1997 Hilux Surf SSR-X

Sold: $17,495

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Japan is famous for its wide array of custom vehicles dotting its interstates and cities. For over a decade we have been able to offer some highly stylized sedans and coupes, so why not an eye-catching SUV, like this 1997 Hilux Surf. Originally Stellar Blue (8L7) this wild five-seater was redone overseas, in a one-off Lava Burst Orange. Rocking Ardimento front and rear valances, an upgraded interior, a few performance and factory upgrades this Surf is as unique as they get! We wanted to note a few light chips and scuffs on the paint and that the hood was replaced at some point before import. Offered with only 147k verified and documented miles, this recently serviced turbodiesel is barely broken in. As a family hauler, winter warrior, or weekend cruiser this stylish KZN185 is a perfect candidate, and a real-deal Japanese Classic. 

The cabin is spacious, well-optioned, and was cared for in a prior life. Its got plenty of equipment like the electric sunroof, windows, mirrors, and locks which all work currently. The dash is in good nick, lacking any cracking or distortion, and provides an unobstructed view of the road ahead. It also houses dual-front SRS airbags for some added reassurance for those riding up front. An OEM Field Monitor keeps an eye on the exterior conditions for those behind the wheel and the automatic climate control keeps those inside comfortable. Cold A/C can be piped in during the dog days of summer and heat is on hand for next year's winter. The OEM audio was ditched in Japan for a Pioneer upgrade that is simple to use and sounds decent. It also has an auxilary input for your smartphone. A MoMo steering wheel compliments the black leather seat covers nicely and the orange piping steals the show. The upholstery underneath looks good, should you be curious. That's not to say the cabin is perfect as we wanted to note some light staining on the headliner and carpets, but at 25 years of age, this thing has held together quite well. 

Under the skin, this Surf shares a majority of its parts with the US 4Runner. The centerpiece of the driveline is the awesome 1KZ-TE four-banger that powers this rig. It's fresh off an oil and filter service and cranks to life thanks to a new 12v battery we installed in our shop. The big 3.0L idles confidently and benefits from a new valve cover gasket, ensuring it stays topped up on oil. Mated to a selective transfer case and a slick-shifting automatic transition, the Hilux says ready for loose road surfaces and inclement weather. Unlike lesser models, this one also includes the locking center differential in case the conditions get really bad outside. We get that those considering this example will likely keep it on the tarmac but it's never bad to know the equipment is there. On the road, the Surf drives well and the session can handle the rigors of daily use and abuse. The Bilstein dampers are a worthwhile upgrade as deliver a premium feel. The truck moves quite well too, with gobs of low-end power and the omnipresent whistle of the aftermarket intake a dab of the throttle away. Despite its relative size, it's actually fairly frugal, and the 1KZ can get 20 or more MPG. The brakes are confident and the power steering is light but on point. The refinished 20" MKW alloys complete the look and are wrapped in new, all-season, Falken rubber. The new tires quiet down road noise and touch and will last for tens of thousands of miles to come. 

From our research, the vehicle was a show truck in Japan and underneath it has as little corrosion as any single example we have seen. With its peppy performance, rare parts, and collectible nature, this KZN185 is a killer buy and is as distinctive as it gets!

*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.

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