QotW: What does your dream truck look like?

Today is Ugly Truck Day but, as we all know, that’s kind of a misnomer. Even ugly trucks are actually good-looking trucks, because while dents, scratches, or rust ruin a car, those same imperfections give a truck character. That is, if they are acquired honestly through the course of hard work — hauling, towing, navigating rough terrain. Of course, good-looking trucks are also good-looking trucks, and there’s nothing like a nicely preserved, restored, or resto-modded workhouse (for truly ugly trucks, see the front lawn at SEMA).

I don’t own a pickup, but if I did, it would be part overlander, part tow rig. Essentially, it’d be something I could sleep in as I scour the country for “ran when parked” JNCs. It wouldn’t have to be something ridiculous. A 5,000-pound towing capacity should be enough, so something like a Nissan Frontier with a bed cap and rooftop tent would be plenty.

What does your dream truck look like?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s your $25,000 autocross, road, and rally race garage?

The winner this week was Tom Westmacott, pretty much by dint of following the rules of the game and coming up with actual real world examples to prove he wasn’t pulling numbers out of the air. We have to say, the answer is pretty darn good:

The USD $25k budget converts to GBP £20k. As ever in the UK, our selection of older JNCs is thin-to-nonexistent, but we’re spoilt for choice and value among those most recently elevated to the Nostalgic pantheon.

I have a feeling that the best way to cheat, sorry to win at Autocross is to drive as small a car as possible, luckily the Japanese government have defined the Kei class just for this purpose. Of the ABC Keis the AZ-1 is a unicorn and the Beat is naturally-aspirated, so my choice is a Suzuki Cappuccino for £5k ( https://www.carandclassic.co.uk/car/C1235162 ).

The standard 63hp isn’t going to win many competitions, so I’d be getting aftermarket ECU, intercooler, injectors, strut brace, and fresh tyres – maybe another £2000 all in buying secondhand parts. With 140hp in a 700kg car I’d be packing 200hp/ton while the tiny dimensions would let me flick around cones with abandon.

Total spend so far: £7k.

Moving onto full size racetracks, everyone knows that the fastest way is mid-engined, so it’s time for a trusty Toyota, in the form of an MR2 SW20 Turbo for £6500 ( https://www.gumtree.com/p/toyota/toyota-mr2-2.0-twin-entry-turbo-coupe-rev-2-lovely-extras-must-be-seen/1378455473 ).

Mods for circuit would be some good tyres, probably AD08R, Carbon Lorraine brake pads, intercooling and wind up the boost to 1 bar, should be about another £2k.

Total spend so far: £15,500

You may have noticed we’re getting close to our budget limit. Should we settle for an inexpensive front-drive car for rallying? Of course not, why would you compromise with a shopping car when you can buy a genuine rally-bred Subaru Impreza Turbo, already rally-prepped, for just £3400 BIN ( https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Subaru-Impreza-uk2000-track-car/143656016702?hash=item217290db3e:g:CwUAAOSwqZpe~koa ). The welded in cage, strut brace, bucket seats, and included spares would make a great start. The remaining £1100 could go on ensuring the brakes are fit for purpose and replacing the tarmac-oriented coilovers with some new stock suspension – coilovers are never going to work on bumpy dirt tracks.

So there you have it – an FR Kei convertible for Autocross, an MR sports car for the circuit and a 4WD rally car, all for less than £20k including mods to make the most of each car in its chosen environment. Short of bringing Ayrton Senna back from the dead, I honestly don’t see how anyone else is going to beat my newly formed hi-boost racing squad over the season.

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

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12 Responses to QotW: What does your dream truck look like?

  1. Mike P says:

    I’ve had a few of the “normal” now-JNC trucks, including a ’74 HiLux and ’72 620, and now have a project ’67 520 (anyone want it?) but my bucket list still includes a mid-60’s Toyota Stout. So ugly it’s good looking, right? But I never see them around.
    Sure, I good spend big bucks on a new truck but there is something special about driving an old one– creaking suspension, oil dripping, patina and all…

  2. HotWheelsAndFriedChicken ! says:

    My dream truck is a hilux. THE hilux. The one that made it famous on Top Gear. It would be completely pointless to own, but totally cool. I think that the frame is fixable and with work it could run well while retaining the “completely destroyed” look. It’s just a really iconic jnc truck for me.
    (And probably not legal in the states due to its appearance)

  3. Ridgeway Burns says:

    My dream?

    1990 Toyota Truck: Base please, steel wheels, regular cab with the bench seat. Make sure those seats reupholstered in beach blanket.

    Drive down to Olamendi’s in Dana Point and walk across the pedestrian bridge to the beach for smores in one of the fire pits. Doesn’t get any better than that in 1997.

    Good luck finding one of these now that isn’t totally beat up.

    Beach Blanket Seats:

    • R100guy says:

      “Saddle Blanket” seat covers. I have this truck! 1990 in Toyota medium blue, steel wheels 51k on the clock, a cremepuff!

  4. Scotty G says:

    Since I can’t even come close to fitting into a Subaru 360 pickup, being 6′-5″ tall, which is a huge bummer, I’d love to have a yellow Plymouth Arrow pickup to go with my orange Dodge D-50 Sport.

  5. cesariojpn says:

    “(for truly ugly trucks, see the front lawn at SEMA).”

    Ouch, too true, too true. I don’t understand some of the trucks there sometimes (then again, seeing a RHD Toyota Land Cruiser J200 dolled up as a Lexus LX one year was a surprise). Shame this year I have to skip SEMA and will miss out. First time in like, 5 years.

    As for my dream truck, I wish Toyota would bring over the LandCruiser 70 Single Cab like in Australia. No out there mods, just some good off-road tires and (stock looking) rims, a bullbar, and a portable emergency kit with bits and bobs like straps first air kit, and satellite phone/emergency beacon. But Toyota won’t, cause they are too busy pushing the bland and bloated Tacoma.

  6. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    Hands down: Mazda T1500 or even a K360. Olive canvass bed canopy in that medium powder blue.

  7. Steve says:

    I can see it in my mind…

    Standard blue, polished and waxed, 1988, long bed, standard cab, five speed Toyota pickup. Lowered with 2-inch drop spindles, 2″ blocks in back. 16×7 wheels, 205/55 tires (w/225/50 in rear?). Cross-bed box with a home-made hard tonneau bed cover. Smog legal (I’m in SoCal) LCE header. Aftermarket three-piece bench seat. Simple, “custom”, practicle…

    I bought the truck new in 1988 and have just been driving it, deferring most maintenance and upkeep. At the moment, it would qualify as the “poster-child” for Ugly Truck Day.

    Sigh… I need to get off my butt and start the restomod process. All new rubber, ball joints, and a few other doodads…

  8. F31roger says:

    I actually have 2 future prospects and 1 wishful thinking… even though I’m open to any Japanese truck.

    When time comes, I definitely want to have an 80s Toyota pick up. Rebuilt with 22RE.
    I remember that Top Gear episode where they pretty much destroyed one and it still drove.

    In 2004, when I got my 1st Infiniti M30, it was hit by a deer, so the hood was messed up. I waited a few months for one to pop up in the junkyards. Unfortunately, M30s weren’t plentiful in the junkyards at the time, a black hood popped up at a Nissan specialty junkyard named Felton’s in WA. It was 2hrs away from where I lived.
    I borrowed my co workers red 80s Toyota pick up. Super basic, MT, window levers to roll up the windows…

    My co worker used and abused that truck for everything. Even when his nephew messed it up bad, it still drove.

    My 2nd choice, and while kinda not a truck, I really dig them. Subaru Baja. I just love the way they look and drive.


    Wishful thinking – Subaru BRAT any year. In high school (90s), my friend had one and we would go offroading and camping. While not powerful, it was just super cool.
    I would love to get one, but they are super popular now.

    I wanted to do the cyclops emblem eye on it if I could find one.

  9. エーイダン says:

    1951 Mitsubishi Jeep. Mitsubishi build quality mated to solid U.S Army design. Toss on a classic Canadian RHR badge on the windshield frame for a period Korean war-era look. Mount a Bren .303 Machine gun on a roll frame and chuck your Brodie helmet on, the Black Watch are on their way!

  10. laspomkji says:

    I agree that the various scuffs only add beauty to the truck, not disfigure it.

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