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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  • Tassos The EQS is the best looking BEV, better than even the only Tesla I would ever consider (the S) and more luxurious inside etc etcThe self driving features will come in handy when I'm 110 and my eyesight and reaction times start to suffer.But that's four decades away, and only Tim recommends 40 year old "used cars"
  • Tassos "Baby, Baby light my fire!""Oh God please give me a Kia Forte" --Janis Joplin
  • Tassos The fugly looks of any Subaru, and especially the non-sporty non-elegant, fugly, low-rent looks and interior of the WRX are alone a sufficient turnoff to never want to own one.One can be a 100% car enthusiast but ALSO demand a beautiful AND luxurious vehicle one can be truly proud of and which makes one very happy every time one drives it.The above is obviously totally foreign to Subaru Designers and managers.
  • Thehyundaigarage Am I the only one that sees a Peugeot 508?
  • Lou_BC I realized it wasn't EV's burning by the absence of the usual suspects.