The Toyota Dyna is a commercial, medium-duty, cab-over truck manufactured by the Japanese carmaker from 1960. In Japan, the truck was sold alongside the very similar Toyoace. The name ‘Dyna’ comes from the shortening of the word ‘dynamic.’ The origins of this truck can be traced back to the Toyopet Route Truck, which was marketed as the Dyna from 1959 onward. However, the semi-cab-over design came out only in September 1963 when the new K170 series trucks were introduced.
The K170 series is, in most ways, the first Toyota Dyna with a more dynamic and lean exterior design and quadruple headlights. The original K170 series was also the foundation for the Toyota light Bus RK170B, which borrowed the chassis from the Toyota Stout as well as its 1.9L 3R-B engine.
The new design of the Dyna that it is popular for was actually the result of the Isuzu Elf, which competed with the Dyna and was taking over the Dyna’s share of sales. The Dyna, which had enjoyed the maximum sales percentage in a niche market, had been delegated to second place with the arrival of the Elf in 1960. When the new Dyna was introduced 3 years later, it helped bring back some of the sales to Toyota, but the Elf still had the lead. However, this changed in 1964 when Dyna got a new 2.4L JK170 diesel engine. This year also marked the introduction of a longer-wheelbase, 2.5-ton version with twin rear wheels along with a route van version.
In 1966, the Toyota Dyna was changed into the then-new U platform by Toyota after it acquired Hino Motors. Starting from the U10 series, this platform was used for the next few decades and most Toyota Dyna models available are U models. From 1984 to 1994, the Toyota Dyna belonging to the U60 to U90 series would get quad round headlights. From 1989 onward, all models of the truck got rectangular quadruple headlights with one-piece door glass along with some changes in the interior. The wide cab models in particular had three windscreen wipers and a vent mounted on the roof.
The initial Toyota Dyna K170 models had a 2.0L 5R engine that delivered 68kW, a 3.0L 4-cylinder engine, or a 3.6L 6-cylinder diesel engine that delivered 70kW. The diesel engine was only available with 3-ton versions of the truck, and it offered a top speed of 100km/h. The 3-ton versions were available with short or long wheelbases, along with route van versions. When the Toyota Dyna was introduced here, it came with the 2.0L 5R engine, but with the option of single or twin wheels for the rear tray.
The Toyota Dyna 200 and 300 models got 3.4L engines or 3.7L diesel engines, both with direct fuel injection, along with a standard 5-speed manual gearbox. The Dyna 300 got an exhaust brake as well, along with ventilated twin piston disk brakes as an option for wide cab versions of the Dyna 300. The 3.5-ton versions of the Toyota Dyna offered a maximum payload of 1.5 tons and were available in single or double cab configurations. The engines available with the Toyota Dyna were generally quite noisy, but they were capable enough to help the truck pull big loads.
They had lots of pulling power at low revs, and payload capacities ranged from 1000-1525kg, depending on the model and chassis. The driver’s seat was right on top of the front axle, so the truck offered rather accurate steering capabilities for a commercial vehicle. It also had a surprisingly small turning radius of 4.5 metres. As a result, the truck was generally easy to move around in narrow city roads or bumper-to-bumper traffic. The maximum payload of 1525kg was enough to make the Toyota Dyna a serious hauler for small loads.
The Toyota Dyna lacked many common comforts, but this is to be expected from a commercial truck. The seats are hard, but they are height adjustable and so is the steering wheel, making things easier for the driver. Moreover, the Toyota Dyna comes with other features like remote control door locking, electric front windows, engine immobilization system, radio/CD stereo system, and a driver’s airbag.
One of the main competitors for the Toyota Dyna was the Isuzu Elf, which consisted of the NK series with a maximum load capacity of 3400kg, and the NP series that offered a load of up to 8000kg. It had a 4.3L, 4-cylinder diesel engine. The Elf performed rather well on rough and uneven roads, but its ride tended to be bumpier than that of the Dyna. The Dyna lacked the load capacity of the Elf, but the Dyna is a good option for those looking to transport small loads.