Some Trucks Never Died: They Just Moved Away

 

Weep Toyota LC II

By Aaron Bragman

Truck aficionados can be a fanatical bunch, but I don't have to tell you that — chances are the fact that you're reading this makes you one too. That fanaticism isn't limited to the typical Ford versus Chevy debate — ask early generation Nissan Hardbody fans about their old trucks, and you might get the same kind of glowing trip down memory lane. But did you know that some of your favorite classic trucks are still being made and sold in far-off corners of the world? It's true: Those trucks still in production might surprise you, but don't think you can import these models into the U.S. Getting "gray-market" vehicles registered in the U.S. is a daunting task, as some Nissan Skyline owners found out recently when the government seized and crushed their cars. Still, it's fun to imagine what could be, so have a peek at what we've uncovered around the world:

Nissan NP300 — South America

Weep Nissan NP300 II

Until just a year or two ago, you could buy a brand-new Nissan D21 Hardbody pickup from your local Venezuelan Nissan dealer. It's still listed on Nissan's website despite the fact that PUTC has confirmed that they're no longer being sold. You can, however, buy the next generation — the D22 — in a number of markets in South America, including Argentina and Bolivia. We know it as the first-generation Nissan Frontier. The rest of the world called it the Nissan Navara, and now it's known as the NP300. U.S. production of this version stopped in 2004, but it is still being built in Japan for export and in Brazil for local consumption. Available only as a crew cab with six-passenger seating, the NP300 is powered by a 2.5-liter common-rail turbodiesel making a hefty 304 pounds-feet of torque. That power goes only to the rear wheels and only through a five-speed manual transmission. Have a look at Nissan's brand-new 12-year-old pickup at the Nissan Argentina website. No prices are listed, sadly.

Toyota LandCruiser LC70 — Australia and Middle East

Weep Toyota II

The iconic Toyota LandCruiser (Aussies make it one word) is still considered to be one of the most bulletproof rigs ever built, but newer versions have gotten ridiculously expensive and cushy, serving more as competitors to Land Rover Range Rovers than as true workhorses. But if you live in the Persian Gulf Coast countries or in Australia, you can march down to your Toyota dealer and order a brand-new LandCruiser LC70 pickup. Based on designs that stretch back to the 1980s, the Japan-built truck is available in a host of body styles, including a two-door chassis cab, a double cab pickup, a wagon and even a "troop carrier" with longitudinal bench seating for eight in the covered bed. Engines range from an old 4.2-liter diesel inline six-cylinder and 4.0-liter gasoline V-6 for the Middle East market to a 4.5-liter turbodiesel V-8 for Australia, which churns out 430 pounds-feet of torque; all engines in Australia are fitted with snorkels to get you across anything that the Outback might throw at you. Like the latest and greatest Land Cruiser, however, these older designs do not come cheap: a loaded Troop Carrier GXL will set you back nearly $77,000 Australian ($80,000 U.S.). Want to save a little coin? Head to Saudi Arabia, where you can pick up a single-cab pickup version for the equivalent of just more than $32,000 U.S. Check out the Australian Toyota LandCruiser LC70 site here.

Weep Toyota LC int II

Lincoln Mark LT — Mexico

Weep Lincoln Mark LT II

Remember Lincoln's second attempt at a luxury pickup? The first one was the failed Lincoln Blackwood, introduced before the Cadillac Escalade EXT, and it featured a unique bed and rear-wheel-drive-only trim combination that few people found appealing (especially for the price). Lincoln's second attempt was the 2005 Lincoln Mark LT: Sold through 2008 in the U.S. and discontinued for lack of interest, it got a 2010 refresh with the latest updates that the Ford F-150 received and continues to be built and sold solely for the Mexican market. The latest version is powered by the 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 only, making 360 horsepower and 380 pounds-feet of torque and mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with a choice of rear-wheel drive or 4x4 drive. Outwardly, the only real change from the high-spec levels of the F-150 seems to be the winged Lincoln grille, featuring a massive Lincoln star logo. The interior looks like the 2012 F-150, with some Lincoln badges, piano black trim and embroidered leather seats. If you live south of the border, the new '13 Mark LT can be yours for 678,700 pesos — the equivalent of about $55,000 U.S. Check it out here.

Weep Lincoln Mark LT int

Volkswagen Microbus — Brazil

Weep VW Kombi II

Finally, while it may not be a pickup, there's one more classic truck that commands a dedicated following and is considered a cultural icon all over the world — they're still being sold in Brazil, but production will cease on Dec. 31. The Volkswagen Microbus, the epitome of hippie transportation, is still sold as a commercial van called the Kombi. This is the version that the rest of the world saw around 1968. Now it's equipped with a more modern motor — a rear-mounted 1.4-liter flex-fuel four-cylinder able to run on any combination of gasoline and ethanol; it makes a paltry 78 hp and 110 pounds-feet of torque. It's liquid-cooled as well, featuring an awkward-looking external front-mounted radiator. Two versions are available — a passenger van with windows or a panel van — both are offered in any color you want, as long as you want white. For this piece of history, Volkswagen charges 44,990 Brazilian reals, or about $23,000 U.S. for the panel van, stepping up to about $24,250 for the passenger van. Check it out at Volkswagen do Brasil's Kombi site here.

 

Comments

i would love to get a landcruiser 70, the 4.5 diesel in that truck is mated to the same aisin 6spd in the current tundra....... dam i wish we had that engine here.

Damn! That Lincoln grill they slapped on the front of that F-150 looks disgusting! I'm glad it's only available in Mexico.

If you have ever watched the Big Cat Diaries on Animal Planet most of those guys go around in the Toyota Landcruisers. Sometimes you will see Land Rovers but mostly Land Cruisers. In one episode a Cheetah jumped up on the Landcruiser and whizzed thru the sunroof. If I were out in Africa I would choose a Land Cruiser over a Land Rover.

Ford tried competing against what Cadillac offers with failure year over year just like them competing against the Tahoe and Yukon with their Excursion and Expedition. Just another failure among many for Ford.

The Land Cruiser prices here are quite accurate. Up where I live I would have to say 20% of all the pickups are Land Cruisers. Actually 20% of vehicles is some form of Land Cruiser.

We actually had the D22 here as well up until last year? In the end they came with a 'detuned' 2.5 diesel. But they were cheap, I think a dual cab ST was $32 000. A couple of guys at work have them. What kills them is limited front wheel articulation. But they are solid.

Great addition on the VW bus. A lot of people love those old things (we've got three) and people are almost always surprised to learn they're still made. Great post!

Excursion!!! Such a beefy truck!

I think if the 70 series ute was available here, everyone will complain cos it's so gutless. I have driven it, it was difficult just to get the wheels to spin, in a manual! Compare that to a Ram 6.7 Cummins, which spins all the way to third! For off-road capability, I would take a Defender or Rubicon over the 70 series any day.

@Alex
Have you had an opportunity to drive the V8 76 Series one?

We have them at work and after driving them I can say they are more than adequate. I don't know of to many dirt tracks you can drive at over 180kph.

They are the size, if not a little smaller than a midsizer also. So a midsizer with a V8 diesel sounds good to me.

My biggest qualm with them is their handling or lack of. The live front axle is good off road, but leaves a lot to be desired on road.

Remember what they are designed for and I don't think there is one 4x4 pickup that could keep up to one working off road, even a F-250 Super Duty as it would break that's why they are expensive even by Australian standards.

Remember I'm not pro Toyota, its just these in their V8 form are probably the best affordable off road work trucks.

@Big Al, yes I have only driven the V8 (never got to drive the 4.2 I-6). I think Toyota really detuned that engine in the 70 because the chassis is not up for taking a lot more power. The manual gearbox does not feel that strong, perhaps it's torque rating is only at 430Nm, which caused Toyota to limit the power and torque. We have 2.2L 4 cyl diesels putting out that much torque these days. The V8 diesel should be putting out 700-800Nm! I think Toyota's best bet (for US and Australia) would be to put the twin turbo engine in the Tundra with the Aisin automatic. Try to get it to around - or close to 340 HP / 600 lb-ft (250kw/800Nm).

The Nissan NP300 is a great truck I have a indestructiblethe best value for money for the work is efficient!!!

Nice to know the smaller trucks are floating around SOMEWHERE. I only wish it were HERE!

The Toyota LandCruiser LC70 is cool. I like the Microbus. Chrysler used to advertise being the originator of the Minivan when it actually was VW.

The Lincoln F150 is ugly. All Lincolns are ugly and rebadged cheapo styling exercises. If Lincoln is to thrive, Ford needs to do more than badge engineer Ford products.

Is there going to be a blacked-out Mark LT Narco edition? You would have to be a narco or Federale to pull off driving one of those.

I wouldn't wear seat belts in the Kombi. I don't want to end up a darn vegetable in a serious accident. And are those front drum brake ?

@Alex,
They have just released a twincab version as a result of demand from Mining companies.. Mining Companies ,Rural, Outback Farmers and virtually every tradesman you can think of ,love them. They like the extreme reliability of the single turbo engine and the bulletproof nature of the entire vehicle.

@Denvermike...my 1976 VW van had front disc/rear drum, so I'm guessing the Kombi at least has discs up front. The disc calipers were a 2 piston design, and they were so easy to reline that once you had the car on jacks, wheels off, you could replace disc pads on both front wheels in about five minutes. The '76 had a dreadful Bosch EFI that used the distributor's contact points for the timing of the injectors. Awful. Even the slightest pitting, or mis-adjustment of the points would make the car run really awful. Stupid design.

During college I spent a half-year as a foreign exchange student in Mexico. (This was in the mid-90s.) The family that I lived with drove an old Kombi...slow as hell, but it worked great. Still had the old VW flat-4 boxer. At that time you could still get an old-style VW Beetle brand new at any VW dealership and there were tons of 'em running around down there.

The family across the street had a Dodge Ramcharger that LOOKED like a US one from the late 70s/early 80s, but actually it was brand new.

Those LC-70's are in a world of their own. I got a chance to drive one for the the better part of 2 years and while unloaded the ride is extremely punishing but those things will climb up the side of your house in 4 low even with their max rated 6000 lbs in the bed. Always tried to keep a few hundred lbs if sand lying around to carry when unloaded just to take the edge off these brutes around town. I got to drive one at full capacity a couple times and it just kind of loafed around like a 1990's era cadillac.
I never got to drive the new 4.5l TD V8, all the ones on the farm I worked at were the old 4.2L I6 naturally aspirated diesel. Those motors were freaking tanks. Slow for sure but they were an unstoppable force in low gear. I tried to bring one back with me but they just wont have them here.

@devilsadvocate "Unbreakable" is not just a word describing them. The .4.5 v8 is a whole lot better than the 4.2.

@TRX-4 Tom
I hope you will accept my sincerest apology for my attacks on you.

I have worked out who had been multi posting me and most probably Hemi V8 and Bob.

I initially thought it was you because of your comments directed at myself and your passionate encounters with others.

Accept my apology.

If you see any more posts with my name treat them with some caution as I will be hammered by DenverMike.

Mexico gets nearly all the "global"vehicles. Just saw a Nissan D22 last week. Up until recently you could still get Ram Chargers in last gen body style. Four door Rangers are the most common version for many years. Hilux is around too. There is no problem crossing the border with them, but good luck trying to get them registered here.

I'd like to see the LC-70 with a real pickup bed. Like the Toyota 4-Runner is spun off a FJ Cruiser in terms of styling, the next-gen Tacoma should have some styling cues of the LC-70. Toyota SHOULD make 4.5L V8 turbodiesel engine an option for the Tundra.

"Ford tried competing against what Cadillac offers with failure year over year just like them competing against the Tahoe and Yukon with their Excursion and Expedition. Just another failure among many for Ford." - GREG

Ford a failure, well at least they didn't go bankrupt.

Nice try troll!

Al, You know what happens when you ASSume. If you spent less time attacking and thinking everyone is out to get you, you woldn't have so much trouble.

The whole world isn't all going to agree with you. The problem is not TRX$Tom or DenverMike, or any other name you want to throw out there. It is you. See if you can stop attacking and start staying on topic for once.

Al, You know what happens when you ASSume. If you spent less time attacking and thinking everyone is out to get you, you woldn't have so much trouble.

The whole world isn't all going to agree with you. The problem is not TRX$Tom or DenverMike, or any other name you want to throw out there. It is you. See if you can stop attacking and start staying on topic for once.

you woldn't have so much trouble.

The whole world isn't all going to agree with you and that is ok. The problem is not TRX4 Tom , DenverMike, or any other name you want to throw out there. It is the one and only you. See if you can stop attacking and start staying on topic for once.

Please excuse the double post.

@Liam
" Toyota SHOULD make 4.5L V8 turbodiesel engine an option for the Tundra."

That could be a "maybe" as the 4.5L V8 turbodiesel engine is only sold in Australia so far.

Please excuse the double post.

@Liam,
Toyota SHOULD make 4.5L V8 turbodiesel engine an option for the Tundra.
A "Maybe" as the 4.5L V8 turbodiesel engine is only used in Australia.

@Robert Ryan
As reliable as the 4.5 diesel is, it is old now. This is a problem with all of Toyota's current diesels. They just released the RAV4 diesel here and the reviewer claims the diesel isn't that good.

@DenverMike
You can use all the names (tags) under the sun and multi post till your heart's content.

This all started when I refused to debate you on your terms over the Colorado vs Ford F-250 weight. I have undermined your trolling and you don't like it.

It started out as 'iddy biddy' utes, then it proceeded to anti Americanism, now its trolling. What will it be next?

DenverMike, when debating you place expectations on others, when other don't meet it you make a point of amplifying those deficiencies. Now I expect the same from you.

I know Lou and others are becoming a little frustrated with what is going on. You can try and displace your part of responisbility and hide behind your many IP addresses.

At least I can say I don't hide.

No one has to agree with my views, as I've had many debates with others and we agree to disagree.

What's your problem? Just answer the questions and provide proof like you have expected froom everyone else.

Notice the two step by Big Al. He is one of the biggest trolls in PUTC history. Now he wants to say he is above it all. "See what you made me do?" Yeah, right.

@BAFO - I answered all your questions on the old thread, with lots of links, facts and plain ol' common sense. You scampered off as usual. With zero response. Zero rebuttal. Only to reappear much later asking for "proof". Again. Way to troll... Go back and read it. This is a new topic and I'm not going to repeat any of it here.

@John
What have actually been my posts?

You wouldn't know. Because my name is on a post doesn't mean its mine.

Maybe DenverMike can enlighten you on that.

Or, John are you one of DenverMikes other names.

Lou is a smelly pirate hooker!

I would love to have the old school land cruiser here in the US but the average American truck buyers wrist will start getting limp while they are still 50 feet away from them.
I can hear the San Francisco accents now, "harsh ride, lockout hubs, you mean if I want 4 wheel drive I have to lean over and tug on a lever? AAAAUUUGGGHH! Show me the Tundras instead".

The info here is only half right on nissin np300 truck.2013 model you can get 4dr diesel,4x4.Also 2014 model in Mexico



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