Curbside Classic: 1982 Toyota Diesel Pickup

1982 Toyota pickup diesel

(first posted 4/7/2013)    We’ve just seen a diesel powered Corolla so how about a more conventional diesel powered Toyota? While still rare, this diesel-powered third-generation pickup is probably a less surprising recipient of a diesel engine than a small hatchback. There is one thing I did find puzzling about it besides its pristine looking condition though …

1982 Toyota pickup diesel ad

A while back I owned a 1982 SR5 so from the front it seems pretty easy to peg this one as a 1982 model since it uses the one year only combination of the early grill and the square sealed beam headlights. I even have the same grill still sitting in my garage as there seems to be no call for it. The lack of flares on the front fender means this is a two wheel drive model which jives with the fact that the diesel engine was not available with four wheel drive until 1983.

1982 Toyota pickup diesel rear

But coming around the back the bed looks to be an earlier type. This bed style was used on the second generation of the truck so it would be made in 1978 at the latest. Due to its single wall construction and lack of rust proofing intact beds of this era are extremely hard to come by but I do wonder why this truck has the early style bed. Perhaps the truck was involved in an accident very early in its life and was repaired with a more easily found at the time earlier box? Or perhaps the owner had enough of a preference to make the swap. A color matched topper is a nice touch though.

Toyota 2L diesel engine

The diesel pickup used a non-turbo 2.2L version of Toyota’s L family of engines. It produced 62hp @ 4200 rpm versus 97hp @ 4800 rpm for the 2.4L 22R gas engine. Even the torque rating of 93 lb-ft  was down against the 22R’s 129 lb-ft.  The SR5 variant might have been sporty but the diesel sure wasn’t.

1982 Toyota pickup diesel interior

Taking a peek into the interior I first noticed the sportier SR5 steering wheel (but not extra gauges) and the bench seat that looked like it had been re-done. Could someone have restored a two wheel drive, basic and early 1980s Toyota truck? The four wheel drive ones are in demand and can be found restored and/or modified to better than new condition but usually the two wheel drive versions are worked hard then unceremoniously dumped when they can’t continue. Either restored or nicely preserved original it was certainly a treat to see a two wheel drive truck in such nice shape with the diesel being an extra bonus.