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Weekly Craigslist Hidden Treasure: 1993 Toyota SR5

Car Culture / 9 Comments

Why does it cost nearly $25,000?

You may find it hard to believe given the legendary status of this midsize pickup truck, but there was a time before the Toyota Tacoma. It first appeared on the scene in 1995, descended from a long line of excellent Toyota pickups. The Japanese automaker simply decided to give the truck a name when it came time for a complete redesign, and the Tacoma was born. But its predecessors are also icons.

The Toyota Pickup (yep, that was its name), dates back to 1968 and was sold in the US with that name until the Tacoma's arrival. It was at that time when Toyota decided to officially split its midsize truck offering into two nameplates, the Tacoma and Hilux, the latter for overseas markets. With that all clarified, many of us may still remember the Tacoma's direct predecessor, the fifth-generation Toyota Pickup.

Introduced in 1988, this truck featured a longer wheelbase option along with a regular wheelbase to attract more buyers. Remember, the full-size Tundra did not exist yet. Toyota also eliminated the fourth-generation's one-piece cargo box because its seams were prone to rust. A variety of engines were offered because of the truck's international market. These ranged from a small 1.8-liter inline-four with a mere 78 horsepower to a 3.0-liter V6 with 150 hp, and even a 3.0-liter V6 diesel with 90 hp and 139 lb-ft of torque.

Beginning in 1991, production began in the US at Toyota's NUMMI manufacturing facility in Fremont, California. Quick car nerd factoid: Jointly owned with GM, Toyota closed that facility in 2010. Later that year, it reopened under new ownership, Tesla. It's still very much in business today. North American-spec Toyota pickups were built at Fremont until the Tacoma arrived, which is now made in San Antonio, Texas.

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The fifth-gen Toyota Pickup quickly became a massive success, and even Volkswagen was interested in this. How so? It built and rebadged it as the Taro from 1989 until 1997 for Germany and other parts of Europe. Aside from Freemont, Toyota also built this truck in Colombia for the South American market, where it was also available with a variety of engines and cab and bed configurations. Here in the US, the V6 Xtracab SR5 variant earned Motor Trend's coveted Truck of the Year award in 1988.

The Tacoma arrived in 1995 and it's still very much with us today. Even used Tacomas are immensely popular and sell for sometimes shockingly high prices. In fact, Toyota dealerships quickly sell them within just a few days following a trade-in. Although they're still out there, fifth-gen pickups are a bit more difficult to come by simply due to their age, but they generally age very well with proper care.

This example, currently up for sale on Craigslist in Portland, Oregon, is one of the finest we've ever seen. Asking price: nearly $25,000. You read that right. This '93 Toyota SR5 3.0-liter V6 4WD Extra Cab has had only one owner who put on a total of 132,213 miles. Despite that, it's in showroom condition. The paint is original, as is the glass and chrome trim. The interior? Flawless. Some recent service was just done including new spark plugs, plug wires, points, cap, rotor, oil change, and an A/C recharge. There are no noted automatic transmission issues and all of its extra features, including a power moonroof, work beautifully. Equipped with the tow package featuring a receiver hitch and cover, the seller also added new BFG tires.

Given how quickly vintage trucks, especially Toyotas, have been increasing in value lately, a $25 grand investment actually doesn't seem totally unreasonable.