JDM El Caminos? Five Car-Based Pickups from Toyota, Nissan and Honda
In America, when it comes to pickups that are based on passenger cars, the the two most iconic cars at the Chevrolet El Camino and the Ford Ranchero, neither of which have been produced for decades.
Yet anyone who knows cars from outside borders will know that America isn’t the only place where these types of vehicles have been popular. For example, just ask any Australian about their beloved “Utes.” But did you know Japan has also had its fair share of car-pickup hybrids over the years?
Here are five notable examples released over the decades.
Toyota Crown Pickup
Although it was only exported to the US for a short time, the Crown is Toyota’s oldest nameplate, having been in production since 1955. And during the 1960s both the S40 and S50 model Crowns were offered in two-door pickup form.
One of the rarest of all Crown body styles, these pickups are very popular among collectors and customizers Japan, thanks largely to its resemblance to the El Camino and Ranchero.
Toyota Corona Pickup
The Crown wasn’t the only car-based pickup Toyota sold in the ‘60s. The Corona was also available as a “utility” vehicle with both single and double cab versions available.
The Corona was also imported to the US in large numbers during the 1960s, helping put Toyota on the map, but sadly the pickup versions were never imported here.
Nissan Sunny Truck
Next we get to what might be the most successful and popular pickup of the bunch—the Nissan Sunny Truck. It originally debuted in 1971 sharing most its design and chassis with the B110 Nissan Sunny (AKA Datsun 1200).
It ended up being so popular that production would continue on for a long time. It was still sold new in Japan up until 1994, looking nearly identical to the one from the ‘70s.
Honda Life Pickup
Not to be left out is Honda, who in 1973 introduced the Life Pickup. It was based on the micro-sized Honda Life van and had a 356cc two-cylinder engine powering the front wheels.
Not very many Life Pickups were sold, with buyers generally preferring the more purpose-built kei trucks built by Honda and many other Japanese automakers.
Toyota bB Open Deck
Last but not least we get to something that comes from the modern era—the Toyota bB Open Deck. The bB as you may remember, was the box-shaped compact car that was exported to the US as the Scion xB during the early 2000s.
Sadly Scion didn’t decide to bring over the bB Open Deck, which replaced the normal models hatchback rear with an open bed. It also had a double tailgate system where you could pass cargo all the way through cabin.