Hilux Little Red 81 Hilux in Oz

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Mar 19, 2010
G'day Guys and Gals. Casper here in Australia.

I thought I'd share with you my latest project.
I picked this little gem up 2yrs ago for a mate. He was going to use it as a farm hack but never ended up touching it. It sat for 2 years and 4 months under a tree. I picked it up last week from exactly the same place I dropped it off. In that time the rust has come out badly compared to how I remembered it. Fortunately it came with a spare cab. Parts of the original cab are shot, but good on the spare and vice versa. I got this for the price of....... $0.

Anyway. I had planned on getting it on the road for a work vehicle. Or selling and putting the cash towards another Ute. I need your guidance and support on the best course of action.

Here it is, the good and then the bad.

The good. November 2016.
The Bad, April 2019




The biggest problem I have found so far is that the chassis has had a repair at some stage. It's right behind the cab about 600mm long, inner side of rails plated, both left and right rail. It is an old repair and I'm sure it's been registered within that time however, my concern is it will get picked up during a road worthy certificate and I won't be allowed to register it because it is a dodgy job (I didn't know Stevie Wonder could weld).

The rust is bad but I have another cab I can cut up and I dont mind panel work. The tray (bed) is bad but still solid, I can attack it later. Overall i think it's in reasonable condition and not too far gone.

What do you think? Am I wasting my time?
(My 6yr old son has already made plans for when he owns it :D).

Thanks, Casper
Cool old truck. You know we're going to tell you to save it. The pre-84 trucks are getting pretty rare up here. With the spare cab and no rusty bed to deal with how bad can it be? Ha. I don't have inspections here so I don't know what it takes to pass. Really it's just steel so worst case can you find someone with a good section of frame in a scrap yard you can weld in. With a welder, grinder, time and paint the repair could be made invisible.

What motor is that? We only got petrol here except for a few years in the mid-80s we got the L diesel I think.

Thanks for posting and keep us up to date.
Motor looks to be an 18-RC
Yes 18R-C.

I could swap cabs, however the roof and A pillars are shot in the spare cab. They have been worked on before.
I'm thinking I should cut out what I can from original cab and get it on the road quickly (Only because I need a work vehicle asap) without touching spare cab. Once on the road I can get the spare cab sand blasted and I'll repair it for a future replacement.

My wife and kids have already said we should keep it cause it's got a lot of character :clap: so that's half the war won!
More bad in original cab
My 6yr old wanting to help and learning about nuts, bolts, screws and nails.
Spare cab photos show it's in much better condition, except the A pillars and roof have had a good hit and roughly straightened.
Nice pickup - I think it deserves a rescue! I gotta say though being from the middle of the desert that rust is going to give me nightmares. :oops:

Is it common to find these trucks in decent shape where you're at? I would say if you have the skills to fix the other cab then do it and just run this one the way it is - as long as the other cab is salvagable. No sense in doing a bunch of patching/cutting if you could just fix the other one.
Thanks Yotadude.
Considering it's almost 40yrs old I think it's not too bad. Rust is very dependant of whether it's on the coast or inland. Also whether it's a farm Ute or not.
I think it's been a farm Ute judging by the majority of the rust being low in the cab. Also the chassis rail has been repaired long ago. This makes me think it had cow s*** in the rails and underneath the floor most it's life.

The chassis rails are beyond repair in my opinion. Here in Aus we aren't allowed to weld chassis rails unless it is certified and has a modification plate added.

My hopes of getting it on the road asap are unrealistic, however the wife and kids are happy for me to hang onto it as a future project. Mainly cause my young bloke is so keen on driving it and helping fix it.

I will try and find another in better condition, or at least a chassis. Otherwise it'll be a trailer pig with a tube rear end!!!! :D I can dream!
Can anyone tell me if a 2wd and 4wd chassis are interchangeable?

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