I bought a 1978 Toyota truck longbed from the original owner in 1998 for $750, he paid around $3,000 for it new in California. It was in good shape and had around 78,000 miles on it. I bought it from him when living in southern (warm) New Mexico at about 4,000 ft. elevation. It ran smoothly there.
We moved to Colorado Springs, CO. elevation ~ 6,000 ft. and it ran good, but did take awhile to warm up on cold mornings.
Also, in summer when the temp. is hot and the truck has been run for awhile and we shut it off, it is hard to start... smell of gas and carb. flooding. This is mentioned in the owners manual so just need to follow the hot start instructions about gas pedal depress.
We put a little money in as needed. New battery, spark plugs, carb. job (fairly easy to do with a kit), vac. hoses, tires, etc.
Overall, I like the truck, but felt more comfortable with it it New Mexico.
My dad bought one of these '78 Toyota pickups in motorhome trim. At first I laughed just at the thought of a motorhome mounted on such a small truck frame, but after driving it, I'm really impressed. It is so simple and utilitarian, no frills, which is what I find so appealing about these early Toyotas. It has the 5-speed, which is nice and tight, and helps get the most out of the motor. It only has about 45,000 miles, probably so low because you would only drive a motorhome on summer vacation rather than as a daily driver, and it's very clean and runs great. I've never seen a cleaner engine compartment. Driving this has really given me some respect for these old Toyota trucks.
I just bought the same truck for $400. Used it for pizza delivery, so far so good. Easy to work on!
I am 16 years old and just bought one of these for $700. It is an SR5 long-bed and I love it. Very easy to work on and simple. Not much to go wrong when the windows and locks and stuff are all manual. It has 146,000 miles on it and still runs strong. The first owner was a maintenance freak. No problems at all so far.
I bought my 1978 SR5 Long bed as a work truck and put it to the test. I threw 32 60lb backs of cement in the back and it handled better than a full size! I did put some add-a-leafs in the rear suspension to beef it up, but the transmission and clutch were able to haul the load with ease. Very noisy, like many others have said of this truck, but I wouldn't trade it for a second because of its undying reliability. I would recommend this truck to anyone.
I bought a 1978 Toyota truck 2 years ago from the original owner and the truck had 90K on it. It now has 120k and still runs great.
I bought my 78 sr5 long bed for $250 about 6 months ago and it's been hell; the previous owners seem to have replaced nothing other than the tranny (but not with a good one). It's got a crack straight down the middle and I can't find a 5 speed any where. Any ideas?
But it's a great work-play truck overall. It'll take my buddy's 2004 V8 off the line up to 70mph.
I have bought a 1978 Toyota with a sandpack camper; the funny thing is its listed as a "1978 sand pack", not a Toyota. It has dual wheels, and now here is the funny part; it has drum brakes all the way around! In the book, it says '76 was the last year for drum brakes. It's an awesome little truck; 22 mpg, and has dual wheels, and is like a rock: slow and steady.
I purchased a 1978 hilux pickup in January with only 51,000 original miles. I just love it. As everyone else is saying, very dependable, real clean as you can imagine, 5 speed. It has the original canopy, blue. Stuffed new black carpet in and new door seals. I couldn't ask for more. Oh, and I get 28 mpg too. I don't know why, but I seem to gravitate toward older low mile vehicles, guess cause they're cheap to buy. So what if I'm not driving the latest... I like it.
I am the original owner of my 1978 Toyota SR5 Long Bed. It listed for $5300 where I lived in Texas. I bought it with cruise control, upgraded rear bumper, AM/FM radio, extra wide outside rear view mirrors, and A/C. The A/C went out about 20 years back. It was never that good in extremely hot temperatures. I can't see replacing the A/C on a truck that is less than half the value of a "rebuilt" A/C system.
I need to replace a burned-out fuse to the radio. It went out some eight years back. I'm not much of a radio listener as I was in my earlier years. The truck has 135,000 miles on it, mostly highway driving. There are very few rattles. I do need to replace the door webbing.
I have put in less than $1500 over these past 30 years to keep this little critter running. I'm on my fourth set of tires, which now need to be replaced. I wouldn't trade my "Little Red" (actually burnt orange) for anything. I still love it. It was stolen about 10 years ago and I felt violated. Know what I mean? Very little damage was done by the teenagers who stole it. Most of the damage was done to the toolbox I had in the bed.
I haven't checked the MPG lately, but I used to get 29.9 MPG. That is still good mileage for the modern times. I towed 5000 pounds with it when it was still new. I wouldn't try that these days, even though I have replaced the factory installed clutch with a heavy duty one.
I would recommend this little truck to anyone who wants a good reliable work buddy.
*** Update ***
It is July, 2010, and I still have my Toyota. It just recently turned over 140,000 miles. It has new tires, new wheels, and new door webbing. With webbing: much quieter now. I plan on installing a new windshield and possibly a split rear window. I will be buying a new front bumper...after the truck not having one since April, 1982. Still no A/C. Pretty hot here in Redding CA during the summers. It can get up into the 120+ degree range. You can see my truck at: http://screencast.com/t/N2E5NjFkOWYt
Update. The door webbing has been replaced on both door. The truck is a lot quieter now. I used TR3 Resin wax on the truck and the shine pops. I have started using silicon spray over the body and it helps to keep it cleaner and bug free. I put it on my wife's car and it is bug free the entire week. I even use it on the windshield.
I am the original poster. I sold the 1978 Toyota pick-em-up in 2004 to a guy across town who is still driving it.
Went to buy my first new vehicle (vice used) in three decades of vehicle ownership.
Wanted a truck and looked hard at the new Toyotas.
But, due to some sense of what I now realize was misplaced loyalty, I decided to buy from the "home team."
So, off to look at the domestics. Decided upon Chevy, with a good part of that choice based upon the location of the factory where it was built, Ft. Wayne, Indiana.
Sadly, several defects appeared during the warranty period.
To keep this short (more detail listed in the Chevrolet, Silverado, 2004 section of this Web site, I was horrified by the lack of concern by the dealerships I went to for repair under warranty.
In a nutshell, I was sent on my way to live with the defects.
That is a terrible way to treat a customer!!! All Chevy/GMC did was to ensure I will never buy another of their vehicles, of any type.
Live and learn.
I took my little Toyota truck to the dealer soon after buying it used. The truck was still covered by the emissions warranty.
The exhaust manifold had a crack in it. "No problem," the service writer told me, it will be in and out today.
I got the phone call a few hours later. The truck was ready. When I signed the work order I noticed a list of several parts; the exhaust manifold, several pieces of exhaust pipe, catalytic convertor and muffler. All new. All OEM Toyota1 parts!!!
That dealer replaced the entire exhaust system less ONE part, the down-tube connecting the exhaust manifold to the rest of the exhaust system. The service writer said that part looked like new so they could not even create a reason to replace it.
I was shocked!!! And thrilled.
Silly me. I should have stuck with Toyota. After Toyota treated me so good and their truck was so reliable for year after year it was extremely disappointing for Chevy to shun me, to send me on my way with unrepaired defects.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Well, I learned my lesson the hard way and I will not be shamed.
My next truck (or car if I go that route) may be a Toyota. It definitely will not be ANY GMC vehicle.