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Question of the Weekend: Would you ever consider any Toyota Collectible?

Jim Brennan April 16, 2011 Hooniverse Asks, Weekend Edition 28 Comments

Continuing on with Classic Toyota Weekend, our Question of the Weekend asks whether of not the work-a-day Toyota will ever become revered as a collectible. We here at Hooniverse tend to favor the regular and the everyday vehicles over the posh, the muscular, and the over priced. We love Ramblers, Corvairs, Datsun 510s, Ford Falcons, Country Squire Wagons, and small Pickup Trucks. So will any Toyota be as memorable?


Toyota developed a reputation for being reliable appliances. The early Coronas, Corollas, and Hilux models help build on that reputation. But are they just too numerous to be a collectible?

Toyota then developed some of the sportiest cars available, with some real standouts like the original MR2, the Twin-Cam Celicas, and the awesome Turbocharged Supra. But is there any “pure stock” models left?

So the question is this: Would you ever consider any Toyota Collectible, and will it become as valuable as some of the offbeat collectibles we crave here at the ‘Verse? Let me know, and if you have a particular favorite Toyota, tell us about it.

  • fhrblig

    Oh, you bet. That blue-and-white Land Cruiser you got at the top there would be just perfect, thank you.

  • facelvega

    As a cheap classics/DIY guy I would consider a 1st or 3rd gen MR2 or any Land Cruiser before they got fat and luxury-ish in 89. The problem is that I was in the first market lately and got a Datsun instead because parts are easier and there are more good ones around, and when I hit the second market in a few years, I'll probably get a CJ or a Wagoneer instead of an FJ40 or 60, just cheaper and easier to maintain.

  • Deartháir

    Personally, I've developed a distaste for small pickup trucks.

    • Joe Dunlap

      Im with you for the most part on that, with the small exception of that red Stout in the picture. Had a friend that had one, and I noticed immediately that the cab was substantially larger than the later Hilux and the Datsun PL 520/ 521 of the period. I could live with one of those.

  • Tony240Z

    I think that "recognised classic car" would be a better description for an old Toyota, rather than a "collectible" – apart from the 2000 GT, none of them has the prestige and price tag to be worthy of attention of a seasoned collector.

    Early Land Cruisers up to the J4 generation would be a good start, followed by unmolested 1st generation Celicas (pre-facelift notchbacks in ST and GT trim), early Corollas (Japanese market, 2T-G powered TE27 Levin and Sprinter Trueno in particular), Corona Mark II coupes (would love a GSS version myself) and some saloons and estates that never made it outside of Japan. Corona Mark II estate is my personal favourite, but even in the US it's not that difficult to find if you know where to look.

    Also, the last RWD Corolla (chassis code AE86) is becoming increasingly difficult to find in good condition – most have been killed by drifters, amateur racers and rally drivers – and it's already considered a future classic, so no doubt that this one will approach collectible status too.

  • tonyola

    Unmolested CRXs and 1983-2001 Preludes are eventually going to become collectible, because they're getting snapped up to be riced out. I'd call the early Honda S roadsters genuine classics even now. Who wouldn't love one of these?
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/31/HondaS800.JPG/800px-HondaS800.JPG&quot; width=400>

    • seaninc

      I love them. Basically four-wheeled motorcycles.

      • BlackIce_GTS

        The early ones were even chain driven, weren't they?

        • Jim-Bob

          Well, yes and no. Basically, they had a solid axle rigidly mounted to the car and swing arms that came off the ends of the axle. The axle then drove a chain on each side that went down to the wheel which was mounted to the other end of the swing arm. It was an innovative system that allowed for a independent suspension with less unsprung weight than other systems, or so goes the theory. The reality was that they had issues and thus Honda switched to a more conventional setup when they went to the S800 model.

          The other neat thing was the roller bearing crankshaft. The engine has no oil pressure because of this, but that's the way it was designed. Soichiro Honda was such an innovative engineer and outside the box thinker that he rightly deserves to be seen among the automotive engineering greats. Anyone can build a technically innovative exotic. It takes a real genius to build an innovative car priced for the common man.

  • raphaelinberlin

    Toyota's rally heritage bodes well for some wacko 4wd celicas (did Toyota ever do a homologation special corolla?) being collectible in the future, and the crazy loom-woven carbon LFA will certainly have a spot in the history books.

  • tonyola

    Other potential classics:

    First generation Mazda RX-7
    Datsun 1600/2000 roadsters
    Datsun 240Z 1970-1972
    Land Cruiser 50 wagon 1968-1980
    Second generation Toyota MR2 turbo
    Lexus SC300/400 (long shot for now)
    Acura NSX (of course)

  • dukeisduke

    I own a Previa, and I think they'll be collectible. They're unusual (mid-engined and rear-wheel-drive, with a split third seat that folds up against the sides) and there's quite a following, with a Yahoo! group site and email list. A lot of them have gone over 200 and 300 thousand miles, and they're incredibly durable.

    FJ40 Land Cruisers are already collectible, and I think other Land Cruisers will be collectibles.

  • dukeisduke

    What is that red-and-white wagon? I like that, and the gold and blue Crowns.

    • tonyola

      It's a Toyopet Masterline, a semi-commercial wagon based on the RS Crown of the '50s. It could also be had as – are you sitting down? – a pickup!
      <img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5173/5474828836_dc6a242f36.jpg&quot; width=400>

      • dukeisduke

        Sweet!

      • Smells_Homeless

        Just when I'd established that there wasn't a Toyota for me. Argh.

  • Absolutely!

    Early Coronas, Corollas, Celicas, Hiluxes, FJs, MR2s, Supras and the BTTF 4×4 for starters. There are quite a few cool 'Yotas to be had out there. But, it kinda depends on what you define as "collectible" though don't it? If you are talking speculator territory like Woodies, Shelbys, Daytona coupes or Hemi cars, probably no, with the exception of the S200.

    But if you are talking about vehicles that people like and want, restore and collect as a hobby, then hell yeah. Already happened.

    I personally have an unexplainable stiffy for the SC400 that I WILL own someday. Gotta wait till they become old, crappy and unreliable enough to feel comfortable driving them though.

    (Forgot to mention Honda Citys and Honda Beats. I love Kei cars.)

  • Lotte

    Going out on a limb here, but maybe the cars my generation's grown up with ('96 Camrys; even the 03 Accord we have now) would probably be 'collectible' when I'm old and slower of movement. They would probably be 'recognized classics' like how tony240z put it above; wouldn't be worth much per se but chances are there's more than a couple forgotten in barns somewhere. Modern Camrys are everywhere right now and there will definitely be a time when we all go "Hey look! A Camry! Remember when those were everywhere back then?"

    • From_a_Buick_6

      I remember being probably 6 or 7 years old and wondering aloud if my parents then-newish '91 Camry would be a car people collect and restore like the tri-five Chevys and early Mustangs.

      I was a strange kid.

  • skitter

    <img src="http://i615.photobucket.com/albums/tt237/jskitter/hooniverse/SpaceCruiser.jpg&quot; width="500">
    Given the baffling cheapness of Corvair forward-controls, I don't have much hope for a Space Cruiser as an investment. But does it deserve a spot in the Hooniversal garage? Absolutely. Spec ours with the center-console Ice Maker.

  • Jim-Bob

    I don't see why not. Toyota has made plenty of interesting cars over the years and several of them would find a place in my garage if I had the space- something I can't say for any Alfa Romeo or most Lancias (with the exception of the Stratos and Delta Integrale of course). There is something about a humble car that survives the years that is interesting. You expect to find a well-preserved Ferrari but a Toyota or a Lada? Not so much. I'd even pick up a Yugo, Trabant or Hyundai Excel for the curiosity of it were I to find one that was well-preserved and inexpensive. To me a car is not really all that interesting (at least for my personal collection) if I can't play with it in a hands-on manner and find parts for it easily. Japanese car parts are generally cheap and that makes them more fun (for me) to own.

  • scoutdude

    If by collectible you mean worth big bucks then other than the 2000GT no. Early FJs are reaching prices where they could be considered collectible on the basis that restored ones sell for far more than they are actually worth.

  • 2000GTs (and, to a slightly lesser extent, Mk. IV Supras and first-gen RAV4 EVs) are already hella pricey.

    What else has potential upside?
    -Celica All-Trac Turbo (Group A WRC homologation FTW)
    -First-gen Camry turbodiesel (bonus points for manual trans and/or Liftback)
    -Previa (sheer WTF-factor)
    -First-gen Lexus SC300 (basically a plusher, slightly larger Mk. IV Supra non-turbo, and a 5-speed was offered!)
    -Damn-near anything 2JZ-powered, come to think of it (Those engine-grenading Supra junkies have to get their replacement blocks from somewhere, you know. Matching-numbers last-gen Cressidas will become like hen's teeth.)
    -AE85/86 RWD Corolla (as mentioned earlier, un-wrecked, un-Takumi'd survivors will be worth their weight in gold)
    -SW20 MR2 (Turbos especially) (Do I need to spell this out?)
    -Current-gen ('07-Present) Camry SE (laugh all you want, but having driven both a four and a V6, I can tell you the chassis, brakes and steering are alarmingly well-sorted. They even installed a rear strut tower brace that removes the rear seat fold-down function, so don't go telling me it's just some ricer-riffic appearance package.)

  • gooseboy78

    also umolested ae101 fxgt.
    1970s toyota crowns full solid chassis in them like the 260c datsun
    any ke 20 corrola that hasnt been rotorised
    a lexus ls 400 v8 unmodified (future clssic)

  • coupeZ600

    The only non-Wagon/Van I've ever owned was a '77 Celica GT Coupe back in the early-80's and was incredibly bad-ass. The first vehicle I ever drove over 100mph, and the only one I've ever personally driven over 120.

  • dustin_driver

    Yes, please. I'd like a Gen 1 Celica notchback with a turbo and an Iron Pig in gray/white with a modern Hilux diesel mill.

    <img src="http://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2010/07/20/14/37/1971_toyota_celica_st_coupe-pic-1406901961430070642.jpeg"&gt;
    <img src="http://www.rmlca.ab.ca/Images/readers_rigs/shane-fj55.jpg&quot; width="500">

  • Kevin

    1st gen 4×4 Toyota trucks ,79-83, are becoming very collectable and nice stock examples are very hard to find as most rusted away or worked hard and put away wet. The kids love them for trail rigs because of the solid straight front axles and 22r motor reliability so many were trail modified quick again makes a nice stocker a rare bird.