Rare Rides: The Perfect Toyota 4Runner From 1987

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides the perfect toyota 4runner from 1987

The Rare Rides Pristine Vintage Toyota Precedent (RRPVTP) was set a few weeks ago, when we featured a Tercel 4WD Wagon. Then, Matthew Guy happened to present the redesigned 1990 Toyota 4Runner in his Ace of Base segment. This seemed a very timely coincidence, as a few days before we’d received a Rare Rides tip from commenter StephenT: a 4Runner of the first generation, lovingly maintained and for sale in Alabama.

You don’t see them like this very often.

The future was clear for the 4Runner as a mid-range SUV by the time the 1990 generation debuted. In contrast to its cohesive design, the first generation model we have here is much more “truck with cap” in its styling. That’s appropriate, because that’s exactly what the 4Runner was.

The truck in question was the Hilux or, as Americans knew it, “Pickup.” Introduced in North America midway through the 1984 model year, the 4Runner customer had a variety of roof coloration options; white or black.

Fuel injection arrived for 1985, and additional engine choices were added in ’85, ’86, and ’88. Today’s example is powered by the 22R-TE engine, a turbo inline-four of 2.4 liters. A less commonly selected engine option, it mandated an automatic transmission.

Notable reworking happened underneath the 4Runner for 1986, when an independent front suspension was implemented. Increased comfort, stability, and better handling resulted, and a wider track meant more room in the engine bay. The V6 engine desired by Americans was introduced in 1988. By then, the 4Runner was well on its way to suburban family truck status, and gold badges and two-tone paint was on the horizon.

The pristine condition of this 4Runner is due to a recent restoration and a whole mess of new parts (detailed in the listing). There are 162,000 miles on the clock, and the digital dash layout was an image of modernity for six months in 1987.

Interior accommodation features Toyota Tweed, and everything is spotless.

An especially nice detail is the secondary door handle on the passenger side, so that rear passengers are not at the whim of the front seat passengers’ generosity.

Perfection hasn’t been achieved — a couple of mechanical things need attention here, namely the cruise control and the fuel gauge. But that hasn’t put the seller off from asking a pretty penny. She’s yours for $19,900.

Have a Rare Rides suggestion like StephenT that you’d like to see on these pages? Email editors@ttac.com, and it’ll get to me quickly.

[Images via seller]

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  • Jeff S Corey--We know but we still want to give our support to you and let TTAC know that your articles are excellent and better than what the typical articles are.
  • Jeff S A sport utility vehicle or SUV is a car classification that combines elements of road-going passenger cars with features from off-road vehicles, such as raised ground clearance and four-wheel drive.There is no commonly agreed-upon definition of an SUV and usage of the term varies between countries. Thus, it is "a loose term that traditionally covers a broad range of vehicles with four-wheel drive." Some definitions claim that an SUV must be built on a light truck chassis; however, broader definitions consider any vehicle with off-road design features to be an SUV. A [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossover_(automobile)]crossover SUV[/url] is often defined as an SUV built with a unibody construction (as with passenger cars), however, the designations are increasingly blurred because of the capabilities of the vehicles, the labelling by marketers, and electrification of new models.The predecessors to SUVs date back to military and low-volume models from the late 1930s, and the four-wheel drive station wagons and carryalls that began to be introduced in 1949. The 1984 [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep_Cherokee_(XJ)]Jeep Cherokee (XJ)[/url] is considered to be the first SUV in the modern style. Some SUVs produced today use unibody construction; however, in the past, more SUVs used body-on-frame construction. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the popularity of SUVs greatly increased, often at the expense of the popularity of large [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedan_(automobile)]sedans[/url] and station wagons.More recently, smaller SUVs, mid-size, and crossovers have become increasingly popular. SUVs are currently the world's largest automotive segment and accounted for 45.9% of the world's passenger car market in 2021. SUVs have been criticized for a variety of environmental and safety-related reasons. They generally have poorer fuel efficiency and require more resources to manufacture than smaller vehicles, contributing more to climate change and environmental degradation. Between 2010 and 2018 SUVs were the second largest contributor to the global increase in carbon emissions worldwide. Their higher center of gravity increases their risk of rollovers. Their larger mass increases their stopping distance, reduces visibility, and increases damage to other road users in collisions. Their higher front-end profile makes them at least twice as likely to kill pedestrians they hit. Additionally, the psychological sense of security they provide influences drivers to drive less cautiously. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sport_utility_vehicleWith the above definition of SUV any vehicle that is not a pickup truck if it is enclosed, doesn't have a trunk, and is jacked up with bigger tires. If the green activists adhere to this definition of what an SUV is there will be millions of vehicles with flat tires which include HRVs, Rav4s, CRVs, Ford Escapes, Buick Encores, and many of compact and subcompact vehicles. The green movement is going to have to recruit millions of new followers and will be busy flattening millions of tires in the US and across the globe. Might be easier to protest.
  • Sckid213 I actually do agree that most Nissans are ultimately junk. (I also think many BMWs are also). I was talking challenging the 3 in terms of driving dynamics. Agree all were failures in sales.
  • THX1136 More accurately said, we are seeing exponential growth in the manufacturing capabilities in this market. Unless, of course, all those vehicles are sold with customers waiting until more a produced so they can buy. Indeed, there are certainly more EVs being purchased now than back in 2016. Is demand outstripping manufacturing? Maybe or maybe not. I sincerely don't know which is why I ask.
  • ToolGuy The page here (linked in the writeup) is ridiculously stupid https://www.tyreextinguishers.com/how-to-spot-an-suvLike, seriously stupid, e.g., A) Not sure that particular Volvo is killing the planet as quickly as some other vehicles we might choose. B) A Juke is "huge"??? C) The last picture shows a RAV4 Hybrid?