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The strength of nostalgia largely relies on our desire to find comfort in past experiences and joys, but it also creates pull because it’s different from what’s current. It doesn’t matter that it is technically old, it might feel new and fresh in a way, when the current offerings all feel too similar. I’d take this Toyota 4Runner, for example, over a current one any day.

  • Car: ’80s Toyota 4Runner
  • Location: Big Sur, California
  • Photog: Tony Markovich (Instagram + Twitter: @T_Marko)
  • Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T5i, 18-55mm IS STM len

One of the oldest automotive design battles is boxy versus curved. Sharp and angular versus smooth and subtle. In general, we see industry-wide trends that characterize entire eras, and these trends swing back and forth. Currently, there’s a nostalgic thirst for the boxiness of the ’80s, and hard-edged adventure SUVs like the 4Runner are at the top of a lot of wish lists.

These 4Runners will always hold special places in enthusiasts’ hearts because the new models (like many others) have slowly become more bloated and smoothed over thanks to things like aerodynamics, advanced technologies, and safety standards. Today’s 4Runner is wildly capable and and great for its intended purpose, but it is massive compared to the ’80s models, which look taught and nimble in comparison. The factory graphics make it all the more appealing.

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