Cohort Pic(k) of the Day: 1986 or 1987 Toyota 4Runner Turbo – Red Hot In Carmel

Cohort poster JC’s shots are all from Carmel, CA, a very exclusive and expensive little enclave. So it’s not surprising that the cars he shoots are almost invariably very expensive exotics and classics. Add this 4Runner to the list; this is the Holy Grail of gen1 4Runners, which have had a strong following almost forever and have recently become seriously collectible and expensive. But the very rare Turbo version is in a league of its own, and the perfectly restore one here is something we might expect T87 to find in the streets of Tokyo.

A turbo? Yes, because Toyota’s V6 wasn’t quite ready yet, and the regular 22R-E had all of 116hp to push this tall and none too-light truck. So Toyota did what Chrysler did: turbocharge the four until the V6 was ready, to satisfy American’s rapidly growing thirst for more powerful cars and trucks. It boosted hp to 135, but more importantly, fattened up the torque curve to an even greater extent. It came only with the four speed automatic on the 4Runner, but that was probably just as well, as these early turbo engines had lag, which was mostly overcome by an automatic, as there was no need to let up on the gas while shifting.

The V6 arrived in 1987, with 150hp, but also with a chronic appetite for head gaskets. The 22R-E four (and 22R-TE turbo) meanwhile were as bulletproof as it got, hence their desirability, even for the NA version.

We can only speculate what this 4Runner would fetch today. Non-turbos regularly sell for more than $20k; the rarity and condition of this one makes it hard to pin down, but 2-3 times that might be a good starting point.