Four Generations of Toyota Hilux at 2018 Japanese Classic Car Show

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Showcase of vintage Toyota trucks & SUVs illustrates evolution of popular Hilux model.

On September 15th, 2018, downtown Long Beach, California once again played host to the annual Japanese Classic Car Show (JCCS).

For the 14th year in a row, hundreds of classic vehicles from Japan’s top manufacturers dotted the shoreline, giving attendees plenty to enjoy and reminisce about. And while the majority of vehicles on display are usually sports cars and sedans, the showing of trucks and SUVs grows each year.

We were able to find a total of four generations of the Toyota Hilux at the show, starting with this modified 1st-gen example from 1970, pictured above.

This olive green 1976 Hilux falls in the second generation of Toyota’s then-singular truck series, and also marks the year that the name “Hilux” was retired in North America.

While the rest of the world continued using “Hilux,” this model lineup was simply known as “Truck” or “Pickup Truck” in the U.S. We were able to spot two of these rebranded pickups at JCCS, rounding out the third generation which spanned from 1978 to 1983.

The year 1984 marked the fourth generation of the Hilux as well as the introduction of the 4Runner in North America. This SUV was renamed for the U.S. market, and is based on the camper version of the Hilux, also known as the Hilux Surf in Japan.

Eight generations after the original release of Toyota’s sole truck, we have the Tacoma, Tundra, and a slew of crossovers & SUVs. But regardless of the name, its essence can be linked to the humble beginnings of the Toyota Hilux. It was quite a treat to be able to trace the evolution of the Hilux in one place, and we look forward to seeing more off-road and utility vehicles at next year’s Japanese Classic Car Show.

Photos for YotaTech by Andrew Chen.

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