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Beyond Perfect 1983 Toyota Pickup Is a Flannel-Ready 4x4 Fantasy Machine

From the hockey stripes to Aisin manual locking hubs, this Hilux is living its best life.

Vintage 4x4s are really having a moment right now. Once merely cool in a utilitarian way, we're seeing a resurgence of classic 4x4 names (like the upcoming Ford Bronco) and a crush of high-dollar restorations and restomods, like the TLC and Icon brands, along with many others. All this raises the profile of clean originals like this 1983 Toyota Pickup, also known as the Hilux, predecessor to the also legendary Toyota Tacoma.

This is a late third-generation Hilux, but the grille and headlights have been back-dated to the arguably more attractive round units found on earlier rigs. The spec and presentation is just perfect. A sprayed-in bedliner, OEM-style side mirrors, powder-coated steel wheels, an upgraded carburetor, and a modified exhaust system all work to improve on the truck's originality rather than detract from it. The Skyjacker lift and the 33-inch BFGoodrich mud terrain tires add to the rose-colored glasses aura.

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We're glad the nearly un-killable 22R is still under the hood. The big 2.4-liter inline-four was introduced in 1981, and is one of those legendary engines that contributed heavily to the general reputation of Toyota trucks as unstoppable. These are the last Toyota pickups sold in America with solid front axles, a desirable feature for those looking for ultimate off-road ruggedness. It does raise the question: Is this truck too nice to take off-road? That's for the next owner to decide, and while we hope it doesn't get chewed up on the rocks too much, it'd be a shame not to take it camping once in a while.

While it's not all original, we think all the upgrades are sympathetic and tasteful. For example, the buyer thoughtfully included the original grille and square headlights. The seats aren't original, but are from a 1980s 4Runner and are likely vastly more comfortable than the original bench seat or less-bolstered bucket seats. But some other things are very original—maybe too original for some. There's no A/C, but if you crank down the manual front windows and open up the rear slider these trucks do move plenty of air through the cab. And there's no power steering, which could make moving the big mud tires a chore at low speeds.

We think the vintage charm is worth the trade-offs. Check out the simple, clean dashboard—even the blanking plate where a tachometer might sit on a higher trim truck has a cool vibe. Mileage on this one isn't known, but based on the condition and the general reputation of these trucks, it probably doesn't matter too much. You can find this listing on Bring a Trailer. You will probably need to spend silly money to nab it.