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Toyota Stout

There are few things as mysterious as the Toyota Stout. At this point, it could probably be named the eighth wonder of the world and we wouldn’t dispute its new title. Engineered by the Japanese automaker and produced from 1954 through 1989, the Toyota Stout was a light pickup truck designed to deliver practicality and performance to the consumer in its purest form.

If now is the first time you’re hearing of this borderline mythical piece of engineering, you’re not alone—and you can blame overseas sales. While Stouts were commonplace in South Africa, Australia, and Asia, the second generation’s entrance into the North American market wasn’t nearly as fruitful.

According to Toyota’s archives, the second generation Stout was only available between 1964 and 1969, though consumer interest in the States dropped off almost completely in 1967. Toyota had sold only four of their new half-ton pickups stateside in 1964—a number that would set the tone for the future of Japan’s breakout truck on American soil.

It was soon replaced by the more-popular Hilux, and further succeeded by the now-famous Tacoma. While sales trends then may have reflected Americans’ disinterest in imported trucks, today’s perspective is much more evolved. Here’s four reasons why we love the Toyota Stout, and you should too:

Diamond in the Rough

The Stout is like finally locating that lost 10 mm socket on your cluttered tool bench—hard to find, but well worth the wait. Though it’s true that even a restored variant likely won’t see double-digit auction prices, you don’t buy one to accrue a collector’s income. If you do find an opportunity to buy one, you do so to be the envy of your local car show, and to take pride in knowing that you own a piece of automotive history.

Pioneering Toyota Heritage

It’s true that the Stout name doesn’t ring too many bells among enthusiasts, but it should. As the successor of the smaller Toyota SG and precursor to the more capable Hilux, the Stout, then referred to as the Toyopet RK, was an important milestone in the Japanese automaker’s truck history.

As the junction between pickup truck eras, the Stout became an important intermediary in the brand’s truck lineage, helping Toyota’s engineers define what worked, and refine what didn’t. It was even available as an ambulance, light bus, van, and ice cream van in some markets. As far as we’re concerned, the Stout is a piece of automotive history—and that shouldn’t go unrecognized.

Perfectly Practical, with a Side of Toyota Reliability

Before there was a greater demand for creature comforts, there was simply a demand for reliable transport—a prayer that Toyota rarely left unanswered. The Stout was a no-frills solution to this demand, providing its owner with a capable truck that could handle payload capacities up to 1.75 tons. Japanese engineers sought to maximize utility while keeping its size within the constraints of the small truck category, allowing them to extract performance while simultaneously reducing the truck’s spatial footprint. It was marketed as a “rugged workhorse” that could haul as well as it could drive. Though the power from the 1.5-liter inline-four was nothing to write home about, it certainly upheld Toyota’s reliability reputation. Should Jeremy Clarkson ever wish to subject a Stout to the same kind of torture he brought upon that Hilux for Top Gear, we’re sure it would survive.

Beauty in Simplicity

Pragmatic by nature, but artfully conceived, the Stout’s exterior styling is easy on the eyes. It embraces its workhorse persona by highlighting otherwise sober design cues, like its curved windshield or boxy front fascia. With just enough of its individuality on display, the Stout is easily differentiated from its competitors.