The Japanese have always had a bit of flare when it comes to designing cars. Okay, so today’s offerings are a little muted, but back in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, there was some serious style going on. This is the nation that gave us the Supra, the NSX, the kei car, the 2000GT. It is a nation that knows how to make a car look good. But here’s the thing; it’s not just cars. Everywhere else in the world, commercial vehicles are just ‘things’ to do a job. In the ‘70s, in particular, they were generally awful to both look at and drive if bought from Europe. In Japan, however, it was a very different story.
Take this 1973 Toyota Dyna, for example. Look at it. It’s a handsome, characterful thing. Just because it was built to lug loads doesn’t mean it can’t have a bit of personality, and that’s what the designers at Toyota gave it. Some thought has gone into this, from the striking grille through to the way the front valance makes up the space where a jumper would normally be. The twin lights, the silver mid-strip on the front that breaks up the lines. The indicators are designed for it, not stolen from the parts bin, the cab is (for a van) plush and styled with peaked twin-binnacles, and there are stylised Dyna emblems on the sides. Toyota took some pride in this. And it shows.
And so too have the owners of this particular model. It is remarkable that it has survived at all, let alone in this condition. Commercial vehicles are normally driven into the ground and then replaced without much thought. Maybe the charming design of this one has given owners the chance to fall in love with it a little bit. Maybe it was just lucky. Whatever the reason, we’re glad it’s here today.
It was imported into the UK in 2016 before being registered in 2017. With just 14,000 on the clock and in the kind of condition to back this up, the advert reads in a way to suggest that this Dyna is a survivor rather than a restoration. It’s had some paint, that’s evident, but it looks largely original and just… looked after. The 2.0 petrol engine and four-speed manual transmission are in rude health, the bed is clean, the interior is spotless with no rips or tears to be seen, nor any excessive wear. If this were a Transit, the commonality of it would suggest that it had been restored. However, this isn’t a Transit, it’s a rare Japanese truck for which parts would be hard to find. It gives reason to believe the mileage could well be genuine.
It is a beautiful machine, which can’t be said of many of the vans of this era. And while it would be criminal to press this Dyna into any kind of serious work, there is no denying that it would be perfect as a promotional vehicle. Get some hand-painted livery on it, some sort of canopy on the back, and then take it to shows and events and sell/promote your wares from it. You would certainly be unique in doing so, as there won’t be another one doing the same.