The Original Toyota Truck: How the Toyota Stout Pickup Laid Ground for the Tacoma & Tundra in America
If you think about to the lineage of Toyota pickup trucks in America, the first era many people will go to is the 1980s, when Marty McFly’s black 4x4 on the silver screen helped show that the brand had made it big.
Others might go back to the 1970s when the Toyota Hilux arrived at started winning over small truck buyers with its mix of fuel economy and a cheap price.
Back to the '60s
But did you know Toyota’s pickup truck history in America actually goes all the way back to the mid 1960s to a truck called the Toyota Stout—a truck that today is both forgotten by the public and beloved by diehard Toyota fans.
Before Toyota had the Corolla or the Celica or the aforementioned Hilux, the Stout was its first attempt at entering the pickup market in America. But the Stout wasn’t developed for America like Toyota’s modern pickups are.
It had actually been on sale in Japan and in other markets since 1960 before it made it over to America to be sold at early Toyota dealerships alongside models like the Corona and Crown.
Short-Lived Trial Run
The Stouts that were imported to America between 1964 and 1969 were all powered by the 1.9 liter four-cylinder engine with a column-shifted four-speed manual transmission.
And compared the “minitruck” Hilux that would come later, the Stout was a slightly larger truck, being closer to the ‘60s version of a midsize truck than the Hilux, Datsun 620s and Ford Couriers that came a few years later.
It’s also a pretty cool looking truck (by today’s standards at least) with a surprising amount of character and a style that’s somewhat reminiscent of a scaled-down International Harvester pickup.
It’s hard to get numbers for exactly how many Stouts were sold in America in the ‘60s, but it wasn’t many. And that’s not surprising considering there wasn’t a big market for smaller pickups at the time and Toyota was still a relatively unproven brand.
It was nonetheless provided valuable info to Toyota about the American auto market, and it helped the Hilux that came after be a more successful vehicle—and one that lead to the hot Toyota pickups of the ‘80s and the Tacomas and Tundras of today.
A True Classic?
Interestingly, while its time in the US was short, the Stout continued on for sometime overseas, being sold well into the late 1970s in South Africa.
What’s also interesting today is that despite its rarity and the fact that ‘80s Toyota pickups have become collectors items recently, a 1960s Stout is still relatively affordable—in the unusual event you find one for sale.
A nicer original version in running shape shouldn’t be much more than $10,000 and if you want a non-running project version they can be had much cheaper. And if you’ve got the skill and budget a 1960s Toyota Stout would make a killer restomod or engine swap candidate.
For most people though, the Toyota Stout pickup will always be a historical obscurity, a nearly forgotten model. Yet one that represents a pioneering time for one of the world’s biggest automakers in the land where pickups are king.
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