This town is crawling with old Toyota pickups; there’s gobs of the gen2 variety ( I did a CC on them over at the old place, which I’ll have to bring over). But the gen1, with its distinctive stand-up front turn signals, has eluded me all these years. Until the other day, that is (it pays to check one’s rear view mirror regularly).
Needless to say, the Toyota Hilux pickup is a global icon and institution. But let’s not forget, that Toyota was playing ketchup when this pickup was introduced in the US in 1969.
Datsun started selling its little pickups in the US ten years earlier (1959), and pretty much established themselves here on the strength of its mini-trucks. And Datsuns were by far the number one selling compact pickups for quite a while, well into the seventies, as far as I know.
OK; Toyota did have the larger Stout, and was selling those in the US, but in pretty modest numbers. It must have become clear to Toyota that the market was for the smaller trucks, like Datsun was peddling successfully. Although in retrospect, the Stout rather made more sense for the US, and was a foreshadowing of the larger compact trucks to come.
It’s been a week and a half since this encounter, and somehow, he got ahead of me without me getting off a shot of him passing me (on the right, undoubtedly). Now that I think of it, I think I was turning left, and had to do some crazy maneuver to catch up with him, because I was determined to get some useful shots.
Anyway, the Stout was replaced by this Hilux in 1969, and was sold through the 1972 MY, when it was replaced by that more common gen2 version. The biggest first automotive impression I had in 1972 upon entering the smoggy bowels of the LA Basin, on I-15, coming down the Cajon Pass into San Bernardino, was the large number of little Japanese trucks on the freeway. There were a couple around in Iowa, but they were pretty uncommon. In the LA area, these were everywhere, the cool thing for young kids to drive, if not a slightly customized VW Beetle.
Needless to say, these were Toyota tough, except against that damn salt. The R-series motors would run 200-300k miles without serious issues, something that was not so commonplace back then. That’s how Toyota earned its rep back then.
Looking at these pictures in sequence as I shot them make little sense today, since we’re now headed back in the same direction we were coming from. No; I remember now, he was coming out from one of the many wood product mills at quitting time, and this was his way of getting over the train tracks. Whatever. But it does confirm that these trucks were badged HILUX on their flanks.
I distinctly remember Jack Baruth getting all huffy and self-righteous in one of his posts at TTAC, about how folks called Toyota trucks Hiluxes erroneously, and how they were never actually badged “Hilux” in the US. He was in his diapers when this was being sold, so what would he know on the subject?
There it is. It’s my signature to end my CCs with a profile shot, and it took some doing. This guy was looking at me and probably wondering WTF is that dude in the XBox doing following me and passing me and taking pictures all the while? Speaking of, how the hell are we suddenly switched in our relative positions? I was so engrossed in this little chase, I really can’t make sense of it anymore.
Actually, folks who drive older vehicles get a kick out of my stalking and paparazzi maneuvers; we all want a little attention, right? And if you’re driving a forty year old Toyota Hilux, you’re not likely to get it that often.
There are not a lot of postwar cars that, despite spending my first 32 years in Pennsylvania, I can say that I have -never- seen in the flesh. But this is one of them; nice find!
Those are very rare now early Hiluxs are mid to late 70s now the really old models got worked into the ground or rusted away. There were still several Stouts still in use in the Huon valley of Tasmania 10 years ago when I lived there another haven for old cars.
I loved these Hi-Luxes when they came out. I can verify Paul’s statement that the little Datsun P/U’s were all over the place in Southern California back in the late 60’s- early 70’s. These Toyotas were a bit late to the party, but certainly looked more modern than the Datsuns.
And Paul, if I see you trying to shoot my Safari on the street, I’ll pull over……
These were always very, very rare around here while the Datsuns, Luvs and Couriers were everywhere.
I think the early versions of the second generation also carried the HiLux badge at least initially. They were also very, very scarce around here compared to the others.
You are correct about the early second gen wearing HiLux badges also.
I’d say this HiLux is playing more mustard than ketchup!
Those bumpers can’t be stock, right? Of course, “stock” for the rear bumper may have meant “no bumper at all.” Whoever built it did a good job of integrating the taillamps, which is more than I can say for Toyota’s efforts on the front turn signals!
Really cool find, with a chase worthy of Yakety Sax!
BIL owned one of the preceeding Stout models. Ran a long time, was very useful, and had something I had never seen anywhere. A four speed on the column. Really haven’t seen that since either.
That’s a most menacing first picture~
Mr. Baruth’s huffy self-righteousness became one of the major reasons I stopped reading that other site-your diaper reference made me laugh, as I would read his columns wanting to shout, “Oh, grow up!” I would much rather look at cool pictures like these and read the affectionate copy that accompanies them. Congrats on bagging the elusive Hi-Lux. I assume he was trying to AVOID the railroad tracks, as I always tried to with my own Toy Truck. Hi-Lux: built with the drivetrain guaranteed to outlast your backside!
I owned one.
I bought it used, naturally.
The original Malroney listed the price as $2222, out of Grand Island Nebraska.
I bought it in Wichita, back in 1987, and had it until 1990.
I restored it pretty well since it was definately a rare truck.
I had it restored the original white with dove gray bumpers and royal blue trim. It got a lot of looks.
It had a solid engine and a very good four speed.
The rest of the truck was made of recycled Folgers coffee cans, pizza pans, baking sheets, two cookie sheets, foil, pop-rivets, Bondo, duct tape and wire. Honestly.
My mother would not ride in it because she knew that it was a tin truck with a nice paint job.
I commuted to work in it across Chicagoland daily. It had no air conditioner and a vinyl bench seat, and since I had to wear a suit at work, during the summer, I drove shirtless until I parked it in Des Plaines. I carried a can of deodorant in it in case the morning commute was long.
It couldn’t have been more basic. The cab was so tiny, I could not have been any shorter and fit. I literally had to depend upon the back seat to compress enough for me to not lock up my knees.
It had strips of bamboo between the windowshield seal and the rubber seal on the interior.
It had so rusted through that when I first lifted the rubber matting in the cab, I discovered a curious street view under the bench seat and behind each wheel well.
It steered tough. Even after filling all the grease joints, it took muscle to steer it. For such a light truck, that was a big of a surprise.
It had a remote hood release. The odd little parking lights were the same as found on the Toyota Land Cruiser.
The front bumper came with the vehicle, and mine was still fine, but as typical of the era’s taxes back then, back bumpers were dealer installed to avoid a tariff.
I sold it to a guy completely in love with it and I think he still has it. He has done a very good job restoring it and had it parked in his garage. I don’t know where he is anymore, but I am confident the truck is still around somewhere.
I bought it for $800, and my dad sold it for $1400. I let him keep the cash since I owed him a lot more than that!
Funny story about it…
I did a cross country from Denver to Chicago in it and it ran for hours. Gas mileage was great. So I pulled over to tank up and take a leak, and when I reached over to unlock the door, the black mushroom tip came up by itself. It seemed that the vibrations of the truck over the preceding hours unscrewed the locking rod from the plastic tip which never fell off from the door. I got locked in. I had to move all the stuff I packed in the cab to dig myself out so I could get out of the passenger door. Fortunately I was able to make it out and into the men’s room without an accident. The truck did this twice before, and the next time I rolled the window down with my key and unlocked it from the outside. Finally, I just put a little drop of glue into the plastic cap to seal it from happening again.
I knew it was a rare creature, and in the years I owned it, never saw another. I finally saw two restored ones on the Big Island as runners for an expensive nursery. One yellow and the other green.
I kept the owner’s manual. It is such a rare beast I had to keep one thing to remember it with.
We had a 1969 RN-11, with 3R-C engine, for about 10 years. It put up with lots of overloading & hauling race cars for years. It was bought from a car dealer after years of tender care by teenage parts chasers.
What would the load rating have been on these? It would be interesting to see whether it differed from the US to other markets
You mean Baruth never saw an ad for the “HiLux Happy Truck”?
That was the most memorable Toyota ad of my youth.
Had one in great condition, except the engine, at the Placerville, CA wrecking yard.
No rust. I owned a 1978 Toyota Hi-lux and poking around the old turnlamp-on-the-fenders model thought the old one was stouter due to thicker metal here and there.
However, I was enamored with the mighty 20-R engine in my unit.
If only I had a digital camera back in my wrecking yard days.
I am unsure if they were available to the public then and, if so, they likely cost as much as I earned in 5 years of hard physical labor.
I see this truck daily. It’s parked at Alex’s German automotive on Railroad Blvd. It had a for sale sign in the window last week. I’ll check up on it later today.
In those days, the Toyota was a distant second – compared to Datsun’s newly-freshened PL620. Those looked clunky; old; and the 1973 redo didn’t help much. Initially; until they figured out how to make it right.
They didn’t sell well on the Ohio coastline; but there were a few. Strange; their owners regarded likewise.
It was remarkable the battle Toyota had and won, to become mainstream and America’s biggest (at times) car vendor.
My first car was a 1978 Toyota Hilux (called the Pickup truck, or Toyota Truck). It belonged to my stepdad, but I drove it alot. I learned how to drive a manual (stick) shifting transmission driving it. I’d buy another one if one were for sale. It’d have to be less than $10k, condition is everything. It has to be all original. And if you live near Tacoma, Washington and want to show it, please let me know. Merry Christmas. 🙂
Hi have a 1972 toyota hilux for sale. Even have the matching aluminium factory canopy too. I’m located in southern bc canada. Was on road n running 4 yrs ago. It has just sat since then. All original but tires n seats.
Toyota still for sale? thanks
Not sure how to post addition pics of my hilux for sale
Pic of canopy
Susan send me some info on your toyota for sale?? Thanks. Mike. Mwvkustomz @gmail.com