HomeCar CultureRestoring “Back to the Future” Inspired 1980s Toyota Pickups

Restoring “Back to the Future” Inspired 1980s Toyota Pickups


As a child of the 1980s, one of the most iconic movies I grew up watching was Back to the Future. The first movie in the “BTTF” trilogy premiered in 1985 when I was just four years old, but I have since watched it so many times that I can quote nearly every line. “Great Scott!”

The star of the show – aside from Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, of course – was a DMC DeLorean time machine. But another standout vehicle from the movie’s automotive cast was a glistening black 1985 Toyota SR5 Xtra Cab 4×4 pickup. This truck came from the fourth generation of the Toyota Hilux and launched in model year 1984. Many such trucks were powered by a robust fuel-injected 22R-E inline-four which became known for its durability. Marty’s truck was upgraded with KC HiLites auxiliary lighting, Goodyear Wrangler tires, and other goodies.

A fellow BTTF enthusiast, Alan, was as enthralled with the movie as I was. Since 2016, he has become a trusted resource in the 1980s Toyota pickup enthusiast community. I first connected with Alan when I parked near him during a RADwood event a few years ago in Southern California. I was struck by his attention to detail and always wanted to learn more about how his passion evolved.

I caught up with Alan (under @alwaystoyota on Instagram) for a Q&A session.

  1. What first started your passion for older Toyota pickups?

Growing up I was always obsessed with Back to the Future, for some reason I had no interest in cartoons or any other sort of “kid” movies so I would literally watch all three movies on repeat. Obviously, the DeLorean was always a dream car of mine, but it wasn’t something I saw myself realistically being able to financially achieve. Back in late 2015, early 2016, the Peterson Museum had an unveiling of the fully restored original Back to the Future “A” car which was famously known to be the most screen used DeLorean in the trilogy. I remember the moment we were standing in line when all of a sudden, I saw about six to seven replica “Marty” trucks roll in all at the same time, that’s when it hit me! Why didn’t I ever think of getting one of those? It was later that night I started looking on craigslist and purchased my first 1986 Toyota 4×4 pickup truck.

  • How many replica BTTF pickups have you created?

I have built a total of eight BTTF tribute trucks, all ranging from 1985 to 1987.

  • Your attention to detail is remarkable. What are some of the accompanying movie memorabilia items you usually display with the trucks?

The Hoverboard and the Nike Air Mags are a must! I also like to include some plutonium cases, flux capacitor, sport almanac, and just anything that really demonstrates BTTF!

  • What are some upcoming events or projects that you are looking forward to?

As far as events go, I am looking forward to Toyotafest, it’s one of the biggest Toyota car shows in the area, lots of fantastic cars and great people! As far as projects go, I think that is a never-ending story. I am currently working on another 1985 Toyota pickup, extra cab, 4×4, SR5 22RE that is about to undergo a full frame-off restoration along with a few others that you’ll have to wait and see!

1985 4×4 SR5 Xtra Cab 22RE after its frame off restoration
  • What was involved with your recent collaboration with KC Lights?

I had the pleasure of having my personal Back to The Future truck in the 2023 Toyota Tundra commercial. This brought nostalgia to KC HiLights and was offered by them to show case the truck at their booth at an off-road expo. It was shortly after that when they hired me to build them a full frame-off restoration “McFly” truck. It was truly an amazing experience, and the work on that truck speaks for itself!

  • Are parts readily available for restoration of older Toyota pickups? If not, what’s most difficult to find?

Restoring these trucks can fun but also extremely frustrating. Most of the interior on these older Toyotas are made out of plastics, but thankfully still available. Lots of people are starting to 3D print the hard-to-find parts. When I work on my projects, my goal is to make the truck look the same exact way it did when it rolled out of the showroom floor with almost all original parts. I’d have to say the hardest parts to find under the hood are original AC components, windshield wiper & radiator reservoirs, and certain ignitors. As far as interior goes, uncracked dash pads and clean 85 SR5 Vertigo seats!

  • I noticed you have signatures from some cast members on your dash. Have the BTTF cast / creators / production team ever expressed interest in future film production or other types of features?

Unfortunately, no, I had a conversation with Bob Gale once and he mentioned that if another attempt was made it would potentially alter the significance of the trilogy.

  • What resources are available (forums, FB groups, etc.) for anyone looking to get into these old trucks?

When building an older Toyota, getting involved in the community will make things a lot easier. By joining Facebook groups, Facebook marketplace, Instagram, and going to Toyota car shows the possibilities are endless.

  • Do you have any plans for celebrating/recognizing the upcoming 40th Anniversary of the first BTTF movie from 1985?

As of now, I have not heard of anything but hopefully that changes!

  • What’s your favorite period-correct song or album to rock out to in your pickup?

“Power of Love” by Huey Lewis

Thanks, Alan, for taking the time to connect with me about your passion! Now, can I take that Hoverboard for a spin?

If you are ready to join Alan in the collector marketplace with a 1980s-era Toyota pickup or any of your other favorite movie cars, check the listings on!

Tyson Hugie
Tyson Hugie
Tyson Hugie is a Phoenix-based automotive enthusiast who has been writing for The Journal since 2016. His favorite automotive niche is 1980s and 1990s Japanese cars, and he is a self-diagnosed “Acura addict” since he owns a collection of Honda and Acura cars from that era. Tyson can usually be found on weekends tinkering on restoration projects, attending car shows, or enjoying the open road. He publishes videos each week to his YouTube channel and is also a contributing author to Arizona Driver Magazine,, NSX Driver Magazine, and other automotive publications. His pride and joy is a 1994 Acura Legend LS coupe with nearly 600,000 miles on the odometer, but he loves anything on four wheels and would someday like to own a 1950 Buick Special like his late grandfather’s.



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