The Japanese recipe for chassis cab and dropside 3.5 tonners might seem old-fashioned compared to the front-wheel drive offerings from the European big names, but they are built this way for a reason. Europe is small-fry for the Japanese automotive giants of Toyota and Nissan, they sell LCVs in the toughest environments in the world, Africa, Australia and all around their ‘local’ Far East marketplace. The historical story here is one of arduous work, in arduous conditions and little chance of finding a local dealership; you breakdown, you fix it at the roadside. Simple is best and simple is tough, and that’s the platform the likes of the Cabstar and Dyna work from.

So what the Dyna does, it does well and in addition to the expected toughness it has always represented value. In 2005 Toyota GB actually reduced the price slightly whilst upgrading the kit, all 2005 model year vehicles got a CD player. The Dyna comes in three wheelbase lengths. The short wheelbase is generally used a dropside or tipper, whilst the medium wheelbase version offers a but more scope for a three-way tipping body and the long wheelbase is best suited to a box body for high volume, low density, loads and door-to-door delivery work. Within that framework are two weight variants. the Dyna 300 is a 3 tonnes GVM model and the Dyna 350 is a 3.5 tonnes GVM version. All are powered by Toyota’s D4D common-rail diesel unit in either 2.5 or 3-litre guises.

Many Dynas were supplier new as dropsides or tippers and hence through the partnership scheme the bodies were subject to Toyota warranty too. This makes for an easier time with repairs or replacement parts through the Toyota dealer network. In addition to the obvious checks on the engine, ensure all the tipper hydraulics are in good order.

On all Toyota commercial vehicles, main servicing is only required every 20,000 miles with an inspection and an oil and filter change every at 10,000 miles. The Dyna’s total service downtime in 60,000 miles is only 9.5 hours. Owner maintenance is easy, engine levels check access is good and for serious work the cab tilts of course.

On the reliability front VOSA tells us of a couple of recalls of the Toyota Dyna R2012009 relates to VIN  JTFZT52Y#OK400056 to JTFET32Y#OK600065 built from 31/10/2009 to 25/03/2010 and is failure of the horn to sound, but  recall R2014253 is of more concern as its relates to a possible fuel leak, affecting VIN JTFGT62Y#0K400082 to JTFET30Y#0K400259 with build dates from 31/08/2011 to 22/05/2013.

Rust seems to be a concern on one or two of the Japanese vehicles we see but its worth remembering that a little surfaced rust on thick chassis rails is less of an issue than on the thinner floorpans of uni-body designs favoured in Europe.


Second-hand buys

So how much should you pay for a Dyna? The used van locator found us one at just £2,495, for starters. A 2001 (51 Reg) with 144,000 not-so-careful miles behind it, but with everything working it represents a bargain. For £3,995 you can get a 2006 (06 Reg) 2.5 Diesel tipper with 191,000 miles on, high but not excessive for the year, or for £4,500 a 2009 (09 Reg) dropside with 177,000 miles At the top end of the scale, how about a 2011 (61 Reg) with just 17,000 miles on it for £13,999.