1981 Toyota SR5: A Legend, Restored

Revolving Garage, First Gear Media LLC

Make: Toyota
Model: Pickup (regular bed)
Year: 1981
Mileage: 52,531 km shown, TMU
Engine: Inline 4 Cyl. (22R)
Trans: 5 Speed Manual; 4WD;
Manual transfer case with Hi/Low;
Manual locking hubs
VIN: JT4RN38D8B0007556
Full Restoration 2017 - 2018
Location: Bozeman, MT

Revolving Garage, First Gear Media LLC

The Toyota SR5 Pickup* is a vehicle that has reached legendary status. It was never rare, nor fast, and when built it was an inexpensive and utilitarian tool. It is doubtful that magazines ogled over any stats on its release, and you can be certain no one stashed one away as a blue chip investment. Instead, its legend was built over time. Reliability, durability, ease of field repairs, and simple good looks slowly pulled the SR5 to the top of the automotive heap. Direct descendants of the SR5 are still made by Toyota today, known as the Tacoma. The shear breadth of popularity of this model is stunning: from farmers who were won over by its narrow track in plow fields, to outdoor enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies drawn to its off-road and gear hauling capability. Famously, the British show Top Gear once filmed a multitude of unbelievable stunts to try to break an SR5 (known in much of the world as a Hilux), and still failed. The video is worth a watch, and contributed to boosting the SR5 to mythical status. See the video here.

This beautiful example, originally delivered in Canada, features the coveted round headlights of the early Toyota pickups. It has a clean Montana title, and was fully restored from 2017 to 2018.  Read more about this particular vehicle below.

*The nomenclature of this model of truck is interesting, and perhaps a story in of itself. In most of the world it was "HiLux," while in the U.S. it was officially and yet not terribly creatively called, "Pickup." Over time, it has come to be known by the name of its popular options package, "SR5," despite the fact that SR5 pack vehicles were offered throughout the Toyota lineup. We refer to it simply as SR5 here.

Revolving Garage, First Gear Media LLC
Revolving Garage, First Gear Media LLC
Revolving Garage, First Gear Media LLC

This example was restored from 2017 to 2018 by the prior owner, a Toyota enthusiast. There are 52,531 kilometers shown on the odometer, the total mileage is unknown. It shows beautifully in Metallic Red paint. Although not an original Toyota color, it just plain works on this pickup. Fresh paint is highlighted by period correct decals. The lift is achieved through re-arched springs, instead of a body lift, the latter being a common short-cut to fit larger tires. Pro Comp shocks were fitted at the time of restoration.

The drive train is believed to be original to the car. It has an 8 valve, SOHC, 2.4L inline 4 cylinder motor, known as the Toyota 22R. This early 22R motor is carbureted, and received headers during restoration. The transmission is a 5 speed overdrive manual. The four wheel drive system is fully functioning with 8 inch solid axels, manual locking hubs, and Toyota 4 cylinder transfer case with manual shift lever. Tires are fresh Goodyear Wrangler Duratracs, size 33x12.50, R15, wrapped around 15 inch wheels. The tires carry a date code of "3415" translating to a build date of mid August 2015. Duratracs are an extremely popular tire for both on-road and off-road performance, with siping providing excellent snow and ice traction.

Revolving Garage, First Gear Media LLC