Miserly Motel: 1974 Toyota HiLux Chinook Camper – SOLD!

by | May 2023 | Classifinds, Truckin Tuesday

(To stop the slideshow and expand the pictures, click on the current photograph below)

June 19, 2023, Update – We confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we can now 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.

Historically, if you wanted to get away from it all, doing so with an RV meant you spent a lot of money on fuel. When the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo hit the U.S., many RV’ers found themselves using the rigs much less due to higher gas prices and long lines at the pump.  Eyeing an opportunity, Toyota partnered with U.S. RV company Chinook to develop an economical, HiLux-Pickup-based rig.  This 1974 Toyota HiLux Chinook for sale, spotted on Craigslist in Reno, Nevada, in May 2023, might be the nicest survivor-quality example remaining. Featuring Toyota’s proven 18R inline-four mated to a floor-shifted four-speed manual transmission, the second owner of the past decade reports their Chinook regularly achieves mid-20s MPG.  Not too shabby for a small RV capable of sleeping two people. Acknowledging the survivor quality of this 1974 Toyota Chinook camper for sale was its feature in the book Off The Road.

Last offered for $21,000, our normal pricing sources do not provide values for these rare RVs.  A quick check on the Bring A Trailer website reveals that the site sold several examples in similar condition for around $15,000 over the past several years.

The 1974 Toyota Hilux Chinook Camper was a compact and versatile recreational vehicle that gained popularity during the 1970s. It was a collaborative effort between the renowned Japanese automaker Toyota and the American RV manufacturer Chinook.

Exterior: The exterior of the 1974 Toyota Hilux Chinook Camper featured a compact pickup truck design. It was based on the Toyota Hilux pickup truck, which was known for its durability and reliability. The camper portion was integrated into the truck bed, creating a streamlined and efficient design. The body of the camper was made of lightweight materials, such as fiberglass, to enhance fuel efficiency.

Camper Interior: Despite its compact size, the interior of the 1974 Toyota Hilux Chinook Camper offered a surprising amount of living space. The camper featured a pop-top roof, which could be raised to increase headroom and provide additional sleeping space. When the roof was elevated, it revealed a comfortable sleeping area with a mattress suitable for accommodating two people.

Inside the camper, there was a small kitchenette area equipped with essential amenities. It typically included a sink, a two-burner stove, a small refrigerator, and storage cabinets for utensils and cookware. The kitchenette allowed for basic meal preparation during camping trips.

The living area of the camper consisted of a dinette booth with a table that could be converted into an additional sleeping area. The booth had seating for several people and could be transformed into a bed by removing the table. This flexible design ensured that the camper could comfortably sleep up to four people.

Additional Features: The 1974 Toyota Hilux Chinook Camper came with various additional features to enhance the camping experience. These features varied depending on the specific model and optional extras chosen by the buyer.

Some common features included:

  1. Auxiliary battery system: The camper was equipped with a secondary battery that provided power for interior lights, appliances, and other electrical needs. This battery could be charged while driving or plugged into an external power source when parked.
  2. Storage compartments: The camper had built-in storage compartments for stowing camping gear, clothing, and other belongings. These compartments were designed to make the most of the available space.
  3. Windows and ventilation: Multiple windows were strategically placed throughout the camper to allow natural light and ventilation. Some models even had screened windows, allowing for fresh air while keeping insects out.
  4. Water system: The camper included a freshwater tank for the kitchenette sink and a wastewater tank for collecting used water. This allowed for basic hygiene and washing dishes during camping trips.
  5. Awning: Some models of the 1974 Toyota Hilux Chinook Camper featured an awning attached to the exterior. The awning could be extended to provide shade and protection from the elements.

Overall, the 1974 Toyota Hilux Chinook Camper was a compact and functional recreational vehicle that offered a comfortable living space for camping enthusiasts. Its combination of Toyota’s reliable truck platform and Chinook’s expertise in RV manufacturing made it a popular choice for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a versatile and affordable camping experience.

The iKari YouTube Channel features this hipster video giving a modern-day walk-around tour of a similar 1976 Toyota Chinook Camper:

This 1974 Toyota HiLux Chinook Camper appears to be a nicely preserved and maintained survivor-quality example that is ready for your first adventure.  The seller confidently recommends potential buyers to fly into Reno, where the camper is located, and drive it home.  We’re also glad to see the seller only made minor modifications to their Chinook and kept the original pieces should the next caretaker decide to return this Chinook back to its original specifications.

If you are serious about buying this Toyota Chinook, you can start the conversation using the contact information provided by the seller in their Craigslist ad.  When you connect, please remember to mention you saw their rare HiLux RV featured here on GuysWithRides.com. Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“This camper is located in Reno, NV, about 10 minutes from the airport. Cheap flight to Reno, then drive the camper back.

For sale is our 1974 Toyota Chinook camper. This is a very rare vehicle and is in incredible condition. This very well could be the cleanest, most original Toyota Chinook left on earth. I have owned this truck for 10 years and its been nothing but perfect. The original owner of this Chinook purchased it in Sheridan Wyoming and stored it inside his barn for 40 years. He used it occasionally for hunting trips and took incredible care of it. Almost everything is original in the truck and camper just like it was in 1974, I have made a few small modifications just for practical purposes but nothing I have done is permanent and I also have all the original stuff if I did change it. In 10 years of ownership I have always kept my eye out for another Chinook in great condition and I have never found one that is close to as clean as this one being offered.

This is an ultra reliable vehicle that I wouldn’t hesitate to drive anywhere, no matter how far. The engine has 72,382 original miles. The 4 speed transmission shifts perfectly smooth and all things considered its actually fairly quick. It keeps up with traffic around town, and can comfortably cruise at 70-75 on flat ground. The front seats have been covered since they were new and are still covered with sheep covers and the vintage black leather still looks new. The canvas on this camper pop-top is in unbelievable condition, zero cracking, rips, patches, etc. The inside of the camper is very roomy and tall, I’m about 6’ 3” and I can stand up inside no problem, I think actual floor to roof measures 73 inches. One of my favorite features of these Chinooks is that the entire roof pops up, not like the VW vans that have the half-tilt roof. Those VW vans seem so small inside where these Chinooks you have more headroom throughout the entire camper, its a really terrific design. Another great design is the camper part of the truck is still fully usable without popping up the roof. The counters and bed are all built fairly low so when the roof is down everything is still functional. Without roof latches on the outside of the trucks roofline nobody really knows its a full blown camper when the roof is down. We have taken advantage of this by keeping the windows covered and you can stealth camp really easily. The Chinook camper being single fiberglass body is great for being watertight and lasting forever. Overall its just a great little truck, its fun to drive, people wave and smile at us every time we drive it. I have had this camper stored inside since I purchased it, we have also used it for many trips and always been impressed with how capable this little rig is. It’s definitely a head turner and it has a pretty amazing story to go with it. We spent two months in this Chinook driving from Tahoe to Revelstoke, Canada and back and had zero problems with the truck. From Whitefish Montana to Tahoe we averaged 27.6 MPG. Yes, that’s right. 27+ MPG for a little camper that you can sleep in is pretty insane.

The truck and camper are built very simple, simple means less stuff to break which is part of the great joys of owning this thing. The 18R motor is known for its reliability, its not a sports car but it wont leave you stranded either. These older motors run forever and being a Toyota finding parts isn’t difficult. There is no fridge or heater or power steering. The truck has an ice box with a built in drain that actually works incredibly well with an ice block from the grocery store. One block of ice keeps things cold 4-7 days. All the inside lights have been converted to LED. The sink is a pump sink that also drains outside. There is also a nicely sized closet for jackets, chairs, etc. Under sink storage is fairly large for all your camping things like pots/pans/water jugs etc. Above the cab is a large padded shelf that is a great place to store your clothes or more gear. I took out the original “couchette” setup and built a more functional/comfortable bed. My design fills the entire space with the bed when you sleep, then its simply comes apart and one section hides under the other allowing for much larger walk way between the bed and counter top. Under the bed fits multiple milk crates which is great for more storage. The radio and speakers are all original, its a pretty cool design where you can spin a nob to have the speakers playing in just the cab, just the rear camper, or both. We always used a bluetooth speaker. Again, it’s all original and very simple.
(I still have the original “couchette” mini couches that are included if you want them)

In my time of ownership I have replaced a cracked headlight and tracked down another original set and still have one extra. I have also serviced a few small mechanical issues like the brake master slave cylinder, I have receipts for everything. I am a clean freak and have taken great care of this truck with all regular maintenance and oil changes. I also have all the original owners manuals, one for the truck by Toyota, and one for the camper by Chinook. Our Chinook is registered as a “classic vehicle” in Nevada. I did have to smog it a few years ago and it passed no problem. It starts every time and idles perfectly, and does not leak any oil. I have no doubt it would pass smog tomorrow if needed. Has brand new front tires, rear tires have near full tread. Ready to go.

Issues/Imperfections: There is a small imperfection in the fiberglass, I’m guessing the owner lightly hit it on something. Its not ultra noticeable and is about the size of a silver dollar. There is a small dent on the back door from bike handlebar. We don’t really use the pump feature on the sink, but I believe last time I did use it there was a small leak due to an old O ring. Should be an easy fix or a replacement hand-pump sink is around $25. There is minor scratches here and there but not many and for being an older vehicle, but this whole rig is in spectacular condition.

Im only selling this Chinook to free up some space and with my work schedule I just don’t have that much time to use it right now. I would be stoked to see this go to a good home who appreciates this classic camper. Im in no hurry to sell and don’t mind keeping it if I don’t find the right buyer. Please feel free to ask me anything if you are interested. Check the photos and if you would like anything else please ask. Our camper was also featured in the “Off the Road” beautiful table top book which is pretty fun. 

Show or go: What would you do with this 1974 Toyota HiLux Chinook Camper for sale?  Please comment below and let us know!


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