70’s and 80’s Minitrucks

Back in the 60's, 70's and 80's minitrucks were generally a lot smaller than today's "small" trucks. Nowadays, even the small trucks are large by the standards of the gas crisis era. Gawd! Remember the line ups at the pumps? Car manufacturers were making compacts and sub-compact cars. Pickup trucks back then were smaller altogether, but the minis were really small.

Remember the V-dub pickup? It was basically a Rabbit with a truck bed. You don't see many of these around with custom hydraulic beds like the normal minitruckin era mods these days. They had a bed built into the cab like a Subaru Brat. One of the popular traits of a modernized 70's and 80's minitruck is the hydraulic bed, and truck beds have to be separate from the cab to do that.

Stock white Volkswagen Pickup truck
copper colored Volkswagen pickup truck slammed like minitrucks

70's and 80's Minitrucks in Production

Who made mini-trucks back then? I am pretty sure that most auto makers were involved in scaled down pickup trucks. I'll make a list of minitruck manufacturers here based upon wheelbases, and you can correct me below in the comments. They were priced in the $4,000 to $6,000 range. Oh, how times have changed. Can you get a truck for less than $60,000 in 2023?

Subaru BRAT @ 2,455 mm wheelbase 

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Toyota HiLux @ 2500 mm wheelbase

Datsun 620 @ 2,545 mm wheelbase

Mazda B Series @ 2,575 mm wheelbase

Mitsubishi L200 @ 2,780 mm wheelbase

Isuzu Faster @ 2,600 mm wheelbase

VW Rabbit Pickup @ 2,624 mm wheelbase

Chev Luv @ 2601 mm wheelbase

Ford Courier @ 2652 mm wheelbase

Dodge D50 @ 2,780 mm wheelbase

Dodge Rampage @ 2,647 mm wheelbase

Plymouth Scamp @ 2647 mm wheelbase

Did you notice in the list above that there were more Japanese 70's and 80's minitrucks than ones made in North America? Actually, North American minitrucks back in the day (70's and 80's) were really just re-branded Japanese trucks: Dodge/Mitsubishi; Chevrolet/Isuzu; Ford/Mazda small truck.

KEI Trucks Differ From Minitrucks

I like kei trucks too, but they're different from what we refer to as minitrucks in the USA. Kei trucks are like 'micro' trucks. LOL. The white Carry below looks bigger than the yellow B1800, but that's just the way the photos were shot and cropped. The Suzuki was tiny, and had about 28 HP haha!

yellow '75 Mazda B1800
Mazda Minitruck 1975 had 1800cc
White 5th-generation 1975 Suzuki Carry
Suzuki Kei Truck 1975 had 359 cc

The Japanese were into building kei trucks even during the 'minitruckin era'. According to Wikipedia, the first kei truck was the Kurogane Baby, a.k.a. Piaggio Porter (1959 - 1962). Meanwhile the first Mazda pickup truck was made in that same era, 1961.

Kei trucks' design, size, and strength stats are different (smaller). Design-wise, they remind me of the VW Type II pickups, with a cab that has the VW van appearance, but an open bed like a pick up truck. 

Key trucks look like an old VW Kombi Pickup, like this white VW.
Transporter, Kombi Pickup Resembles a KEI Truck
Honda KEI-Truck Resembles VW Kombi Pickup
Honda shaped like VW Kombi pickup

Expensive 70's and 80's Minitrucks

Some minitrucks that have drastically increased in value nowadays, are the Toyota Hilux 4x4 trucks. Off-road recreation is a very common pass time now, and smaller trucks are better at it. Add to that, well preserved old trucks carry a lot of value. Combined, a well maintained, low miles, old pickup truck with great style and four wheel drive capability is a rare find. That equates to high dollar.

A beautiful orange 1980 Toyota SR5 pickup truck with four wheel drive, slightly customized.

You know what else equates to high dollar 70's and 80's Minitrucks? Ones like you see in minitruckin magazines or shows...

highly customized 70's and 80's Minitrucks with hydraulics in hood or bed are expensive

It's time for you to save up and join the revival!

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Legendary Minitrucks, Minitruck Customization, Opinion

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