Unintended Necessity – A 1986 Toyota Pickup Turbo

Does it ever happened to you that unexpectedly you find yourself in the middle of a good deal? You weigh in the pros and cons and all you see are benefits. You try to rationalize that you don’t want it, but like a magnet it sucks you back in.

I sometimes don’t intentionally look for cars to purchase. There were a few times cars find me. I was walking around checking out cars at a local meet, when I was approached by a friend asking me if I’d be interested in buying his old truck. He didn’t want the truck to go anywhere, other than to someone whom he trusts, a car guy that would take care of his baby. Price was not an object to him, it was almost close to free. So even when I didn’t have any plans of getting another project, I got lured by the idea of adding one more. After all, a car guy’s equation to an ideal number of vehicles to own is C + 1, where C = the current number of cars in the garage. Simple mathematics. O, by the way, did I mention the truck does not run? Something that I promised myself I would never acquire again since the last project I had was nothing more than a space occupying nuisance in my garage that took 5 long years before I semi-completed it.

Back track 3 years prior, I met Dwight. He is a car collector and the previous owner of my Datsun 310. I came over to his place to purchase the old Datsun and I was so fascinated with his eclectic collection of old cars. He had a little bit of everything, from a Ferrari to a Rolls Royce, from a ‘68 Oldsmobile 442 to a ’56 Ford Thunderbird, and everything in between. But then there was a dirty beat up truck in the midst of all the cool cars. So out of curiosity, I asked him about it as it seemed to be out of place. He stared at me like he was puzzled. A look of disappointment that a self proclaimed car aficionado like myself who was expected to know much about cars didn’t know about it. Well, it is a 1986 Toyota Pickup Extracab with a factory turbo, a sought after truck that came out as limited units from 1986 to 1987. It was the top of the line of its day, the holy grail of all 4 x 2 Toyota Pickups, and it was Dwight’s daily driver. And yes, it was his work horse as well. Was I interested with the truck at that time? Not really. Set aside the fact that it’s a novelty, it was nothing more than a tired old pickup to me. But fast forward to the time that he needed to get rid of some of his collection, the truck ended up in my possession.

My involvement in the car culture goes far back to the 80s. And so if I wanted a theme for the truck, it would be something that I would have done to it if it is 1986 today. Soon as I obtained the truck, I got the engine running. I then brought it to a local shop to further fine tune the 22RE motor, an engine known to Toyota owners as something that refuse to die. Add to that a factory turbo, although dated, it made the truck at least a little faster. I then cleaned the interior, then brought it to a body shop for paint.

Because the truck was intended to be a daily driver in order to justify my inner thoughts that I really need it, I did not want to lower it so I kept the suspension stock. I took off the factory rims and replaced it with larger 16 x 8 hard to clean mesh wheels, not because I’m a masochist, I just want its period correct 80s look. The truck rolls on 215/55R/16 Dunlops on all 4 corners.

Entertainment comes from a Blaupunkt stereo system hooked to 6×9 Rockford Fostgates blasting out the latest 80s songs of Duran Duran and Billy Idol. Interior was kept stock except for those netted sports headrests, an 80s accessory that took me forever to find.  Fender mirrors intended for KE70s were added to give the pickup a Japanese vibe.

Today, the truck is living up to my plans. It has been my daily driver and the never say die reliability of the 22RE makes me confident in driving the pickup anywhere, plus loading practically anything in the bed, something I couldn’t do with my other old cars.

Do I have any regrets in obtaining an unplanned purchase? Well, when you can bring a reliable truck to a car show, then drive it back home getting thumbs up from other car guys along the way, and passing by a local Home Depot to throw in some dirty stuff in the back without worrying about it, then I’d say, I did the right choice. All it really needs now is a Garfield stuff toy sticking on its windows and it’s 1986 all over again. And you know what I’m talking about.

Do you own an old pickup? Share it with the Lumang Oto Community.

Happy Lumang Oto Motoring Folks!

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