The Toyota Stout is a beautiful pickup that deserves its own article, and yet, in Jalopnik’s 15-year history, the truck hasn’t gotten one. I’m here to change that by enlightening you about the wonders of this incredible pickup.
My coworker Jason stole some of my thunder yesterday by posting a picture of the Toyota Stout, but you deserve to know more. We all do. Jalopnik’s coverage of the Stout is limited to two tiny mentions from 2013 and 2006, and that’s just ridiculous.
I spotted this red 1966 Toyota Stout for sale on Facebook Marketplace in Albany, Oregon, and I have to be honest: I had no clue what it was. That’s unacceptable for an editor and truck fan on one of the biggest car enthusiast websites on earth. But instead of simply bearing my shame in silence, I’m going to be the change I want to see in this world. Let’s talk about the Stout.
The reason why nobody talks about these things is that they were only available in the U.S. for a handful of years in the 1960s—between 1964 and 1969 according to the Truth About Cars, though Toyota’s website seems to imply that sales stopped in 1967, and I can’t seem to find any U.S.-spec 1968s or 1969s anywhere on the interwebs. TTAC also says Toyota sold only four (4) in the first year of sales in the U.S., and that demand for the rather simple pickup truck remained low throughout the years.
So if you didn’t know this thing existed, don’t feel bad. Toyota offered them only for a short while, and nobody bought them.
The vehicle sold in the U.S. is actually the second-generation Stout, with the first generation being a “Toyopet” sold in Japan in 1959 (Toyopet was the brand under which Toyota sold various smaller Toyota vehicles, including light trucks). The second-gen Stout entered this magnificent automotive world the following year, 1960, so it’d been out a few years prior to the truck’s North American debut.
Under the hood of the second-gen Stout was a 1.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine mated to a four-speed manual transmission (with a short 5.2:1 non-synchronized first gear) sending power to a solid rear axle. On the “Light Stout” models sold in the U.S., the front suspension was an independent double A-arm setup with coil springs, while leaf springs held up the load in the rear. The U.S. Stout—and later Stouts offered in other markets—received an 85 horsepower 1.9-liter inline-four, though a 95 horsepower 2.0-liter was available starting in the late 1960s Stouts (though I’m not sure if the U.S. model ever got this motor).
Have a peek at that front suspension, courtesy of Bring a Trailer (heavier-duty models offered in other markets featured leaf springs and a simple I-beam front axle):
And here’s the rear end, which helped the truck achieve a half-ton payload rating despite a curb weight of only around 2,800 pounds.
The 1.9-liter 3R-B engine looks like this:
And if you’d like to see the four-speed column shift transmission in use (four on the “tree!”), behold this glorious video:
The truck is so basic that Toyota was advertising, even as late as 1967, that it has an alternator instead of a generator, which had pretty much disappeared from cars in the early 1960s.
The interior features a simple split-bench, a classic horn ring on the steering wheel, and an ignition cylinder on the left side of the steering column. More interesting than that is the advertised “ventilation system,” which takes outside air from the cowl, sends it through a vent at the center of the dash, into the cabin, and then out through the doors, exhausting the air through holes in the door jambs.
Here’s a nice look at the dashboard, gorgeous curved windshield, and cool linear speedometer:
And below you can see the interior in non-motion-picture form. Take a look at the sticker on the left side of the dashboard telling the driver the maximum speed in each gear. The W,P and L switches are—per a Bring a Trailer commenter—there for the wiper, parking lights on top of the fender, and headlights, with the high-beams being a floor-mounted stomp switch.
Toyota has a nice writeup about the second-gen Stout on its website. Have a read:
Production of the second-generation Stout started in July 1960. Seeing that the “flat-deck styling” featuring a flat-top hood had been rapidly becoming prevalent in the United States since around 1958, Toyota went ahead and introduced this design to the Stout even before the style was adopted by domestic passenger cars, giving the truck a distinctly modern look. The curved glass windshield wrapped around the front corners, eliminating the vent windows. The vehicle length and width were extended to the limits of the small car category to make the interior more spacious, while the maximum payload capacity remained the same at 1,750 kg. The quality of the frame and brakes was improved, and a hypoid gear was adopted for the differential to lower the floor and center of gravity, as well as to improve the power transmission efficiency.
The mention here about stretching the truck’s dimensions to the limits of the small car category is interesting, and—particularly when you look at the bed—you can tell that the company’s engineers were trying to keep exterior dimensions down while maximizing utility. Just look at how thin the bedsides are, and how much width (62 inches) it affords for hauling.
It’s such an understated, yet elegant design with the high-mounted turn signals, curved windshield, A-pillar located rearward of the door hinges, quad headlights, and simplistic box.
Toyota’s literature on the Stout continues:
The model variations included a single cab truck (RK45, payload capacity: 1.75 tons), a double cab truck (RK45P, 1 ton), and a light van (RK45V, 1 ton). The light van featured one door on the right and two on the left for practical reasons. Stimulated by the increased competitiveness of the Stout, Nissan fully redesigned its Junior truck in January 1961 and added a 2-ton version with a 1,900 cc engine. In response, Toyota introduced a 2-ton model (RK100) fitted with a 1,900 cc 80 hp 3R-B engine and four headlamps. A minor model change of the Stout in 1967 replaced all its engines with a 2,000 cc 5R unit, and the model subname was changed to the RK101.
At the same time, the model name was changed from Toyopet Stout to Toyota Stout.
The one for sale in Oregon seems like a great deal, with an asking price of $3,000. Finding parts would be difficult—you’d likely have to import components from Japan on Australia—but it’d be worth it, I think, because you’d always have the most interesting Japanese pickup at every car show you attended.
More importantly, you’d have a small truck with a bench seat, four-speed column shift manual transmission, and the coolest parking light/turn signal location I’ve ever seen.