Truck Thursday – Double Dose of Toyota Trucktastic Cruiser Classics

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I promise, I don’t go looking for classic Toyotas, but somehow, they always seem to find me.  Be it driving around on my lunch hour, or spotting one in the crowded DMV parking lot, these two sought me out last week, tracking me down, jumping into the spotlight of my scanning eye.  I guess I was not prepared for a sheer quantity of cool vintage trucks that have survived out here in the Nevada high desert.

Truck #1 – 

The first truck I found while minding my own business driving around on my lunch hour. This truck, dubbed “Tim’s Toy” was a work truck by the truest definition of the word. The guy, presumably Tim, was parked up outside of a storage warehouse just a couple blocks from my office, and the bay doors to the storage were open, revealing an interesting sight that was the Harrah’s casino storage facility. The workers inside were apparently still shuffling holiday decorations around from the Christmas/New Years fiasco. 

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I drove past the lot, and when I noticed the red-on-rust beauty parked on the far side of the building, I did the only sensible thing and ‘hung a U-ey’ to go grab some shots of it. We already know I am a sucker for a well-used Landy, and this one was no exception. A diesel model that had clearly given 110% its entire life, this truck wasn’t begging for anything, let alone attention. Whether it asked for it or not, it had certainly earned my affection. 

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The diesel engine for this truck was introduced in about 1973, but being that this truck has its wiper blades hinged at the bottom of the frame indicates that it is at least a 74 model. This model also appears to have the later “top mount washer nozzle” mounted in the roof ahead of the windshield, indicating that it was built after September of 1977.  I’m sure other enthusiasts can get a closer date than I can, but this truck left the factory between late 77 and late 83 when production ended.  Being a late model Cruiser, this one must have been equipped with the later 4 liter “2H” diesel engine, plugging away to administer 105 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. That engine will continue to produce that power until the earth dies and the sun stops burning.

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I don’t know what Tim does for fun, but this truck has certainly seen some things. The roll bar, a very different model from the one installed in the white truck below, doesn’t appear to have been used, but sometimes it’s better to have one and not need it than the reverse. The interior had been completely stripped down to bare bones.  There was nothing in this truck that wasn’t 100% necessary. A drivers seat, tattered and torn; a shifter with worn black knob sat atop a tall and canted lever; a dashboard replete with an array of gauges, both stock and otherwise; a steering wheel missing its horn button accompaniment. Everything necessary, and nothing extraneous.

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The cabin, outside of the captain’s seat, was kitted with a huge box of tools, perhaps half a dozen lengths of sturdy chain, and an off road jack. The jerry-can of fuel on the back, and a spare wheel that appeared to get regular workouts completed the look. If ‘ol Timmy boy isn’t prepared for doomsday, I’m not sure who is. This truck is The Business!

If I hadn’t had to get back to work, I’d have stuck around for another couple of hours just taking in the nuance from every angle possible.

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Truck #2 – 

The second half of our Toyota two-step twins here was waiting patiently for me outside of the Sparks, NV department of motor vehicles office when I recently had to go register my abysmally boring Mazda3 hatch. Somehow I didn’t burn down the building when registration and license fees cost in the several hundreds of dollars, but I was still fuming when I got out to the parking lot to install my new plates. Luckily, this plucky little bugger was there to cool my head.

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The top-mounted windshield wipers instantly indicate that this is an earlier 65 through August 74 model.  

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As beat and banged up as Tim’s Toy was, this milky-white beauty was its polar opposite in near-showroom condition, and frankly, I’m not sure which I prefer. Prior to laying eyes on this one, I would have said rough and ready in a heartbeat, but there is something about that virgin sheetmetal that just makes you want to break it in. Similar to breaking a horse, once the task is accomplished, both you and the truck share a more profound bond.

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I didn’t get as many pictures of this one, because I was blocking the driveway at the DMV, and some people were starting to get irate with me. Fearing the worst, I got back in my newly Nevada registered boring-mobile and headed home. Of both trucks, I only have this to say: “OMIGOD those stripes are awesome-sauce!”

So, which one would you pick, and why? 

All images ©2014 Hooniverse/Bradley C. Brownell, All Rights Reserved.

Bradley C. Brownell is an Editor with Hooniverse.com, but he also contributes to his own site “BavarianDrive“. Head over there for more of his work.

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