Junkyard Find: 1978 Toyota Truck

1978 Toyota Pickup in Colorado wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe Toyota Hilux pickup truck first hit the streets in 1968, shoving aside flimsier trucks based on the Corona and Crown within a few years. While the Hilux (or “Hylux”) name got a bit of marketing use by Toyota in North America, this truck was known here as, simply, the Truck. I found this well-worn-but-unrusted ’78 in a Denver self-service yard last month.

1978 Toyota Pickup in Colorado wrecking yard, speedometer - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsHow many miles are on it? Plenty. Toyota felt confident enough to go to six-digit odometers (or perhaps just became willing to throw some yen at an extra reel in the mechanism) soon after 1978, but this could be indicating 626,569.7 miles as easily as 126,569.7 miles (the wear on the seats and pedals rules out the possibility of 26,569.7 miles).

1978 Toyota Pickup in Colorado wrecking yard, 20R engine - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThese trucks were small, efficient, and got their power from an engine family that earned a reputation for sturdiness rivaled only by the likes of the Chrysler Slant-6 and certain Soviet agricultural engines making 20 horses per liter of displacement.

1978 Toyota Pickup in Colorado wrecking yard, engine compartment - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe 2.2-liter 20R in this Truck made 90 rumbling, grumbling, low-revving horses when it was new. Perhaps the 20R didn’t quite fit the sporty image of the Celicas in which it was installed, but it was perfect for the Truck.

1978 Toyota Pickup in Colorado wrecking yard, gearshift - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsMost of the second-gen Trucks came with four- or five-speed manual gearboxes, even in the United States, but this one has the luxurious three-speed automatic (sadly, the Toyoglide two-speed didn’t go in this generation of Hilux).

1978 Toyota Pickup in Colorado wrecking yard, wire wheel - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsSpeaking of luxury, check out these wire wheels!

1978 Toyota Pickup in Colorado wrecking yard, storage compartment - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe homemade plywood desk atop the split-bench armrest suggests long-term use as a delivery vehicle; delivery drivers need to do a lot of paperwork while performing their appointed rounds.

1978 Toyota Pickup in Colorado wrecking yard, tailgate - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThese trucks held their value for many decades, but the used-truck market is now saturated with cheap big pickups equipped with air conditioning and menacing road presence; I’m seeing a spike in 1970s and 1980s Trucks in wrecking yards in recent years.

If you like these junkyard posts, you can reach all 1600+ right here at the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand!

Leave a Reply