Here's the SUV that launched the legend. This 1986 Toyota 4Runner
is a preserved iconic SUV that has everything you love - from the
removable hardtop to proper 4x4 prowess.
Today we know the 4Runner as equal parts cool and rugged. But since
this one is early in the first generation, it was hard to know back
then how much we'd be on the lookout for these over three decades
later. That's why it's so nice to find such a complete example like
this. The sheetmetal's straightness tells the story of a
well-respected classic. And the red paint with matte red on the
fiberglass hardtop is quite appealing. The presentation is not the
kind you'd traditionally put on a car show lawn, but that's exactly
how you want a proper 4Runner to be. After all, it has the 4x4
ability to tear through the lawn on its way to the mud hole. You
even have nice extra-duty features like the BF Goodrich All-terrain
T/As, rock shields on the headlights, and a Class III trailer hitch
with proper wiring plug.
The interior remains quite stock and complete. The cloth seats and
well-done dash are all part of a package that reminds us why these
have such a well-earned rugged reputation. Plus, the high-back
front buckets, grippy factory steering wheel, and the position of
the gearshift all have a bit of a sporty feeling. The removable
hardtop gives you a nice convertible SUV experience, and there's
also a glass sunroof for added open-air fun. You can even get the
R134a air conditioning serviced if you want full climate control
when you're open to the world. And there's a power window in the
rear that goes down to give you a nice tailgate for everything from
the campsite to sporting events.
Under the hood is what makes these Toyotas so desirable. The
2.4-liter fuel-injected 22R motor is the backbone on which Toyota
has built their reputation for reliability. This one has an
original but tidy look with the right signs of good maintenance and
even an aluminum radiator. The motor runs nicely, and you get full
control over it thanks to the five-speed manual transmission
featuring overdrive. And the way this all feels out on the road
proves that this 4Runner has a lot of work and play left in it,
too. The two-speed transfer case for true 4x4 ability, power
steering, and power brakes with front discs all make this a fun
choice to run around town or the trail.
This has been an Arizona truck its whole life, and so it's that
ideal kind of desert classic. You already know how great these
Toyotas are, so don't miss your opportunity at a preserved example.