Flawless 1983 Toyota SR5 Shines on the Auction Block

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1983 Toyota SR5 Pickup

Beautifully restored exterior and a modified suspension system make this classic Toyota pickup a show-ready off-roader.

While flipping through the vehicles sold during the Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach 2019 auction, we came across a 1983 Toyota SR5 pickup that we thought was either a stunning restoration or a truck that had been stored since new. It turns out that it was subject to a full restoration, but the project didn’t just return the classic Toyota pickup to its original form.

Instead, the exterior sports the classic look, but the suspension and chassis have been modified to handle the roughest off-road situations. Then again, would you really want to risk smacking this stunning Toyota into a tree?

1983 Toyota SR5 Pickup

The Look

This 1983 Toyota pickup has the look that every lover of ‘80s pickups wants, regardless of the brand or model. It is lifted with bright polished aluminum wheels wrapped in big, beefy tires and a chrome roll bar in the bed carries a set of off-road lights, complete with the smiley face covers. It is painted in an awesomely-‘80s beige with triple-tone brown stripes and the chrome trim on the front end matches the bright wheels and roll bar. The listing points out that while the truck has been fully restored, this is all factory sheet metal and in rust repairs were performed, so this truck has clearly always been cared-for.

1983 Toyota SR5 Pickup

On the inside, this 1983 Toyota provides its first hint of being modified (other than the obvious lift kit), with Master Craft Baja R/S bucket seats, custom door panels and a RetroSound stereo system. It should be noted that this truck has factory power steering and factory air conditioning, so it is as luxurious as it is off-road-ready.

1983 Toyota SR5 Pickup


More Than a Lift

Speaking of off-road-readiness, this classic Toyota pickup is powered by the original 22R 2.4-liter inline-4 engine mated to a 5-speed manual transmission, but most of the other key components under the skin have been upgraded.

1983 Toyota SR5 Pickup

The truck has been lifted 2.5 inches with help from a set of Northwest shackles and Fox Racing 2.0 remote reservoir shocks that also allow this classic Toyota to handle the roughest terrain. That lift kit makes plenty of room for the 17-inch American Racing wheels wrapped in 33-inch tires, and to turn that big meat, this truck has 5.29 Richmond gears in the front and rear.

1983 Toyota SR5 Pickup

The only bad news about this sweet 1983 Toyota SR5 pickup is that is sold last month at the Palm Beach auction with a hammer price of $33,000. Fans of classic American performance cars often question whether Japanese performance vehicles will prove to be valuable collector’s items as they get older, and that closing price proves that they do. Granted, this truck likely cost a pretty penny to restore and modified, but at $33,000, this truck sold for more than three times what it would have cost when new.

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"Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500," says Patrick Rall, a lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years. "He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car – a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16 while I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

"Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group. While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

"Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never “work” a day in your life," adds Rall, who has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now automotive journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular auto websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

"I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

"My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

"Being based on Detroit," says Rall, "I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit's Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.

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