Rare 4×4 Two Door: 1997 Toyota RAV4 – SOLD!
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January 31, 2023, Update – We confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.
Now and again, we have to let a car slide in here that isn’t in mint condition. The justification is simple: a vehicle is near impossible to find in any condition, so we let it slide if there are some rough edges. You may think we’re talking about some limited-production supercar, but surprise! It’s a Toyota RAV4. But not just any RAV4: a two-door hardtop model with a 5-speed manual gearbox and a locking differential. It’s about as rare as it gets for a Toyota truck made in the last 20 years, which is why we’ll ignore the rough cosmetics for now. This RAV4 was last seen for sale in January 2023 on Craigslist near Washington, D.C., for just $3,000 with 236,000 miles on the clock. Comparing that price against the Classic.com model guide shows that the seller is asking short money compared to the going rate for a RAV4, which is pegged at $8,613:
When we think of desirable Toyota trucks, the conversation almost always turns to the Land Cruiser or the Tacoma pickup. The Land Cruiser covers a broad swath of model generations, but almost every era of Toyota’s marquee SUV is considered sought-after. The Tacoma has long been a modern classic, the kind of vehicle you can drive and use like a daily driver, except that it will appreciate better than almost any other mid-size pickup. Forgotten in all of this excitement over the durability and increasing values of trucks like the Land Cruiser and the Tacoma is the spunky RAV4, which was not always such a lukewarm mall crawler as we now see it. When the RAV4 first came out, it set fire to the notion that a compact truck couldn’t be a pint-sized trail fighter with lots of squabble standard. It was like a reliable Suzuki Samurai and found immediate favor with consumers. Very few of the two doors still exist on the roads today.
The Motorweek Retro Review YouTube Channel features this test drive of an even rarer today Rav4 two-door soft top:
Still, I don’t blame you for wondering if a RAV4 like this one is a true collector’s item. I offer as evidence for its potential the rise of the Suzuki Samurai and renewed interest in the Ford Bronco II. This is a class of vehicles that don’t exist anymore, and given how large the classic Jeep Wrangler has become, it’s hardly even a shadow of its former self. The new Ford Bronco in two-door form is probably the closest new vehicle we have for a short-wheelbase, off-road capable 4×4, but it still dwarfs vehicles like this RAV4. Therefore, if you want to sample the last gasp of the truly compact trail-ready 4×4, a RAV4 two-door might be your best bet (it’s either that or a Suzuki X90, no thank you.) This one has some bodywork needs, but the interior is very clean, and the manual gearbox is what you want to see when you open the door. Fix the rust and move to the mountains – that’s my advice.
Here’s the seller’s description:
“$3000 FIRM. CASH ONLY. NO LESS, DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME
Extremely rare and unique 1997 Rav4. Manual transmission, 4×4, center differential lock, 2 door.
It runs and drives excellently. Clear coat fading, some rust, check engine light on for evap canister. Bigger Ford wheels on it right now. I also have the stock steel wheels.
Clean title in my name.
PHONE CALL ONLY. No text!“
Compact rock hopper: was the two-door RAV4 the last of a dying breed?