By on November 26, 2012

Since we we’re on the subject of the Downtrodden Mini-Truck, I figured it’s so nice…we’ll have to do it twice.

 

This 1986 Toyota Hi-Lux (yes, that was the model designation for these units, although the title was dropped from the badging many moons ago) actually visited my old shop for some exhaust repairs. My customer base ran the gamut from multi-millionaires to independent artists to the homeless. I’ll let you figure out the demographics for this one.

From the terminally overloaded utility bed (my lift protested under the weight as if it were a Diesel-powered quad-cab “dually”) to the interior, decorated in Early American Squalor, this put-upon little workhorse really appears to be the automotive equivalent of a construction site functional alcoholic.

Typically, many of these little guys got called upon to do full-sized duty, and due to their outstanding construction, they actually hung in there at a level well past any other mini on the market.

Less molested versions still command a pretty fair price on the used market, as they can be repaired and rendered roadworthy time and again.

Examples like this cat, however, have just about used up all of their nine-odd lives—with maybe one left…

…at which point we’d call it “NO-LUX”.

Expertly collected and commented by Phil Coconis, this is the second of many BODACIOUS BEATERS and road-going derelicts, an assemblage of the still driveable near-dead.

Phil has written features and columns for a number of automotive periodicals and web-based information companies. He has run a successful Auto Repair Business in the past for many years (See “Memoirs of an Independent Repair Shop Owner” on this ttac site). He can be contacted through this very site, or http://www.linkedin.com/

 

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17 Comments on “BODACIOUS BEATERS and road-going derelicts: The LO-LUX...”


  • avatar
    lilpoindexter

    Cool…just yesterday I was lamenting the loss of beater review…and now, a new series.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    The owner probably paid cash for it and will run it until a major needed repair sends it to the junkyard. Oh, and he’ll take the work bed off before the truck goes to junkyard.

  • avatar
    dolorean

    “…Toyota Hi-Lux (yes, that was the model designation for these units, although the title was dropped from the badging many moons ago)”

    ‘Yoda still uses the Hi-Lux name for its trucks in Europe and Australia. Especially memorable the Top-Gear crew racing to the North Pole in one.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      The Tacoma is pretty different under skin to the current Hilux. The Hilux has about twice the payload of a Tacoma.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        True, but thats the latest version of the Hilux. The ’80s version was this one here that continued in relatively small size (and usually in four door guise) until the Tacoma size one of the new age.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      I think everyone is waiting for new Hilux, not a rehash of the current model that will have considerably better towing ability and other improvements.

      • 0 avatar
        nikita

        What is this American obsession with towing? The primary function of a pickup truck is to carry cargo in the bed. Make the cargo bed bigger and that would be a big improvement.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        It is not just a US Obsession. As well as a good towing ability people outside the US want a considerable payload capacity as well. Generally that is almost twice the payload you can find on US 1/2 ton pickups.

    • 0 avatar
      luvmyv8

      You can get a new Hilux south of the border too;

      If you want a 4 cylinder compact truck, you have to get the Hilux.

      If you want a V6, you buy a Tacoma.

      Mexico has both trucks, I honestly prefer the Hilux myself, too bad it’s not diesel and wont come north either.

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    “My customer base ran the gamut from multi-millionaires to independent artists to the homeless. I’ll let you figure out the demographics for this one.”

    I’ve got at least two of those “I do OK” buds for whom this truck would be an upgrade. Though they are a bit more fastidious about their cab interiors.

    They own other (much nicer) cars too, but their beater trucks are so deliberately downmarket that you can tell their trying way too hard to hide the money. Sorta like the whole “poverty chic” scene in LA.

  • avatar
    markholli

    I wonder what the inside of this guys house looks like. Toilet has definitely never been cleaned…

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    “Typically, many of these little guys got called upon to do full-sized duty, and due to their outstanding construction, they actually hung in there at a level well past any other mini on the market.”

    True fact.

    My purchased-new ’94 regularly hauls over 1000 pounds of stuff; with some overload springs and a transmission cooler, she’s still running at ~280kmi.

    (The transmission is getting weak, due partially to an … incident with some road debris and the aftermarket cooler a few years back.

    And the engine’s going to fail eventually due to the cost of fixing the timing chain tensioner being more than the car’s worth…

    But she’s still running more than acceptably now, which is a testament to both build quality and the important of scheduled maintenance.)

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    I bought a 1992 toyota truck this past spring.Finding one whose frame is not rusted in two is a chore. Thankfully mine is intact. After putting in a thermostat and front brakes, it runs and drives great. Mine still has the torture device bench seat. It still doesn’t leak any fluids or burn any oil. Of course, it only has 100k, just past break in for a Toyota.

  • avatar
    nikita

    Looks like the many metal salvage business trucks that roam the streets of Los Angeles on trash day. Upon closer inspection, this particular example is one owned by a small construction business. The contractor that does jobs for me even has an early Toyota van, forward control, pre-Previa, as a work truck.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Although I still prefer my Shop Trucks to be older Chevrolets with L6 engines , these things are pretty much un burstable and plenty are in daily use all over California .

    -Nate


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