Was this ahead of its time, or not - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-21-2019, 11:16 AM   #1
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Was this ahead of its time, or not

Just thought the fiberglass vehicle was really neat, it's fiberglass and just shows what Toyota did back in the 90's.
https://www.msn.com/en-us/autos/enth...zmT?li=BBnb7Kz

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Old 01-21-2019, 12:17 PM   #2
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This Hilux fiberglass camper was like a lot of neat vehicles offered elsewhere in the world back in the day and not in the USA.

Yes these vehicles were certainly "Ahead of their time" in comparison to what was commercially available in the USA at that same time however they were not particularly "Ahead of their time" in Japan, Australia, sometimes Canada and other parts of the world where these vehicles were sold and available when new.

As a point of not Chinook offered a similar setup on the old Toyota 4WD PU chassis back in the late 1970's and 1980's in the USA. Overloaded and SLOW they were not particularly capable vehicles and suffered from poor Chinook build quality that was not up to par with offerings from other manufacturer's elsewhere in the world.
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Old 01-21-2019, 12:44 PM   #3
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The Toyota motorhomes were great, and there's a whole forum devoted to them. I used to be over there and found out about this forum from there. When I switched to a fiberglass trailer, I moved over here.

Like Mike says they were way overloaded, which is why Toyota stopped letting camper companies build motorhomes on their vehicles sometime in the early-mid 90s. But the best (in my opinion) Toyota motorhomes where the last few years of Sunraders.

There were maybe a dozen professionally built Sunraders on 4x4 chassis, all others, as far as I know, were done by private owners. There are definitely some of the smaller pop-top Chinooks out there on 4x4 trucks, but to my knowledge, none came that way from a manufacturer. They're all fabricated by owners.

Here's my first step into the RV world. Sold it in 2015 just before buying my Bigfoot. 1978 Toyota Chinook. 2.2L 4 cylinder engine, but it took me everywhere I wanted to go, including some pretty remote, rough dirt roads.

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Old 01-21-2019, 01:17 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by trainman View Post
Just thought the fiberglass vehicle was really neat, it's fiberglass and just shows what Toyota did back in the 90's.
https://www.msn.com/en-us/autos/enth...zmT?li=BBnb7Kz

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I love it ! Thankyou for posting ! Pat
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Old 01-21-2019, 03:25 PM   #5
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What do you think the pods are for that have been added to the lower part of the cab's doors?
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Old 01-21-2019, 04:14 PM   #6
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What do you think the pods are for that have been added to the lower part of the cab's doors?
I was wondering the same thing too . I think I figured out the little I believe it is a mirror on the front . Pat
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Old 01-21-2019, 05:19 PM   #7
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Here is an article about the Toyota Axle Recall here in the USA concerning the overloaded Toyota Motorhome's produced for and by the US RV manufacturer's.

http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Deadly...mes&id=4065393
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Old 01-21-2019, 07:36 PM   #8
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people, it is easy to link to many of the images shown in articles. Just right click on the image and choose "copy image location". Then at the header of the message box on this website click on the icon that shows a little mountain with sun image and paste the link into it. That will insert the image from the website into your message...like this one from the website link given by the OP.
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Old 01-22-2019, 08:14 AM   #9
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I thought the coffee cup holders with notch-outs for the handles in the bathroom were a nice touch. But TWO holders? Must have had a great library to need to take two cups with you. Why not add a cup warmer while they were at it.

Yup, ahead of their time.
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Old 01-22-2019, 08:22 AM   #10
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Thanks for posting John! I thought that article was really neat!!
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Old 01-22-2019, 09:57 AM   #11
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It's really surprising that he didn't mention what those things on the doors are for. I expected to see something on the inside of the door when he opened it, but nope. I can only figure they're storage compartments, but I don't know...

There was a time that thing was exactly what I was looking for. There may be a time again at some point...but for now I've got what makes the most sense. Too bad there aren't more units like that out there, though. I get myself all stressed out thinking about finding an old Sunrader and going through the work of putting it on a newer, maybe 4x4 truck...

I loved driving all over the west in a 1978 truck/motorhome, but...It's nice to have some more safety features and all that.

Still crazy to me that as early as the early 80's, possibly even late 70's, you could get double cab Toyota pickups in other countries, and that they still had a solid front axle into the 90's. And the whole diesel thing. Clearly a very different market in the US.
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:06 AM   #12
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I thought the coffee cup holders with notch-outs for the handles in the bathroom were a nice touch. But TWO holders? Must have had a great library to need to take two cups with you. Why not add a cup warmer while they were at it.

Yup, ahead of their time.

Toothbrush cup holder
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:40 AM   #13
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It's really surprising that he didn't mention what those things on the doors are for. I expected to see something on the inside of the door when he opened it, but nope. I can only figure they're storage compartments, but I don't know...

There was a time that thing was exactly what I was looking for. There may be a time again at some point...but for now I've got what makes the most sense. Too bad there aren't more units like that out there, though. I get myself all stressed out thinking about finding an old Sunrader and going through the work of putting it on a newer, maybe 4x4 truck...

I loved driving all over the west in a 1978 truck/motorhome, but...It's nice to have some more safety features and all that.

Still crazy to me that as early as the early 80's, possibly even late 70's, you could get double cab Toyota pickups in other countries, and that they still had a solid front axle into the 90's. And the whole diesel thing. Clearly a very different market in the US.
That is a nice rig and the first one I've seen a tour of. The features are amazing: Diesel engine, exhaust heated water, metal tanks, seatbelts in the dinette, diesel heater, a bathroom and a built in Onan generator. Sheesh, all in that small rig! The diesel 4X4 Toyota with straight axle is one of the most reliable vehicles ever made.

I used a pop-up camper on my '93 Cummins for a while and really liked the concept, but finally went to a trailer. Every style of rig has their particular strong points and shortcomings, I guess. I love the trailer because I can leave it behind and go exploring, without having to break camp. Also, a full sized truck with more power seems so much better to be out on the highway with these days. But still, if you wanted to go way out to some remote spot and stay for a couple of weeks, that rig would be excellent, especially with a few solar panels on the roof. Once out there, one could take some time to figure out what those enormous door protectors really are! Maybe they're ballast to keep the front end down, or flotation devices for deep river crossing! Might be as simple as side guard bumpers for crash protection.
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Old 01-22-2019, 12:41 PM   #14
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I don't prefer the solid axle, but it's definitely stronger. I had a 83 Toyota pickup with the solid front axle. That thing rode like a tank. Super bumpy.

I love motorhomes. My trailer is much more practical, for the reasons you describe and others. But something about having just one unit, and especially being able to just park, stand up and walk into the living area...and get up in the morning and just crawl into the driver seat and drive away. I don't know. There's something about the feel of being in a motorhome, with the cab of the truck and the living area/coach all right there, that I just really like.

I noticed the seatbelts in the dinette, too. I agree that's really nice.
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Old 01-22-2019, 12:59 PM   #15
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It's really surprising that he didn't mention what those things on the doors are for. I expected to see something on the inside of the door when he opened it, but nope. I can only figure they're storage compartments, but I don't know...

I suspect that the step folds up into that pod for increased clearance off road.
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Old 01-22-2019, 03:11 PM   #16
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I don't prefer the solid axle, but it's definitely stronger. I had a 83 Toyota pickup with the solid front axle. That thing rode like a tank. Super bumpy.
Yeah, those straight axle trucks rode like they had no springs at all. Remember the Wolverine kit for turning Toyotas into 4WD? They came out before Toyota decided to build their own 4WD trucks. IIRC, the Dodge D-50 was the first one to be available with 4WD. They also had a diesel and independent front suspension, but the engine was nowhere near as good as the Toyota. They ran great, but didn't last.

It's too bad the generator in that rig needs gasoline as it means carrying a separate and more dangerous fuel in such a limited space.

Have you ever seen that Top Gear episode where they try to destroy a Toyota 4WD diesel?

When the camper conversions on Toyota trucks first started appearing, they had a dually setup in the rear, but it was just a scabbed on second wheel. I used to look at those and shake my head. Then they finally started putting in a full floating axle like the one shown in the video. But they have a different bolt pattern and style of wheel. The truck shown only has one spare, but two seems important, although a single can probably work on the rear long enough to get to the tire shop. Strong tires on the rear would be a must.
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Old 01-22-2019, 03:21 PM   #17
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What do you think the pods are for that have been added to the lower part of the cab's doors?
Maybe they are there to keep someone from riding on the running boards?
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Old 01-22-2019, 03:33 PM   #18
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That's about right: like no springs at all.

I don't think I've ever seen a Wolverine in person but definitely a lot of photos online.

I did see the Top Gear episode. That one made the rounds on Toyota forums.

If this truck were mine, I'd ditch the generator and AC and put a panel on top.

Yeah, the "foolies". Perfect in that they gave you a nice false sense of security...
My Chinook had single rear wheels, but should have been a dually. In a lot of ways, it was a scary vehicle. Really overloaded and old and rickety. I saw a video of a similar Toyota motorhome in a crash test. Basically the driver gets decapitated by the steering wheel. This is at 30mph hitting a concrete wall, not even a high-speed head-on. Yikes. The thing would cruise down the highway at 75mph, no problem, smooth as anything. But had I ever needed to swerve really fast or slam on the brakes? Well, glad it never happened.
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Old 01-30-2019, 03:17 PM   #19
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I rented something similar in Australia

In 2017 my wife and I were doing a trip around the world. We were in the Red center of Australia for a week and we drove the "Red Center Loop" from Alice Springs. We rented a camper from a company called Cheepa Camper ( https://www.cheapacampa.com.au/campe...icles_adv.aspx ) I think this link should get you there. Anyhow it was built on the Toyota HiLux chassis with the 3L turbo diesel and the 6 speed manual. The camper was a popup all fiberglass construction bolted directly to the frame. It was a really nice rig, great mileage, rolled along very comfortably at 70+ MPH, and was not to top heavy for off road or crosswind situations. I would love to get it's equivalent here in the USA, but sadly it doesn't exist. One interesting note is that the fiberglass pop up was built by Winnebago. I'm not a huge Toyota fan but love this chassis, It's much nicer that the Tacoma, and much better drive-ability than the Tundra's that snap your neck when they finely start moving and then the traction control kicks in.
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Old 01-31-2019, 09:40 AM   #20
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I am currently in the market for a compact fiberglass motor home....if this Toyota was available on the market today I would buy it in a New York Minute !

Toyota is the most reliable vehicle on the road today. We have four Toyota vehicles in our
family and they have been trouble free for over 10 years....zero service issues...zero breakdowns.

That combination (Toyota + fiberglass) would be a home run in a motorhome !!!
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