Toyota unveiled three truck-specific build concepts at the 2021 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show. What we’ve seen of the Tacozilla Tacoma Camper and TRD Desert Chase Tundra so far has been via Toyota USA’s YouTube channel, so we’re pleased to finally put eyes on them (along with the Tacoma Overlanding Concept Vehicle) under the lights of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
The “Tacozilla” Tacoma Camper
We’ve been following Toyota’s “Tacozilla” concept build for weeks and are eager to see it in its finished form. Toyota describes it as “a backwoods overlanding-ready ‘micro-house’ rig that pays tribute to Toyota campers from the ’70s and ’80s.”
“Our goal was to build a vehicle that is engineered correctly but also made to look really cool,” the project’s team manager, Marty Schwerter, said.
The livery is reminiscent of the campers built over 40 years ago with a white base coat and vintage yellow, orange, and bronze stripes. Inside the camper, you’ll find a miniature house fit for life on the road. Teak-style flooring and a 3D-printed table, which can be converted for use as a backlit piece of wall art, are a few of the custom touches found in the fully operational bathroom, kitchen, and sleeping space.
3.5-liter V6 engine
6-speed manual transmission
Custom Motorsports Technical Center (MTC) exhaust
TRD air intake
TRD Pro wheels
General Tire Grabber X3 285/70R17 tires
TRD suspension with 2-inch lift and TRD billet upper control arms
Rigid light bar and fog lights
Watch the complete build process of The “Tacozilla” Tacoma Camper here:
The TRD Desert Chase Tundra
Based on the 2022 Tundra TRD pro, the Toyota Motorsports Garage team added a TRD-designed long-travel suspension as the foundation for this TRD Desert Chase Tundra. Carbon-fiber fenders and bedsides match the 4 inches of additional track width. By using OEM ball joints and stock bushings, the TRD long-travel increases performance while eliminating squeaks and maintenance. Extended-length internal bypass Fox shocks are tuned to TRD specs.
A custom roll bar bolted to OEM bed bolts is the perfect location to mount an off-road jack, ARB Tred Pro recovery boards, CO2 bottle, water, and fuel containers, a pair of spare tires, and an electronically raised (and lowered) light bar.
Method Race Wheels built the forged wheels, complete with Bead Grip technology, based on the TRD-specified diameter, offset, and width. General Grabber X3s are wrapped around the 18-inch Methods.
“Once again, TRD and the Toyota Motorsports Garage have outdone themselves with this TRD Desert Chase Tundra,” said Lisa Materazzo, Group Vice President of Toyota Division Marketing. “We’re excited for the all-new Tundra to go on sale later this year. With its upgraded platform and improved payload, what better way to show off the Tundra’s capability than building it into a desert racing support vehicle!”
3.5-liter V6 paired with Toyota’s i-Force Max electric motor system
10-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with intelligence (ECTi)
Custom CNC bent bumpers designed by TRD
Long-travel suspension system designed and manufactured by Toyota Racing Development
Forged aluminum Method Race Wheels, 18 inches
General Tire Grabber X3 37×12.50R18 tires
Two-way chase/race radio system
Watch the complete build process of The TRD Desert Chase Tundra here:
The Tacoma Overlanding Concept Vehicle
This is Toyota’s vision of a highly capable yet approachable overlanding vehicle, designed and built on the Tacoma SR5 platform in collaboration with Kurt Williams of Cruiser Outfitters.
“We chose modest yet approachable modifications to create a really great long-weekend adventure truck that doesn’t detract from being an everyday driver,” Williams said. “Not everyone can buy, let alone find, a TRD Pro, so we wanted to build on the SR5 platform since it’s a great starting point to customize.”
3.5-liter V6 engine
6-speed automatic transmission
ARB Safari 4×4 raised air intake system
Old Man Emu BP-51 adjustable suspension system with Dakar rear leaf springs
Old Man Emu upper control arms
Icon Alloy Alpha wheels, 17- x 8.5-inch
Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac 285/70R17 tires
ARB Summit Combo Bar with fog lights
Expedition One dual swing rear bumper system
Expedition One Ultra HD skid plate system
Expedition One rocker protection/sliders
ARB Intensity Solis front lights
Rigid Radiance Scene LED light pods (rear bumper)
ARB roof rack light bar
WARN Zeon 10-S Platinum winch
ARB Linx digital in-cab 4×4 accessories control system
ARB Base Rack roof rack system
Mule Mid-Size MAP and Baki rack system with Yakima rooftop tent
Rotopax water cans
ARB Outback Solutions dual drawer system with fridge slide
ARB 63-quart Zero Dual Zone fridge/freezer
ARB twin air compressor and ARB Bedside compressor mounting system
Hi-Lift model HL1485 jack
MaxTrax recovery boards
ARB Premium recovery kit
The Tacozilla build and the Desert Chase Tundra concepts take cues from the past and present while looking to the future. The long-travel suspension on the Tundra uses factory components that eliminate the downsides (maintenance and squeaks) of most of the current aftermarket long-travel suspension systems, all while increasing overall off-pavement performance, while the Tacozilla is what dreams are made of. It’s a modern take on the classic Chinook—small and capable when on the move and offering absolute comfort when parked. I want to drive both, each for their intended purpose. Maybe we can persuade Toyota to hand over the keys for a weekend or two to see how they perform in the dirt.
Click the link below to see Scott Brady’s first impressions on these concepts.
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