1997 Hilux Surf 2.7L Locked
Toyota SUV range in the late 1990s was prolific. The Land Cruisers were killer rigs, but frankly, not everyone wants to drive something that big and hulking. Perhaps the perfect size for a nuclear family or someone with an on-the-go active lifestyle would be this 1997 Hilux Surf. Finished in Toyota's rare and desirable Natural White (056), the aesthetic is set off by a set of OEM rainguards, a factory brushguard, privacy tint, and an optional factory rear spoiler with an integrated power backup mirror. Equipped with a spacious, safe, and nicely optioned cabin, this truck is fresh off a recent service and offered with a mere 136k verified and documented miles. Aside from some light dings, chips, and scuffs, the paint is in good nick, but as many Toyota enthusiasts will tell you, the Surf's beauty runs more than skin deep. Featuring the same engine as stateside 4Runners, service is a snap and this turn-key 4x4 would make for a reliable winter warrior, all-weather family hauler, or affordable overlander. Collectible, trusty, and capable this is a Japanese Classic for the ages.
Compared to the N130 it replaced, the N185 vehicles had a larger interior, more safety features, and used more expensive materials. Dual SRS airbags sit atop the dash and are standard equipment. The dashboard itself lacks any cracking or fading and includes a sizable passenger glovebox with the OEM manuals still inside. The view of the road ahead is clear and commanding and there is plenty of headroom up top. The seats are in above-average shape, lacking any major rips stains, or tears. Unlike many of these optioned with blue and gray cloth this darker and sportier pattern is much more desirable and includes matching door cards. The driver even receives adjustable lumbar support and tilt adjustable steering column to find the most comfortable driving position. For tunes, a Pioneer head unit was installed at some point in Japan. It looks more modern than the OEM unit and includes USB inputs and sounds decent to boot! Power folding exterior mirrors, electric locks, and power windows are all standard and work as advertised. If you have a furry friend the rear bench can be folded flat and the rear window unfurled for better ventilation. The automatic climate control is simple to use and includes functional heat and air-con. The carpets and headliner have withstood the past 25 years without sustaining major damage and the biggest issue with the cabin is a missing center console lid.
The best part about owning this specific example is the convenience of ownership. Just like our domestic trucks, this one is powered by the durable 3RZ-FE. That means it's as simple as a stop at your local auto parts store for any and all filters, belts, plugs, and items of the like. This SSR-X doesn't require any immediate maintenance as it is fresh off an oil and filter service. A new 12v battery was replaced here in the shop, which will last for years to come and provide all the cold cranking amps necessary to turn over the four-banger in the dead of winter. A new fuel filter and engine air filter aid proper combustion and the 2.7L revs freely, and sound strong thanks to a new catback exhaust. With most 25-year-old vehicles, a few items were needed to be replaced and give the motor a new lease on life, and we are more than up to the task. The distributor O-ring and valve cover gasket have been installed keeping the oil level topped up as it should be. We didn't stop there, as one of our trained techs has also performed a water pump replacement, which will save some coin down the road for the next owner. With the 3RZ running right as rain, we would like to pivot to an overview of the driveline. The automatic gearbox makes good use of the DOHC mill's powerband and can send power to two or four wheels depending on the driver's preference. The biggest upgrade on our JDM model compared to its American counterpart is the optional locking center differential. When sand, mud, and snow are on your radar, you can lock power fore and rear to keep the momentum churning forth. A low-range setting can also be accessed if you are mired in something really nasty. The suspension offers tons of ground clearance and is decent on the tarmac. New front left inner and outer tie rods were replaced as were the front and rear sway bar end links. Replaced with all new bits, the truck has a predictable and quiet ride for an SUV, and we feel an immediate road trip would be a great idea! Lastly, all-new 31" all-terrain rubber was mounted and balanced at all four corners. The tires look mean but most importantly will last for tens of thousands of miles to come and we even replaced the spare while we were at it!
*California Residents: In order to register a Grey Market vehicle in the state of California then it will have to be made CARB compliant first. CARB certifications will have to be performed within the state. Depending on the vehicle and any existing modifications will affect the pricing. Typically CARB compliance will range between 5-10K. Additional information can be found on the California Air Resources Board website