4x4 Showdown: The Blizzard

Little but mighty, the Blizzard brought the storm to the off road market.
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Feb 14, 2014 | By Matthew Ankeny

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. - Mark Twain

Meet the Blizzard—one of Toyota’s lesser-known, but no less impressive, four wheel drive vehicles. It ran in production from March 1980 until the 90s, and while it may be small of stature, it has a heart of diesel gold.

Daihatsu, the oldest car manufacturer in Japan—they’ve been at it since 1907—had a 4x4 with the best name in the game: the Tough Almighty Fourwheeldrive Transport or, casually, the Taft (also known as the Wildcat or the derivative, we assume, “Scat”).

And so that other car manufacturer out of Japan, Toyota, wanted to chew off their own piece of the small-end 4x4 pie. Taking the Taft as a base, the Blizzard threw in a Toyota 2.2L diesel engine, equipped it with front and rear rigid axle leaf spring suspension, and tossed in a standard 4-speed manual shift.

Later, they added a 5-speed, and then in 1984, they switched up the body to a “more urban and stylish one.” But, before that urban style downgrade, they enjoyed a four year window of burly ruggedness with hard lines and a boxy body fit for its role as the FJ40's kid brother.

In North America, there’s only handful of Blizzards still romping off-road, and pictured here is the 1982 model, with a lift and 31” mud terrain tires. Everything you need, nothing you don’t—and enough toughness to get you through whatever terrain you’re covering.

The Blizzard, little but mighty, always brings the storm (just ask the Northeast).

Statistics via Toyota-Global.

Images via: 4WD Toyota.