Could This Gray Market JDM 1989 Toyota Hilux Really Pick Up $16,995?

Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Hilux seemingly has it all. Its rare-in-the-states JDM body, a diesel mill, and 4x4 chassis might just fill you with desire, that is as long as you don’t mind buying it emptying your wallet.

What would you call the wheels on last Friday’s 2003 VW Jetta 1.8-turbo wagon, fat or phat? Either way, those Brocks with tires stretched over them like a Brazilian bikini tying to contain Kate Upton’s bodacious bod were four of the contributing factors toward that car’s eventual 68% Crack Pipe loss. Interestingly, a number of folks on the VW Vortex shared a different opinion, and that’s why we don’t talk politics at the dinner table.


Speaking of politics, have you ever heard of the chicken tax? That is a 25% import tariff imposed in 1963 by the Johnson administration on potato starch, brandy (lunatics!) and—of utmost importance to us—light trucks. The tariff was brought on in response to like regulations imposed on cheap American chickens by France and Germany.

One of the primary results of the tariff was that mini pickups imported from places like Japan faced a 25% pricing premium if brought over fully assembled. The tariff didn’t apply to parts however, a loophole that companies exploited by shipping over bed-less trucks to the U.S. and then completing them here. That sneaky “chassis-cab” loophole was closed by the Man in 1980.

That was nine years before this 1989 Toyota Hilux crew cab was built, although the tax wouldn’t have ever applied to it anyway as Toyota never offered a four-door version of the venerable trucklet here in the States at all at the time.


This one was brought over by a private party and is claimed to have all its papers in order, Mr. Trump. Today it seems you can’t hardly find a Toyota Tacoma without some sort of extended cab here, but back in the day, when this Hilux was new, the reverse was the case.


That makes this truck muy interesting as it combines the Hilux’s legendary durability—remember when Top Gear tried to kill one and failed?—with the ability to share that robustness with four of your closest friends.


Not only that but it comes with Toyota’s 2,779-cc diesel four, another thing we were denied here. That oil burner is spec’d at 91-horses and 138 foot-pounds of torque. A five-speed manual gearbox backs that up and the trucks rolls on a 4x4 chassis with manual locking front hubs.

The body looks to be in fine shape with no evidence of any major damage or road rot. There are some places where stickers used to reside that do need some Goof Off® though. If you want to get the full tour, you can watch this deliberately paced video from the seller.


A peek under its skirt reveals a solid looking frame and enough ground clearance to initiate an impromptu limbo contest. Tires are BFGs and wheels are… well maybe those are factory. I’ve never been to Toyota City, one of the places where these were built so I can’t tell you for sure. I have been to Fremont California however, another place Toyota once built pick ups and where today Tesla puts together their glorified golf carts. Fun fact!


Pop a door and be taken back to the ‘80s as the interior on this truck is not just expansive owing to its two-deep seating arrangement, but is also a fine example of the era, with only some minor wear and a tear in the driver’s squab to show for its age.

You’ll also note, this being originally a JDM ride and forbidden fruit in the U.S., that the steering wheel is on the right side. That’s right, now you can have the same kind of fun as does the postman. Why it has a Carina steering wheel is a bit baffling to me, however.


The truck is promised to come with all the right paperwork to ensure your investment doesn’t end up a very expensive cube, and it only has 118K on the clock so it’ll go a long way before it needs to get cubed through natural causes. The price for all this wonderfulness is $16,995 and it’s now time for you all to vote on it and that and see what becomes of it all.


What do you think, is this JDM truck worth that kind of American cash? Or, is this Hilux’s price the low point in its description?

You decide!


New York Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to TheLateApx for the hookup!

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.