Toyota goes back to the future with a 1970’s classic forklift

January 21, 2013

Toyota Material Handling UK have completed the restoration of a 1970’s Toyota FG7 forklift truck, bringing it back to its former glory for all to see.

The Toyota FG7 gas-powered counterbalance forklift truck was renovated at Toyota’s fleet management centre in Old Dalby, Leicestershire. The project was completed by four dedicated members of the team; Apprentice Technician Joe Power, Paint Sprayer Surinder Mahi with mentoring by Senior Engineer Chris Edwards and Engineer Mark Astill.

The project was the idea of Mike Mathias, Managing Director for Toyota Material Handling UK.

Mathias comments “I wanted to introduce a project to inspire those individuals just starting out in a hands-on and practical way, but also demonstrate the skills and incredible attention to detail of Toyota’s highly experienced technicians.”

The 1971 FG7 gas-powered forklift truck, originally petrol-engined but later converted to gas and capable of lifting 1.5 tonnes was traded in for a newer model from a customer in South Wales, who was still using the truck for occasional use. The project was completed over a 12 month period with the work carried out in sections, including a comprehensive engine, gearbox and steering overhaul, the removal of a non-standard overhead guard as well as a complete re-paint using specially mixed paint. The truck was then completed with decals all true to the original factory specification.

The project was not without its difficulties. Kevin Davies, Operations Director for Toyota Material Handling UK comments “Where original parts could not be sourced they had to be modified or fabricated. In addition, as technical information was not always readily available, this often caused unforeseen delays along the way.”

Davies adds “The refurbishment project was the perfect opportunity in which our apprentice, Joe Power could take advantage of the wealth of experience around him, whilst allowing him to develop key skills in a practical and engaging way. At Toyota we believe in investing in our people and sharing the knowledge through coupling our apprentices with a mentor, individuals can develop their skills and this truck shows the fantastic end results that can be achieved. In addition, our more experienced technicians welcomed the opportunity to work with older technology reminiscent of their early days.”

The completed fully operational truck will not be used for lifting but is now on display at the Toyota Leicester depot, where it will remain to demonstrate the skills of the team and how elements of the Toyota Production System (TPS) adopted throughout, has ensured the quality is second to none.

Pictured from left: Senior Engineer Chris Edwards, Joe’s Mentor Mark Astill, Paint Sprayer Surinder Mahi, and Apprentice Joe Power.

See the truck on display at IMHX 19-22 March, NEC Birmingham.

For more information about the products and services from Toyota call 0870 850 1409 or visit

Toyota Material Handling (UK) Ltd

0870 850 1400