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If you’re a fan of classic four wheelers, Greg’s Restorations in Rutland, Massachusetts needs to be on your radar. For the past ten years the shop has applied their formidable skills to frame-off restorations and custom projects on everything from vintage muscle cars to late model hot rods, but what really sets this outfit apart is the work they do on Toyota’s old school off-road machines.
“I basically started the company when I was 15,” says founder Greg Ward. “I got my first truck – a 1974 Toyota Land Cruiser – and I restored it in my back yard. Later I moved everything into my grandparent’s garage. It was a business that I created from virtually nothing, but now we have ten technicians at our Rutland facility, which we’ve been in since 2011.”
Ward says that while they typically build to whatever the customer has in mind (and what budgets will allow for), there was one particular project back in 2013 that really put the shop on the map with a particular set of enthusiasts.
Although the truck is an 80s throwback aesthetically, it’s more of a restomod underneath. Sporting upgraded brakes, modern suspension components, and a supercharged 22R motor that’s managed with a Sniper EFI system, this truck offers the kind of capability that Toyota could only dream of back in 1982.
“Our claim to fame is that we restored the Toyota pickup used in Back to the Future. It’s owned by a local customer who has a collection of Back to the Future memorabilia, and when the truck came in, it was clear that someone along the way hadn’t been concerned about retaining the original look. It was bright orange with a blue interior, lifted, and someone had changed a lot of the other stuff on it. But the stuff that really matters was still there.”
In anticipation of the movie’s 30th anniversary, the shop was tasked with returning the ’85 Toyota Extra-Cab SR5 Pickup to its original movie spec, replete with KC fog lights, Smittybilt double tube bumpers and roll bar, Toyota windshield decal – hell, it even had Marty’s sleeping bags in the bed for that camping trip that he was going to take. “It’s also just happens to be a ‘Holy Grail’ kind of spec,” Ward notes. “1985 was the first year for fuel injection in the Toyota Pickup and the last year for the solid front axle, so that combination was a one-year deal.”
The frame-off restoration took 11 months from start to finish (a project which Ward documented on the shop’s YouTube channel), and the attention to detail that was showcased along the way earned Greg’s Restorations a reputation among vintage Toyota truck fanatics. And that, in turn, led to this 1982 Toyota Pickup restoration, which the team took on back in 2019.
With nearly 300,000 miles on the odometer when it rolled into the shop, the ’82 was in need of just about everything.
“This customer reached out to me to have the truck built for his sons,” Ward tells us. “The truck was found online in California, and it was pretty rust free aside from some surface corrosion, but it had 296,000 miles on it. So while it still ran and drove, it basically needed everything.”
The Toyota had lived the hard life of a proper work truck, doing chores on a ranch for years on end, and this project gave it an entirely new lease on life. “This customer wanted it to be built like the Toyota pickup he had in high school. He wanted his sons to have the same experience: to have their first car to be an ‘82 Toyota Pickup. But he also wanted a few extra touches that we were able to help out with.”
Those touches include a custom red paint hue that’s brighter than the original factory shade, along with a color-matched bed liner and an array of upgrades both aesthetic and mechanical. In terms of the former, the Toyota is rocking a Go Rhino roll bar in the bed that’s outfitted with some classic KC Daylighters, along with front and rear Smittybilt bumpers and a retro graphics package. 16-inch US Wheels and 33-inch BFG All-Terrain tires help complete the look.
Outfitted with forged internals, Sniper EFI, and a Camden supercharger, the 22R now puts 150 horsepower to the wheels, which is roughly double the stock output.
On the mechanical side, the truck scored a 2.5-inch suspension lift from Old Man Emu, four wheel disc brakes, and a custom ceramic-coated exhaust system with a header from LCE Performance that’s hooked to a 2.4-liter 22R engine with forged internals. Outfitted with a Camden supercharger and a Sniper EFI 2300 2BBL system, the four cylinder power plant puts down 150 horsepower at the wheels – roughly double the original output, and more than enough for a five-speed manual Toyota Pickup that’s still rolling on a leaf spring suspension setup.
Ward says that getting the Camden blower to work with the rest of the setup was a bit of an endeavor of its own, though. “We purchased it from a performance supplier as a kit, and I think we were kind of their guinea pigs. We needed to delete the AC to make everything fit, and it wasn’t really a bolt-on solution because we needed to get an aftermarket distributor in order to get it to run right. It didn’t even fit under the hood – we actually had to modify the inside of the hood so that the air cleaner they had supplied would fit. The folks at Holley Performance wanted to help us out, too, but it was sort of complicated because we’d purchased all these components as a kit from someone else.”
But after some initial teething issues, the blown setup proved to be worth the effort. “It’s running great now – it’s actually pretty fast, it’s a lot of power for a truck this size,” says Ward. “With a tall stance and a short wheelbase, it’s plenty. And when you get on it, the noises that the supercharger makes are just crazy. It sounds like nothing else.”
Aside from a small boost gauge and the Sniper EFI digital display, the Toyota’s interior looks like it’s straight off the showroom floor.
Completed earlier this year, the truck now resides with its new family, but the kids are going to have to wait for their turn behind the wheel. “The sons aren’t old enough to drive yet, so Mom and Dad have been having fun with it until they can get their licenses,” Ward says.
In the meantime, his documentation of the build has received no shortage of attention on YouTube and Facebook. “Everybody wants to buy it, but of course it’s not for sale. If I had three of them lined up for sale, they’d be gone. People just don’t want to wait for one to be built. ”
But patience tends to pay off with projects like these. “It was a very in-depth restoration that we did on that truck,” he adds. “And because of that, there’s not another one out there that’s like it. Nobody restores these trucks to this standard.”
A 2.5-inch suspension lift from Old Man Emu provide the truck with an authoritive stance and additional off-road capability. 16-inch US Wheels and 31-inch BFGoodrich all-terrain tires give the ’82 a distinctive vibe that pays homage to Marty’s dream truck in Back to the Future.