This is my 1996 Volkswagen Taro, which is actually a rebadged 1995 Toyota Pickup. Outside of America, it’s also known as a Toyota Hilux. When ordering parts, I usually order from the 89-95 Toyota Pickup category to make sure I get the right parts, since Tacoma production began in 1995.
When I was a kid, we moved from Chicago to Texas, where everyone has a pickup. At the time, I was prejudiced against pickups and said I would never get one. Then one night years later, I was working as a security guard, and I saw a brand new Toyota Pickup 4X4 with chrome trim, and I fell in love. At the time, I was 18 and couldn’t afford a Toyota, so I bought a 1990 Mazda B2200, which was a great truck. I put almost 200K miles on it, and never had any problems.
20 years later, (now living in Sweden) I finally got enough cash to buy my dream truck- or more accurately, the truck finally got so old that I could afford it. But actually, that’s not even accurate because a 16 year-old Toyota Pickup in Sweden costs as much as a 2 year-old full-size Chevy in Texas. That’s the cost of “free” health care in Sweden- everything costs at least twice as much, but I’ll save that for another post.
So, after all these years, I finally got my dream truck and I love it. Trucks aren’t so common in Sweden, and old Toyota Pickups are even rarer, so I had to settle for a Volkswagen Taro. Before Toyota had a foothold in Europe, they made an agreement with VW to build the pickup for them, hence the rebadging. But a 1996 Volkswagen Taro is the exact same truck as the 89-95 Toyota Pickup (Toyota Hilux), with 2 minor exceptions:
- There is a VW badge on the front grill.
- There is a VW badge on the steering wheel.
Other than that, it’s all Toyota.