2023 Bull Market Pick: 1984–88 Toyota Pickup 4×4 SR5
Welcome back to the Hagerty Bull Market List, our annual deep dive into the collector cars (and bikes) climbing the value ranks. This vehicle is one of 11 chosen for the 2023 installment of the List. To see the other 10, click here.
By the time the second-generation Pickup (Hilux in other markets) hit dealership lots in 1984, Toyota’s reputation for creating quality small trucks had solidified. Much of the new Pickup’s mechanical bits—like Toyota’s legendarily reliable 22R 2.4-liter four-cylinder, solid-front-axle suspension, and transfer case—were carried over from the prior generation. However, the second-gen Pickup donned more aggressive sheetmetal, replete with blistered fender flares, square headlights, and a contemporary grille. Most of the collector buzz revolves around the four-wheel-drive models with the SR5 package, but the Pickup was available in a plethora of bed, cab, and drivetrain configurations.
The Pickup recipe didn’t change much throughout its four-year production run. On 4×4 models, the 22R engine gained fuel injection in 1985 and an optional turbocharger in 1986. The live-axle front suspension was phased out in ’86 and exchanged for an independent front suspension with torsion bars. No ground clearance was lost in the transition, but hardcore off-roaders prefer the stick axle. In 1988, the truck’s last model year, Toyota ditched the top-of-the-line turbo engine for a 3.0-liter V-6. By the end of its production run, Toyota had moved over 1.5 million of its second-generation Pickups in North America alone.
Alan Dreiman became enamored with the Pickup by way of one of his favorite films, Back to the Future. As a young enthusiast, he lacked the funds for a DeLorean, so he bought an ’85 Toyota Pickup, the same model year as the fictional Marty McFly’s black example. Dreiman’s first Pickup kicked off an eight-year journey of buying, restoring, and selling these trucklets as a side gig. He reckons that 1980s nostalgia is the driving factor for rising Pickup values, as most of his clients are Gen Xers.
Finding a good Pickup can be a challenge. Although the mechanicals—apart from the engine’s timing chain guides—are stout, the body panels and interior parts do not stand the test of time. Road salt turns northeastern Pickups to dust, and sun exposure in the South causes interior plastics to become brittle and seat fabric to fade. Patch panels are available to fix rusty trucks, but replacements for broken interior pieces and worn fabric are no longer available. According to Dreiman, the best second-gen pickups are found in the Pacific Northwest due to the lack of both road salt and oppressive sun.
He appreciates the versatility of Toyota’s small truck, claiming the stock suspension can handle any off-road excursion within reason while not being unbearable on the street. “You can daily-drive one and then take it up a mountain the next weekend,” he says. Generating only 116 hp from its 22R-E engine, this Pickup is far from fast, but that doesn’t bother Dreiman. The simplicity of the drivetrain and ease of maintenance are more important virtues than acceleration.
If you are an enthusiast looking to jump into the world of vintage 4x4s but you don’t have the funds to buy an FJ40 Land Cruiser or an early Ford Bronco, the second-generation Toyota Pickup hits the sweet spot of affordability, great looks, and off-road credibility.
1985 Toyota Pickup 4×4 SR5
Highs: Reliable as a Swiss watch; rugged good looks; off-road prowess.
Lows: As fast as a Swiss watch; proclivity for rust; most were used for truck stuff, so finding a good one is difficult.
Price range: #1 – $34,800 #2 – $22,700 #3 – $16,700 #4 – $6600
HAGERTY AUTO INTELLIGENCE SAYS:
Long considered just a used truck, Toyota’s fourth-generation Pickup has finally achieved collector-car status. The number of them added to Hagerty policies has quadrupled since 2017, with younger collectors as the fastest-growing segment. Although boomers currently own 43 percent of them, collectors under 40 more than doubled their ownership share since 2019, from 7 percent to 16. A nearly equal third of insurance policy quotes come from boomers, Gen X, and millennials.
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I owned an 85 when it was two years old. Bulletproof drivetrain but body (bed) started to
succumb to northeast winters by early nineties. Even then they held value as I sold it for more
than I paid.
As the original owner of an 83 I am astounded by the collect-ability of these trucks in the past 5 years. Every time I take mine out, it (I) receive two or three thumbs up. Re-fueling usually takes 10-15 minutes…couple minutes for the gas, the rest for for yakking! Heck…the cops even stop me for a better look at it and to talk with me about it! While I don’t know the value right now its went from 6K in 1995 to 14K in 2016. Hagerty has it at 24K as of 2020. At the last car show I was at a fellow handed me a cheque for 25K (personal, yah I’m taking that buddy!)…he stopped at 30K when he realized “not for sale”! Here in Canada the desired models seem to be the 82 and 83’s, bigger engine (22R vs 20R), 5 speed, 4.11:1 gears, and no smog equipment. In my area I know of four between 79 and 93 models; all but one run, however there is only one of the 84-89 vintage
I loved these trucks as a kid. When my parents bought a Toyota Minivan in 1986 these things were right to next to it and looked so good. I would take the simplicity of these things and upgrade the motor and have a perfect small truck.
Original owner 88 Toyota 4×4 extra cab. 180k miles. 22RE fuel injection still quiet. Hunting and fishing truck for decades. Then kids. Garaged it a bit. Then restored it. Rust repair on right quarter panel only. Replaced fuel system and front end. Original black. Just painted evergreen. You are right on interior plastic. Lucky only small cracked dash and armrest. Parts not available. Seats are fine. Still a charm to drive! The compliments and offers never stop. Drive 06 bmw m3 convertible mostly but great to have a smooth 5spd 4×4 standby at beck and call!
So here I am single mum with in 2023, with 88 4×4 3.0L trying to decide if I should sell my 2010 scion and just commit to fixing it the old truck.. but needs work, head gaskets, clutch, dash all cracked.. could really go on, no real rust issues but everything else.. I should probably just say goodbye, but I just cant bring myself to it.
My 1988 Toyota DXL Long bed, truck with under 300,000. Minimal damage, is my is very special. I’d like restored back to it’s original condition. Who should do it?
How do I begin? I’m in CA.
I own an 83 4x a 86 4x and 2000 4x SR5 I love them all always reliable and almost bullit proof