Curbside Classic: 1980 Toyota Truck (N30,N40) – HiLux Day!

It was late 2021 and the time had come to deal with matters that had been put off long enough. The mission? To move out a bunch of personal stuff that had remained in my dad’s home since his passing in 2018. A task that had been deferred time and time again, delayed by legal matters, a busy schedule, and well… that once-in-a-lifetime 2020 pandemic.

Clearly, the move was more than I could handle on my ’96 Golf, much less on my ’68 Beetle. Enter a 1980 (or so) Toyota HiLux to the rescue. Or just Toyota Truck, as it was known in North America.

The inevitable move had come in the only way plans tend to occur in Central America; in a rush. Not that I should blame the scramble on the impromptu spirit of the locals. Much had to do with my doing.

To begin with, legal matters had been my sole worry after my dad’s passing, with little thought of what would be done with the house. So while everything was sorted out, his widow and I agreed to rent the dwelling’s second floor, while I could store my belongings for “some time” on the first floor.

Did I have any other worries that eventful 2018?

Oh yes, rescue my Beetle! Stupidly, the car had been sitting at my Dad’s house since late 2015 (a story for another day). So, once legal work started to move forward after much red tape, I gathered the will to finally deal with the car.

With a mechanic’s help, the little Bug started. Understandably, it sputtered a bit and was in need of minor mechanical work and new tires (that proved almost impossible to find in the size I desired). But for all purposes, the car was back on the roads.

The following events go like this: Legal paperwork settled in early 2020. Pandemic hits. Strict lockdowns follow. Get back to life –sort of– in early 2021. Remind yourself you gotta move your crap out of your dad’s garage. Get a call in late 2021 from your dad’s widow “Can I also rent the first floor?” “Yes” is your answer. Get a call the very next day from your dad’s widow: “The new tenants are moving in tomorrow, can you take your stuff out?”

Nope, I won’t whine this time. I did that to myself. Good thing transport services for moving and the like are the most common of things in this nation. Light trucks often line up by plazas and markets, offering their assistance to whoever is in need of hauling stuff. All for rather reasonable prices.

Either that or some acquaintance knows of such a fellow. Such was my case, with the guy being a referral of the new tenants. One call and the HiLux arrived at the agreed hour. It was time to move out my stuff. At last.

With the whole matter being rather hectic, my idea had been to take my ’96 Golf to play a supporting role during the move. After 3 years away from that house, I couldn’t quite picture how large my whole cargo would be. And while the HiLux was probably enough for the job, a bit of support from my useful hatchback was not a bad idea.

Except, the Golf seems to have sensed that heavy work was coming and got a thermostat flu that morning. Instead, the Beetle took on the job.

Which was just as fine. I had done quite a bit of moving on my Beetle back in the day, and I knew the car would be up to the task. Besides, in the end there really wasn’t much to carry that didn’t fit in the HiLux, though some of the more personal stuff did end up in the Bug’s rear cargo area.

Cargo loaded, it was time to head to its new destination, the home where the Beetle is currently stored. A 45 min. drive across San Salvador’s streets at rush hour. Of course, the HiLux did the job commendably.

Regarding our HiLux, it’s a generation that hasn’t appeared much at CC lately, and this is probably the earliest one that’s been featured. It’s either a ’79 or ’80 model, the last years these were available at Salvadorian dealers before a Civil War era embargo ceased imports altogether for a few years.

As I can personally attest, that embargo was a pain back at the time. However, it’s the main reason for the many 1970s Japanese cars still roaming San Salvador’s streets.

In the case of pickups and light trucks, those are the ones with the largest survival rates. Finding a vintage Japanese pickup is the easiest of jobs around this town.

One can see why owners hold on to them; there’s little like them nowadays. They’ve proven mechanicals that any shop around here can easily handle. Add to that ease of use, decent hauling capability, plus economy, and one can see why they’ve such a following.

And if the HiLuxes I’ve featured so far are having too easy of a time for your liking, here’s one doing heavier-duty stuff. Trust me, these little trucks do earn their daily keep around here.

Here’s a question I didn’t ask that day; what mill lies behind this HiLux’s grille?

Being Toyota, choices were a gamut. They ranged from 1.6 to 1.8, to 2.0, 2.2 and 2.4 liters. A 2.2 Diesel was also available, but that doesn’t seem to be this HiLux’s engine.

And yes, our other Toyota Truck entries cover the specs and history of this generation that ran from ’78 to ’83. So check those if you wish more info on these models (links below).

For a change, I got a chance to shoot this one’s interior. It’s probably my favorite interior photo of the ones I have taken, mostly because it’s got the feel of a working office. Which it basically is.

And for all effects and purposes, looks like a rather decent car-like place to be. Also, if you wonder what that odd-yet-colorful item by the steering wheel is, those are old-style lumbar supports locally made.

I’ll have to admit that after all the delays and procrastination, the move was rather painless and swift. A whole three hours or so, for a task I had hesitated years to do.

Then again, I got plenty of unexpected help at the last minute to perform the task, with the old Toyota truck playing a central role. In my opinion, a very successful HiLux Day overall.


Related CC reading:

Curbside Classic: 1982 Toyota Truck – When Compact Pickups Roamed The Land

Curbside Classic: 1982 Toyota Diesel Pickup

Curbside Classic: 1986 Toyota Turbo Pickup – Get Tough, Get Turbo

Curbside Classic/COAL: 1994 Toyota Pickup – Last Of The Hiluxes, At Least For The U.S.