it when you see one that they have painted Tonka on them.

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  2. Eric Hare

    The 20r, and 22r are great little forklift engines. They also work well in automotive applications as long as you don’t take it over 55-60 mph. They can go faster, they just don’t like it.

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  3. Johnni B

    I think I would have left it blue.

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  4. DRV

    I had the diesel version New of that year. I Loved it and would still have it except I sold it as soon as the rust appeared which was at 3 years old. Dang it was a great runner.

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    • Jeff Staff

      DRV, one of my project vehicles – a gray-market Toyota van – has that 2.2L diesel motor in it. Great to hear it was good to you, all I ever read is how awesome the 20R and 22R are!

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      • DRV

        It never smoked and reved up fast like a gas motor. Has a greAt water seperated and filter – the most common fram filter made-and the mpg was around 40 if I remember. I drove a VW diesel truck the same day and it was the slowest vehicle sold in the states , ever.
        The 5 speed was the best shifting system ever…like butter…you got to high gear not remembering shifting at all.

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  5. Murray Member

    Already sold. Listing on Craigslist is gone😢

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    • David W Member

      It’s been relisted here: http://tucson.craigslist.org/cto/5971109673.html
      I am really surprised this has not sold locally in Tucson. I know there are alot of nicely preserved old trucks there. Maybe someone who knows the Tucson used car market can weigh in. Is this truck over priced? Up here in New England, I think this would sell in a heartbeat, though many of us would prefer a 4wd pick up for bad weather.

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  6. JACKinNWPA Jack NW PA Member

    Just selling because the Steelers lost.

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    • Jeffro

      Go Falcons!

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  7. sparkster

    I had a 1982 SR5 longbed with factory air , cruise , and tilt wheel. It was a great truck until a concrete truck blew his oil line and flooded the roadway with oil, on a curve. I rolled my truck after hitting the oil and sliding into a curb. Landed on the tires at least and drove it home. Totaled , I had just paid it off that week.

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  8. geomechs geomechs Member

    The old image sure changed since the early 70s. I had a ’71, which to this day, is the worst POS I ever had. Detonated so loud you almost needed earmuffs. You HAD to use premium gas. No start below zero unless it was plugged in. Two tiny peep holes to see through the windshield in the winter, and your feet froze. But by ’72 Toyota really pulled its socks up. By the time this one came out they had a handle on everything but the rust. But once was enough for me….

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  9. Howard A Member

    I wish I had a nickel for every Toyota pickup I saw with that “YO” , wait, maybe I do. That was very common. ( or “YOTA” or “O O”) I’m surprised by geomechs bad experience, got to be the only guy in the country. I had a ’74, standard bed, that my ex-bil bought brand new in early ’75, absolutely NO OPTIONS, ( took him 3 dealers to get one like that) changed the oil every 3,000 miles, and when I got it in the 80’s, it had 234,000 miles, and the only thing he did to it, was tires and brakes. It sorely needed a 5 speed ( which, I thought, all SR5’s had a 5 speed, the “5” in SR5, guess not) and as expected, rust did have the final say-so on that truck, but it ran well up to the bitter end.

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    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi Howard. The truck I had wasn’t the only one; the dealership was plagued with pickups, Coronas and Celicas that used that same 8RC motor, and the service guys all said that detonation was commonplace. Everyone who had a pickup of that vintage, whether or not is was even a Toyota complained about how little heat they could get in the cab; that too was addressed in later models. By the late winter of ’71 the motor was revised to the point where it actually ran a lot quieter. I think that engine was the 18RC and it carried over into ’72. My mom got a ’72 Corona Mk II with the 18RC motor and it was good—-until my sister rolled it–twice….

      I sold my truck to a local contractor in the late summer of ’72. I think it had around 32K miles on it by then. Two weeks later it collapsed #4 piston. I pulled it apart and fixed it—new piston, single set of rings, wrist pin, timing chain and gaskets. The parts were just over $400.00; I had to get everything from Toyota because the aftermarket for imports was non-existent back then. At the same time I overhauled a Ford 360. All parts over the Ford Fleet counter. I rebored it, replaced the camshaft and lifters, all exhaust valves; I remember the parts and machining came to $440.00, and I could actually see what I got!

      It’s interesting that I actually find myself missing that old ‘TOY.’ I was in the old home town a couple of weeks ago to attend my friend’s dad’s 100th birthday celebration (interesting that the birthday boy is the older brother of the contractor I sold my truck to). I purposely drove down the alley behind the contractor’s house and that Toyota is still there beside the tool shed; rustier than a bed-wetter’s mattress springs, and looking like it wants a friend to rescue it and make it new again….

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      • Howard A Member

        Hi geomechs, oh yeah, I was kind of kidding, although most people I knew with these, had good luck. A related Asian truck issue, a friend bought an ’82 ish Nissan pickup, from day one, the truck had a bad vibration around 65. He took it back, they rebalanced the wheels, no change. They put a different driveshaft in it, and then it shook at 55 instead of 65. The mechanic said, “owner is just going to have to live with it”. Well, my friend went to the owner of the dealer, and told him to “cram it with walnuts”. The dealer owner asked the mechanic what he did, and the mechanic told him, the dealer owner said, “put a different driveshaft in” The mechanic was reluctant, but did it anyway, guess what? No vibration. Oh, it’s well documented, older Asian cars had the worst heaters. The trick was to keep a window open, but then you lost what little heat did come out.

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  10. Woodie Man

    First stop………….paint shop..original Toyota blue.

    Related story. I had a ’67 21 window bus that I had put a Westphalia camper into….back in 1981. It came as a solid VW white bus.

    In retrospect, all original and beautiful just as it was….but young’uns do dumb stuff. I decided I wanted the below the belt line to be blue. Down to the local paint and body and looking at a chart saw two blues. As it would happen, I inadvertently picked the Toyota blue. What a dummy!

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  11. Cargirl

    YO, Go Stilleers. Yinz can do it!

    Oh. Nevermind.

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  12. ckkurtz Member

    Im a pa guy, and in my opinion you could keep that through the Steelers loss. It is of course the True Fan who loves their team even when they mess up (were you a steelers fan during the Kordel Stewart QB era? It was painful.). However, the problem is the blue dash, door panels, engine bay, and bed – Too new-england-ish. It’ll only be a good steelers truck once all that stuff is black.

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  13. Tacoma, Washington

    I miss the compact truck. My stepdad had a 1978 Toyota SR5 truck, with the 2.2 litre 20R 4 cyl. engine. Its seats weren’t very comfortable to sit on while driving, but it had plenty of room inside the cab for most adults.

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  14. Doug Towsley

    These were great little trucks, Back in the 1980s I almost bought one new at the dealership before going overseas in the Military. In retrospect it would have been the smart move instead of all the old cars I dumped money into. I am more of a Nissan/Datsun fan and the parts interchange was better. (Easier-cheaper to maintain) as the Toyotas of this vintage you had to know the MONTH as well as year as many parts did not interchange as well as Nissan. That being said,, I knew many friends with these and the gold standard for a perfect little vehicle.
    I agree it needs a 5 speed and would be the first thing i did to it If i bought it.
    I got a nice warm fuzzy looking at the typical 80s styling cues. Notice the double blade wipers. All the rage back in the day. I had some neon ones for a while but faded badly. In my area that truck would sell quickly and highly sought after.
    I always thought these should still be availible today. Nissan and Toyota should be still making these instead of the bazillion dollar trucks they make now. I have a Datsun pickup I just finished thats titled as a 72 but has a 79 king cab and extended bed on it. My costs per mile are so cheap, somebody owes ME money.

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    • Tacoma, Washington

      I agree. My dad’s truck had a 5 spd. manual gearbox. When my dad got too old to drive, I took over the driving. I used it for everything you could use a truck for. :)

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  15. Moe G

    These are in commen to see in Southern California. Plenty are still on the road.

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  16. Bill Owens Bill O Member

    My first truck was a 1979 Toyota SR5 (bucket seats, no air). Got it in 1987 for $1500 with 75,000 miles, before we had kids. Two sons later, it was crying time every time when I left home, and had to choose which son to take with me (they were 2 years apart), because it left mom home with the other one crying. Actually took both of them one day when my wife left home with the keys to my Oldsmobile. Strapped them both in the seat belt and took them to the baby sitter, praying I wouldn’t get stopped by the police. Then in 1995, with 100,000 miles, I decided it was time for a 1991 GMC Sonoma extended cab, and parted with the Toyota for $1300. The Toyota was a pretty trouble free truck.

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  17. BMWTundraguy

    I am a Toyota guy!! Tried and true! I had an older one with the 22R engine, four speed, and zero accessories!!! LOVED that truck. I got it with over 100K on it and proceeded to put another 200k+ of hard hard use on it. It never whimpered! Just change the oil every 3k and other minor maintenance! It had a little rust but nothing too bad. Sadly met its demise at 55MPH into a box truck that pulled out into the middle of the road. The driver just looked at me. Only thing he did was pull forward far enough to cut off the only safe place to drive through to avoid the accident!!!!!! I literally cried when I went to the impound lot!!! I walked away unscathed but the truck was destroyed. Knocked the box literally off the box truck! I once tried out Ford only to find that they were inferior in quality to Toyota. Ended up Lemon Law’ing the 2nd Ford! Went back to Toyota and have never never regretted it!!

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