Classic Toyota Pickup Project Pays Homage to Dad

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1983 Toyota Pickup

Yota Tech member wanted a truck just like his father owned, but it quickly turns into a lifelong project of its own.

Many of us can trace our love of all things Toyota back to our parents. Perhaps your dad owned a classic pickup or 4Runner that you fell in love with riding around in on family vacations. Maybe you were even lucky enough to inherit that vehicle once you reached driving age. In the case of Yota Tech member Abraham Contreras, the situation was a bit different, yet still very familiar.

“I just bought a 1983 SR5 4×4 pickup and plan on fully restoring it. There isn’t too much missing, I just wanna make it look just like my dads since he had a brand new ’83. I am rebuilding the motor right now and will put up some pictures soon.”

1983 Toyota Pickup

The OP looks to have scored a seriously clean truck to start with, but it did come with at least one big issue.

“Got it down to $3,200. The guy said it had a blown head gasket, so he gave me a brand new head with it and a bunch of other new parts. I took the head off and it wasn’t the head gasket. The timing cover had a crack on it, so it was getting water in the motor from there. Since I already had the head and carb off, I decided to rebuild the motor. I didn’t want to put a new head on a worn motor.”

Before you knew it, the engine was out, rebuilt, and back in the truck. The OP then gave the pickup a good wax, which really made a huge difference. It was good enough that we didn’t receive another update for a full five years. Then, this project restarted with earnest as the OP worked to convert his Toyota to power steering.

1983 Toyota Pickup

The next step was to replace the worn out suspension bushings and leaf springs. The brakes were next on the list, along with a respray for the grille, front bumper, and headlight trim. The OP just kept tackling project after project, even little things like a malfunctioning odometer.

Lots of searching turned up replacements for wear items including the center console and shift knob. The OP even went to the trouble of replacing worn factory decals. Unfortunately, an off-road journey ended early thanks to a broken slave cylinder, which necessitated more repairs. But that didn’t stop the OP from meeting up with a bunch of fellow early Toyota pickup fans for some more action.

1983 Toyota Pickup

Since then, this old Toyota project just keeps chugging along. What started out as a bit of a tribute to dad has turned into a lifelong project, and it’s certainly one worth keeping up with. So head over here and stay tuned for future updates!

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Brett Foote has been covering the automotive industry for over five years and is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto Group sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other popular sites.

He has been an automotive enthusiast since the day he came into this world and rode home from the hospital in a first-gen Mustang, and he's been wrenching on them nearly as long.

In addition to his expertise writing about cars, trucks, motorcycles, and every other type of automobile, Brett had spent several years running parts for local auto dealerships.

You can follow along with his builds and various automotive shenanigans on Instagram: @bfoote.

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