The ‘Tacozilla’ is Toyota’s Tacoma-based retro campervan for SEMA

A modern-day tribute to the Toyota Chinook
by Stephen Dobie | Oct 19, 2021
PHOTO: Toyota
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We’re now fully-versed in carmakers producing their own concepts for the SEMA show. What we’re less accustomed to is those concepts being retro-inspired campervans.

The Toyota Tacozilla will be just that. It’s a modern-day tribute to the Toyota Chinook, a road-car-based camper you’ve almost certainly never heard of. Dispelling any blank faces, though, will be the same white, red, and orange color scheme as both the Chinook and abundant Toyota race cars, while the manual-transmission, TRD Sport Tacoma pickup beneath also suggests there’s some performance nous to the whole thing.

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“It’s going to be a beast,” promises Marty Schwerter, the project’s team manager. “People are gonna know when you’ve shown up. I’ve been around racing my whole life. Race cars are cool-looking. I want campers to be cool-looking, too.”

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The early sketches suggest the Tacozilla will do the job. The edges of its ‘micro house’ annex are rounded off, and its almost Kamm-tail rear styling isn’t just for show—it helps lessen approach and departure angles to make sure this thing is as gnarly as you’d hope. Camping in Insta-friendly locations will have never been so easy.

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Though Schwerter is open about just how limited the Tacozilla’s ‘hotel room’ act may be. “Motorhomes are designed to house people who are 6’2”,” he says, before acknowledging the hindquarters of the Tacoma will be “space-limited.” Though no doubt there’ll be some good old-fashioned surprise and delight in discovering how the engineering team has navigated the issue.

And as its name suggests, the Tacozilla won’t exactly be a tiddler, either. “You’ll stick out four feet above anyone else in the parking lot,” Schwerter adds, before saying, “I just hope it can be half as cool as the original Chinook was.” The signs are good...

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NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.

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