BODACIOUS BEATERS and Road-going Derelicts: The LO-LUX

Phil Coconis
by Phil Coconis

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

Phil Coconis
Phil Coconis

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  • Nikita Nikita on Nov 27, 2012

    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.

  • -Nate -Nate on Nov 28, 2012

    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

  • FreedMike Well, here's my roster of car purchases since 1981: Three VWsTwo Mazdas (one being a Mercury Tracer, full disclosure)One AudiOne FordOne BuickOne HondaOne Volvo I think I hear Lee Greenwood in the background... In all seriousness, I'd have bought more American cars had they made more of the kinds of cars I like (smaller, performance-oriented).
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X I'll gladly support the least "woke" and the most Japanese auto company out there.
  • Jmo2 I just got an email from the dealership where I bought my car and it looks like everything has $5k on the hood.
  • Lou_BC I suspect that since the global pandemic, dealerships have preferred to stay with the "if you want it, we will order it" business model. They just need some demo models on hand and some shiny bits to catch the impulse buyer. Profits are higher and risks lower this way.
  • Probert When I hear the word "patriot", I think of entitled hateful whining ignorant traitors to democracy. But hey , meant to say "Pass the salt."