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A Little Publica Pickup
The story behind our little Toyota Publica Pickup
Story & photos by Curt & Suzanne Flora; additional photos by Toyotageek

We were at an auction a few years back and decided to buy a whole storage
unit that was up for auction. We normally don’t buy whole units but this day
we decided to. As we were unloading all the boxes we saw the front end of a
little car. As we unloaded more boxes, we saw it was not a little car but a
little truck. One we have never seen before. Our eyes opened up like little
kids in a candy store.

The truck was loaded with boxes and blankets and we needed to unload it to
push it on to the trailer. As we started unloading it we saw some little
handlebars – hmmmm - “What is that?” my wife asked. We unloaded it a
little more to find a Honda Monkey mini bike sitting in the back. We took all
the boxes home to sort thru, but the boxed stuff didn’t matter to me much
anymore. I was more interested in finding out more about the truck.

We started searching the internet trying to find out more about the truck and
not having much luck. Back then our computer was so slow I think we could
have gone to the library and found things faster, lol. It took us about two
weeks before we found a guy on the net that owned a Publica car. His name
was Steve Kopito, and we e-mailed him right away hoping he could tell us
more about the truck. I can’t remember exactly what was said, but he did say
it was not something that was imported to the states and asked if we would
be interested in selling it. My wife and I looked at each other and both knew
right away that the answer was no way! Well, not unless the offer was too
much to turn down.

At this time we didn’t have much time to work on it as we had to drive to my
wife’s parent’s home everyday to care for them. She would head to their
home about 6am and stay till I got there about 4pm everyday, and I would
stay till they went to bed at 10pm. We lived 50 miles from them and to drive
two different cars there everyday took up all our time and got pretty
expensive, so working on the truck was out of the question. So it sat. After 4
years of driving back and forth we decided to build a house on her parent’s
property, so the truck had to sit a little longer. It took me two years to build
the house myself with some help time to time from my friends. In April 2008
my wife’s father passed away.

I had a little time to start looking at Publicas again, and that’s when I ran
across the Japanese Classic Car Show web site. I called asking how to get
hold of anybody who might know about these cars. I talked to a Mrs. Sanborn
and she told me about the 700/800 club. I first looked at the club site and
liking what I saw I decided this looks like a cool club to join and my thoughts
were right. I joined, and right away got responses from everyone. I couldn’t
believe how much this site has helped me with the truck. I met Rich Street
and right away he started finding me the parts I needed to get the truck
looking sweet. Just after I ordered the parts for the truck, my wife’s Mother
passed away (March 2009) so again the truck was put on hold but not for
long.

I had 1 ½ months to get the truck ready to show at the TORC show in Long
Beach so the pressure was on! I spent about 8 hours a day, sometimes more,
trying to get the truck ready. The truck needed a lot of work still but I knew if
I put my heart into it I could do it. My wife thought I was smashing the truck
when she walked in the garage and I had a big sledge hammer beating out the
fender. As you all know we just can’t order parts for one of these trucks so I
had to fix it the best I could. At the show, I was surprised to meet the faces I’
ve talked to through e-mail. Mike Foertsch from Cabe Toyota and Steve
Owens, Steve Silbiger and Frenchy Dehoux. I couldn’t believe the truck took
a first place in the work in progress class and even a bigger surprise was
when Benjamin Hsu asked to put our truck in the Japanese Nostalgic Car
Magazine. We enjoyed our trip to California, taking a boat out to Catalina
Island, going to the Aquarium, and touring Long Beach. We hope to make the
Japanese Classic Car Show in Oct.

Sincerely Curt & Suzanne Flora        
Toyota Tales
Toyotageek.com
For more information on the Publica and to chat with other Publica owners, stop by the
Toy700and800 Yahoo! Group
Specifications: coming soon!
MSRP base price:
Engine:
Engine Code:
Chassis Code:
Horsepower/torque:
 
Transmission:
Front Suspension:
 
Rear Suspension:   
Steering:  
Brakes:   
Tires:
Wheels:
Curb Weight:
Required Fuel:
Fuel Tank:
EPA Fuel Economy:
Click image below to activate slideshow
2009 May

What's a Toyota Publica you ask? Well, the Toyota Publica was a small car
manufactured by Toyota from 1961 to 1978. It was initially conceived as a family
car to fulfil the requirements of the "national car concept", and it was the smallest
Toyota car during that period. It was  available as a 2-door vehicle only, but in a
selection of body styles, ranging from the base sedan through a station wagon,
convertible, coupé and even a pickup, It's not-so-distant cousin is the Toyota
Sports 800. But our story here, is about an example of the relatively unknown  
Publica pickup.