1980 Toyota Truck – The Drive’s Daily Curbside Classic

Since when does a 37 year old Toyota come with a CD player, cruise control, alloy wheels, and ice cold air? Well, since this morning.

bySteven Lang|
Toyota News photo

Guess what showed up at the dealership this morning?


No, not her. Although I wouldn't complain one bit if she happened to just show up in that exact outfit. 

Steven Lang

The year was 1980. Our President was a natural blonde, Christie Brinkley was on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and Toyota was on a roll. 

Steven Lang

There was a little competitive  LUV in the form of an Isuzu that pretended to be a Chevy. But that stiff price premium that Toyota pickups got even then was something that no domestic car company could master, and that was a scary thing for the Big 3.

Especially when your best product looked like this...

Barn Find

Nissan did have a pretty decent competitor in the form of the 720 truck.  That particular one would have arguably been the best competition Toyota would have throughout the 1980s if it weren't for the chicken tax. which levied a fat 25% tax on foreign light duty trucks.  

Steven Lang

This wretched piece of quid pro quo legislation was designed to penalize the Germans back in the 1960s in exchange for the UAW not striking right before the 1964 election. 

The good news, if you can call it that, is that trucks like this Toyota get continually upgraded and coddled. The owner even saw fit to include cupholders, CD player, and cruise control.  

Steven Lang

Some trucks are meant to endure. This Toyota from Tennessee has definitely earned that honor. 

Steven Lang