SEMA 2021: Toyota trucks take centre stage

SEMA 2021

After an online event in 2020, the annual SEMA 2021 – the biggest aftermarket car show in the world – was back to in-person status. Around 50,000 auto technicians, customisers, restorers, media and other professionals attended the three-day event laid on by the Specialty Equipment Market Association, which expanded into a new hall to ease the usual crowding.

Toyota is a long-time SEMA supporter and was back with a huge display this year. Stars of the show were four new custom truck builds, supported by fan-favourite GR Supra show cars from previous years, vehicles from the Toyota USA vintage vehicle fleet and a variety of current GR sports cars and TRD Pro trucks. Here are the highlights.

SEMA 2021: “Tacozilla” Tacoma Camper

First of the new show trucks was this distinctive camper, a backwoods-overlanding-ready ‘micro-house’ rig that pays tribute to Toyota campers from the 1970s and 80s. The goal for lead builder Marty Schwerter and the Toyota Motorsports Garage team was to create a camper that could go anywhere on the planet and navigate the same steep trails that a normal off-road Tacoma can tackle. 

Complete Customs of McKinney, Texas, took care of the bodywork and the distinctive paintwork with heritage-inspired Toyota Racing Development (TRD) stripes. The fully insulated interior features a 1.2m x 1.2m (4ft x 4ft) skylight above the living room, teak sauna-style flooring; a full bathroom with hot-water shower; a kitchen and a 3D-printed dining table that converts to a backlit piece of wall art!

SEMA 2021: TRD Desert Chase Tundra

Toyota’s Tundra full-size pickup is all-new for the 2022 model year. To help celebrate the launch of the third-generation truck, which is sure to prove popular with customizers, TRD decided to showcase it as a chase support vehicle. Again built by Toyota’s regular special projects guru, Marty Schwerter and his team, the TRD Desert Chase Tundra showcases the truck’s “Born from Invincible” off-road heritage.

SEMA 2021

At the heart of the show truck is the Tundra TRD Pro with by its new, 3.5-litre V6 hybrid engine and 10-speed automatic transmission. The package produces 437bhp and 790Nm of torque from 2,400rpm. The builders added a TRD-designed long-travel suspension and a widebody kit manufactured at TRD’s North Carolina composite shop. It also features carbon-fibre fenders and bed sides.

TRD Desert Chase Tundra has rear- and side-facing Rigid lights and a front-facing Rigid light bar with room for up to eight lights. The light bar can be electronically raised when needed and lowered below the roofline to eliminate wind noise and help improve aerodynamics. In the bed are a custom-made roll bar, a custom-mounted off-road jack, a CO2 bottle, fuel and water containers, two roll bar-mounted spare tires and an ARB Tred Pro Recovery Board, all secured using the existing OEM bed bolts and bolt locations.

Tacoma Overlanding Concept Vehicle

The Overlanding market continues to grow in the US. For this year’s Tacoma Overlanding Concept, Toyota partnered with Kurt Williams of Cruiser Outfitters in Murray, Utah, to build a capable but affordable overlanding rig. The team created an efficiently packaged truck capable of carrying outdoor explorers and their provisions, gear, and backwoods toys while serving as the basecamp for day hikes or setting up a more permanent camp. All can be quickly stowed away when it’s time to move on to the next adventure.

SEMA 2021

Based on the Tacoma SR5, the Overlanding Concept features an assortment of premium off-road components and overlanding amenities adventurers need, including a Mule mid-size MAP (multipoint attachment panel) and Baki bed rack system with a Yakima rooftop tent, ARB lights and compressor, Expedition One rock sliders and a WARN Zeon winch.

SEMA 2021: 2022 Lifted and Accessorised Tundra

Truck owners love to accessorise their rides, so a large range of genuine Toyota and Toyota Racing Development (TRD) upgrades is being launched for the new Tundra. Toyota Motor North America built some of the parts into a lifted and accessorised Tundra on display in the entrance to SEMA’s new West Hall. 

SEMA 2021

The truck features a new TRD lift kit that provides 66mm (2.6in) of extra ground clearance and improves off-road performance by increasing the approach, departure, and breakover angles. Other suspension upgrades include Bilstein front and rear dampers with taller TRD coil springs and forged upper control arms manufactured by Roush. Elsewhere there’s a TRD skid plate and cast aluminium running boards, a bed extender, dash camera, folding hard tonneau cover and TRD Off-Road wheel and tire package.

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