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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Majorette and Tomica 1980 Toyota Hilux's

The Hilux pickup, or Truck known in the United States, is a well-known, versatle, and durable pickup truck sold across the globe.  I have reviewed the Hot Wheels version of the 1987 Toyota pickup, yet there are vastly more of these Hilux trucks out there.  A few examples shown here were introduced in the 1980's by Tomica and Majorette.

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The Hilux started life in 1968 as Toyota's sole pickup.  Unlike American Trucks these trucks (along with the Datsun pickup, Mazda pickup, etc.) were desinged for other markets that demanded a smaller vehicle that was also easy on the gas.  The small pickup gained strength thanks to the 1970's oil embargo and emerging the new small pickup category.  Even the Big 3 had to use rebadged versions of Japan-based pickup trucks just to sell to the fuel-conscious pickup buyers.  The 1980's really showed off the strong point for the Toyota Hilux as a proven, rugged, and reliable pickup.  Offered in two-wheel drive and by 1979 four-wheel drive.  The 4x4 offers live front and rear axles mounted on leaf springs (replaced by a front control arm suspension setup by 1986).  Even diesel engines were offered (briefly in the U.S. in the mid-1980's), but the typical engine is usally a gas four-cylinder, a 2.4L SOHC that produced 97 horsepower through a four-speed manual and later a five-speed manual transmission.  Next to the shifter is where the two-speed transfer case can be found on 4x4 models.

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For Majorette the Hilux (or Pickup) has been well-known for years, plentiful, and has been through two versions.  The first is a lower ride-height two-wheel drive version, with the 4x4 high stance (shown) and even a higher monster truck with rubber tires.  The front has flush square headlights with side signal lights.  Even the bumper has detailed support bolts, while the grille is part of the engine trim and tends to sit higher than it should be.  Also part of the engine bay trim is the fender-mounted exterior mirrors.  The sides show a clean profile that lacks the door and bed edges and the door handles, while the bed has a rollbar with lights and even a nice detail of stacked two-by-four's in the center of the bed.  The rear has stacke tri-taillights, TOYOTA stamped in the tailgate, and a trailer hitch that was once useful on the earler versions, but once the truck was lifted it's pretty much useless.  Inside the interior has bucket seats, dual shifters, and a steering wheel, but other than that the interior lacks any further detailing that you would expect if it was a newer casting.  Finally, the hood opens up to reveal the four-cylinder motor with the detailed valve cover, air cleaner, and battery, and while i'm at it look at the front and you can see the detailed front suspension and steering system detailed on the 4x4 model's base.

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On the other hand is Tomica's version that is an earlier version, also comes in two different versions (all are 4x4 models), badged as Hilux, and is not the easiest to find one cheap!  Luckily I managed to find this version in good condition for a resonable price despite lacking the sticker stripes on the hood (looks better without them) and the right-side of the rear bumper was bent upward.  This truck looks sleek in black with red interior and loads of off-road equipment from the front brush guard to the rear rollbar in the bed area that looks more realistic.  Speaking of that the bed area is unobstructed by anything inside while the bed edges have the appropriate vertical support bars that are common on early Japan-based pickups.  The front brush guard with license plate, part of the metal base, does block the details of the front with the round headlights and grille with the vintage T-based Toyota logo.  The sides have much finer line details around the doors, bed, and even gas cap cover compared to the Majorette, while the knobby 5-spoke Tomica tires look great on this truck.  The rear has tri-taillights, TOYOTA on the tailgate, a tubular rear bumper that has a tow hitch though i'm not sure if it can tow anything with such a knobby hitch.  The metal base shows off more of the drivetrain details even if it's not much and also this truck has a working suspension.  Typical of Tomica's before 2000 is the opening doors that reveal detailed seats, dual shifters, and correct steering wheel without the dashboard at all!

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These two trucks correctly represent the successful and durable Hilux line with each having a character of their own.

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Update 5/27/17:  I finally got the two-wheel drive version of the Majorette Toyota Hilux.  The main differences here aside from the lowered stance with standard smaller truck tires is the lack of a rollbar in the bed area and round headlights inside the square frames.

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