Special 1981 Toyota 4×4 Is Brought Back to Life

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1981 Toyota 4x4 Restored

After buying this Toyota pickup new and having it sit in a barn for the past five years, the OP has gotten ‘Dixie’ back on the road.

Forum member yotantn purchased his 1981 Toyota 4×4 pickup brand new back in the spring of 1981 and he has had it since then. It was the first vehicle that he bought himself and when he started his build thread back in 2012, the truck had been sitting in his barn for a few years. However, he had decided to clean up the truck that he named Dixie back in the 80s, documenting the entire five-year process on the forum.

The Introduction

When the OP introduced us to his 1981 Toyota 4×4 pickup build project, he started by explaining why this particular truck was so special.

1981 Toyota with Camper

I bought Dixie new in the spring 1981. My first vehicle I paid for. $260.21 for 4 years at 17% interest. LOL. NO A/C. First date with my wife in it/College/ my life. Then, I had kids, more life, bills, travel, work, etc. and Dixie just got left in the barn. Listened to lots of Alabama, drank a little (sitting in the drive inn or the lake, not driving), stained the top with Marlboro 100’s in a box, put a camper top on it and the wife and I had a lot of fun with that.

I’m starting to get to the place in my life now and in the mood now to resurrect her. This is her as she sits now:

1981 Toyota in a Barn

I don’t expect her to ever be what she was. Heck, I’m not. LOL. But I do want to get her going again. It’ll take a lot of money I don’t have, but…you don’t live but once, right? No hurries though. 86K miles. Did have air added on it. Right now I just want to get her cranked. Last time I turned her over was about 4 years ago. But, I did try last fall and she’d kick, but wouldn’t keep running. Just idle down. I’m good with some parts, but not carbs. Gonna get a guy down the road to maybe check the carb out. I’ve siphoned all the gas I could get out.

Shoot, she’s in pretty good shape for 31. Just wanted to say hi and let you know what I’ve got in front of me. And yes, I know it’ll cost more than it’s worth. But, I also know what it’s worth to me..and now my kids. They’re PUMPED to get it going again. Kinda funny how it’s leaked over into my daughter’s boyfriend wants to help. Family project I reckon.

He also included a handful of pictures in the “before” form, sitting in the barn covered in dust, safe from the elements, but in need of some serious attention.

1981 Toyota Interior

A Look at the Old Days

Before getting into the restoration process of this 1981 Toyota pickup, the OP shared a collection of pictures of Dixie in her prime – playing in the mud, conquering the snow and serving as his wedding vehicle.

1981 Toyota in Mud

In seeing these, there is little question as to why the OP kept the truck all of these years and why he decided to begin taking the steps to get his 1981 Toyota running great and looking great.

1981 Toyota Wedding

Before beginning the full process, the OP and his son gave Dixie a bath in the barn, at which point we saw that the truck was in pretty nice shape for its age.

1981 Toyota Clean in the Barn

"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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