How The Hilux Evolved Into The 4Runner And Let Toyota Take Over The World

History

Yes, you can actually thank Winnebago for building the first 4Runner.

Toyota’s rise to prominence in the US wasn’t a battle the automaker won easily. It took a variety of factors, from an oil crisis that caught domestic manufacturers off guard to a reputation for iron-clad reliability that was near impossible for any other automotive world power to replicate. By the 1980s, Toyota was entrenched in the US market, but it kept the onslaught coming with cars like the well-rounded entry-level Corolla and its famously impenetrable trucks.

One particular Toyota truck fan and dealership owner, Jack Safro, is the man to credit with bringing the 4Runner to life. His love for Toyota trucks was strained each winter when the Wisconsin car dealer had to chose between the bitter cold of his Toyota pickup or the warm comfort of an enclosed imposter.

You Might Also Like
10 Insane Hot-Hatches That Never Made Production
10 Insane Hot-Hatches That Never Made Production
10 Awesome Concepts That Became Boring Production Cars
10 Awesome Concepts That Became Boring Production Cars

Not satisfied with his limited options, Safro knocked on Winnebago’s door to see if the company could cover up the rear of his Toyota trucks and turn it into an SUV of sorts to provide a more comfortable way for him to enjoy his favorite vehicle in the winter. Winnebago complied and so did Toyota, sending over a few barebones Hilux models for Winnebago to outfit. Out of that came the Toyota Trekker, an enclosed rear seat-equipped lovechild of the Japanese automaker and the American mobile home manufacturer. Once Toyota realized what a hit the idea was, the 4Runner was released and the rest, as they say, is history.

Here's How Aerodynamics Make The Lamborghini Aventador SVJ So Much Faster

Take a behind the scenes look at this amazing system.

Fake Lamborghini Murcielago SV Reverse-Engineered By Iran

The Chinese couldn’t have done it better.

Hennessey Trackhawk Is World's Quickest SUV

That's what a thousand horsepower will do for ya.

5 Things You Need To Know About The 2019 BMW X5

After driving the car for the first time, here are our key takeaways.

Watch The BMW M2 Competition Lap The Ring In 7:52

That was supercar territory not long ago.

Kim Jong-un Gets Classy With New Ride

So much for sanctions.

Drifting A 1,000-HP Corvette On Mountain Roads Takes Some Serious Skill

Thought drifting the entire Nurburgring was challenging? Try it in a 1,000-hp Corvette on a mountain road with no safety rails.

Hennessey Heritage Edition Ford Truck Makes More Power Than Anything You’ve Got

This crazy beast is even more powerful than the Ford GT.

Ford Imagines A Future With No Traffic Lights

Stopping at junctions could be a thing of the past in the future.

What's Hot

Related Cars

Starting MSRP
$34,610

Related Reviews

2016 Toyota 4Runner Review: 4 Things We Learned After A Week Of Driving
Test Drive
21
2016 Toyota 4Runner Review: 4 Things We Learned After A Week Of Driving
2017 Toyota 4Runner SUV Review
Toyota 4Runner SUV
0
2017 Toyota 4Runner SUV Review
2018 Toyota 4Runner Test Drive Review: Off-Road Deadly, On-Road Friendly
Test Drive
15
2018 Toyota 4Runner Test Drive Review: Off-Road Deadly, On-Road Friendly