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We live at a semi-rural town, and Toyota 4x4s dot the landscape and roads as far as the eye can see! Last week, I was walking our tri-mix Australian Shepherd, Maggie, across a field to the local Starbucks, her favorite hangout. Over a quarter-mile away, I could see a lifted, white-red-and black truck standing tall on big tires. From a distance, I thought, "Ford, Chevy or Dodge Ram?...That's a big, aggressive looking truck!" Well, it was a Tundra, and it did look tough! We have Tundras in the family, one brother-in-law pulls a travel trailer. He's talked about front brake rotor issues but otherwise been thrilled with the truck... Toyota earned its way into the full-size light truck market, and it took a long time to develop a vehicle they would call a Toyota 4x4 pickup! I worked with the I-Force engine close-up at the launch of the Sequoia. John Davis (PBS Motorweek fame) and I were commissioned to do the national point-of-sale dealership introduction DVD for this model and other Toyota truck/SUV models. On film, I emphasized the I-Force V-8 gains. I'd like to know what you're doing with your Toyota 4x4 pickup, the Tundra or Tacoma—or 4Runner. Let's get that conversation going, right here at this forum—and get others to join! Moses
Toyota entered the U.S. truck market with the Stout pickup in the mid-'sixties, a truck with an identity crisis...U.S. trucks were large and mostly V-8 powered, and the Stout limped into the picture with a scaled down chassis and four-cylinder engine. Great for a 2nd or 3rd World hauler, ill-suited for the recently completed, high speed interstate highway system in America. The Stout was remarkably well-built, truly a benchmark for Toyota. In the U.S.A., the Stout's largest success is its current collectibility as an iconic, cult classic—like many of the Japanese motorcycles from that era. Then the first Energy Crisis hit, and fuel efficient trucks were in short supply. Ford rapidly turned to Mazda's Courier, G.M. partnered with Isuzu's Chevrolet LUV and Chrysler turned to Mitsubishi. Toyota simply pressed sales of its rugged Hi-Lux pickup. That lightweight, 4-cylinder Hi-Lux model became legendary in short order. Toyota mini-trucks, especially after the 1979 introduction of the 4WD models with beam front and rear axles, established themselves as the most reliable, durable, longest lasting and certainly fuel efficient trucks in the industry. Earning a cult following, modified 1979-85 Toyota 20R and 22R/RE powered 4x4 trucks still ply the Rubicon Trail, demonstrating the worth of these scale versions of the FJ Land Cruisers! It was quite natural to include these Toyota trucks in my Toyota Truck & Land Cruiser Owner's Bible (Bentley Publshers)! The 4Runner launched on the mini-truck platform. I was working for Rose Toyota at San Diego when it did. By the mid-'eighties, the heftier 4Runner and consumer demand for performance encouraged Toyota's first V-6 offering. The mini-truck and 4Runner put on weight and size, now possible with the added power. Note: A tribute to the indestructible nature of the inline four-cylinder 22R engine design: its ability to lug around a mid-'eighties phenomenon, the aftermarket Toyota camper/motorhome that required dual rear wheels! The remaining camper/motorhomes are still seen crawling up grades in the U.S.A. This is a remarkable testament, tribute to one of the best engine designs, especially for its size, in automotive history. Toyota has never rushed to market with a model, especially within its truck lines. The Tacoma eventually replaced the mini-pickup, offering modern powertrains, body styling, improved ergonomics and chassis/handling. However, a full-size V-8 contender remained a consumer wish-thought in the U.S. and other Toyota markets. Finally, the Tundra came to life as Toyota would have it: a solid, reliable and rugged pickup—just what buyers expect from Toyota! This forum is a celebration of all things "Toyota truck". From technology and projects to sharing experiences and restoration tips, Toyota owners have one distinct thing in common—valuing Toyota trucks!—Moses Ludel