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Chinook-Inspired Toyota ‘Tacozilla’ Camper to Debut at SEMA

Toyota will debut a Chinook-inspired camper converted TRD Sport Tacoma at this year’s SEMA show on November 2. Referred to as the Tacozilla, the project is a throwback to the classic Toyota Chinooks sold in the 1970s and early 1980s.

“The idea of this vehicle is to be able to take a camper anywhere on this planet,” says the project’s team manager, Marty Schwerter. “It’s not one of those projects that you’re just bolting some stuff on or putting a camper shell on the back of a pickup truck bed. It needs to be able to climb a mountain.”

Following an initial announcement video last week, Toyota released two more episodes, revealing additional details that expand on earlier concept sketches.

The camper frame appears to be constructed from steel, with rounded edges created by wrapping the structure with what looks like aluminum skins. Stock Tacoma fender flares round out the look, while gold, orange, and yellow livery pay tribute to the vintage Chinook design.

The Toyota team incorporated a moonroof, which will add light to the hard-sided camper. The interior will include sleeping quarters above the cab, a table, toilet, sink, and flooring made from sauna-style teak wood.

Initial design renderings included Cooper tires, but Episode Three reveals Schwerter rolling a set of General Grabbers. Eye-catching TRD red springs are visible in Toyota’s sketch, so it should be interesting to see what’s in store for the build’s suspension system.

Has Toyota created a monster fit for SEMA? It certainly has potential. Infusing a sense of nostalgia into the much-loved TRD Sport, here’s hoping this beast will be a hit at this year’s show.

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Ashley Giordano completed a 48,800-kilometer overland journey from Canada to Argentina with her husband, Richard, in their well-loved but antiquated Toyota pickup. On the zig-zag route south, she hiked craggy peaks in the Andes, discovered diverse cultures in 15 different countries, and filled her tummy with spicy ceviche, Baja fish tacos, and Argentinian Malbec. As Senior Editor at Overland Journal, you can usually find Ashley buried in a pile of travel books, poring over maps, or writing about the unsung women of overlanding history. @desktoglory_ash