Rare Rides: The 1995 Toyota T100, a Truck of a Different Era

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides the 1995 toyota t100 a truck of a different era

Trucks were simpler when today’s Rare Ride was new. No giant grilles, no Ranch Platinum 1764 Embroidery Edition, and no ridiculous styling (I see you, Tundra.) The T100 was a reliable essence of truck, even if it wasn’t what the American market wanted.

Until the T100 came along, Toyota offered exactly one truck in its North American lineup: the Pickup. And while that compact had a loyal following, it wasn’t the right size to capture the meat of the North American market that wanted a full-size. Enter T100.

Toyota designed the T100 specifically for the US and Canada, after hearing many dealer complaints about customers moving from the Pickup to a larger domestic offering. Introduced for the 1993 model year, all T100s were produced at a Hino factory in Tokyo.

T100s were offered with three different engines: a 2.7-liter inline-four, 3.0-liter V6, or 3.4-liter V6. The 3.0 was the launch engine and managed 150 horsepower. All engines were shared with the 4Runner. Transmissions had four speeds if automatic, or five if manual. Four-wheel drive was an optional extra.

With an eight-foot bed, the T100 was what Toyota considered a full-size offering. In reality, it was slightly larger than the Dodge Dakota, a midsize. At 209.1 inches long and 75.2 inches wide, it was much smaller than a 235-inch long bed F-150, which was also 79 inches wide. The diminutive size was intentional, however, as Toyota calculated that going head-to-head with the Big Three in the full-size truck world would cause a ruckus. Thus the T100 was slightly smaller than those three, to be enough for the full-size truck customer who wanted a Toyota.

Criticism poured in about the T100s size and its lack of an extended cab option. While Toyota remedied the cab issue for 1994, the issue they didn’t rectify was a distinctly American one: Customers wanted a V8 engine in their full-size truck. Toyota claimed they considered all of these things during the T100s development, and customers should enjoy the fuel economy of the V6 and its benefit to the environment. Truck buyers shrugged.

Sales were slow for T100 and peaked in 1996 at around 45,000 units, a figure that paled in comparison to Chevy’s 700,000 and Ford’s 850,000. The T100 also felt the pain of Ram, as sales fell 30 percent after about a year when the excellent ’94 Ram 1500 was introduced. Toyota learned a difficult lesson with T100 about North America and full-size trucks. They fired up a plant in Indiana to produce the Tundra for 2000.

Today’s Rare Ride is a lovely T100 from 1995. In white over blue, it’s automatic and has covered just 77,000 miles. It’s old man spec too, two-wheel drive with a cap. Yours for $5,500.

[Images: Toyota]

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  • Dan Dan on Sep 30, 2021

    "At 209.1 inches long and 75.2 inches wide, it was much smaller than a 235-inch long bed F-150" Car writers with google but without understanding of what it is they're pasting get these things wrong every single time. A 235 inch long-bed F-150 was the extended cab, the single cab was 213 inches. Come on now.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Oct 01, 2021

    If I were buying a truck with a cap I would take the cap off and get a spray in bed liner. For the price of this truck you are still ahead of the game. I would also rust proof the vehicle. This truck looks good enough that if the body were maintained and with proper maintenance it would last for many years. Also it would need new hoses, belts, and the timing belt changed. Probably a few other things because it is close to 30 years old but it is a Toyota and it will last.

  • VoGhost Five years ago, Tesla was ten years ahead of the competition. I haven't seen anything to suggest that's changed.
  • Varezhka They cheapened out on the hardware side too, so we'll see how much they can improve with the software updates. I know they're using faster processors with some of their newer vehicles, but not sure how much faster.
  • Varezhka I mentioned yesterday that I wasn't a fan of Mazda Connect v1.0 in MX-5. Now I count Mazda Connect v2.0 in Mazda3 as among my favorites. Clean, fast, and intuitive without being a distraction to driving.I also don't mind the v7 BMW i-Drive, though BMW also seem to go back and forth between quite good and quite messy between updates. I also liked the screen position better before they incorporated touch.
  • EBFlex When you support socialism I guess it makes sense to support countries that are socialist.This is absolutely ridiculous though. The dementia-riddled, installed president won't allow drilling here and as recently as early November said "NO MORE DRILLING" ( https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidblackmon/2022/11/07/biden-promises-no-more-drilling-just-days-after-demanding-more-drilling/?sh=eeef4a578e7a )Why help people here and give them work when you can ship it off to Venezuela? Next, he will be advocating for giving jobs to China who are continuing to commit crimes against humanity (something the elf Fauci wishes he could do).This is insanity. We have tons of oil here. We should be drilling for it and aggressively building refining capacity to turn it into lovely, lovely gasoline and diesel.
  • Kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh In the news : Rich people join forces to stay ultra rich and EFF poor people in all countries by dividing them against each other and killing them
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