Toyota is looking to make a big splash with quite a few custom-built rigs at the 2012 SEMA show in Las Vegas this year. In fact, there may be more built Tundras on the floor of the show than ever before.
Two of the most interesting projects will sit in Toyota's booth, each with a specific purpose and design plan in mind. The first one is a completely custom truck built by NHRA Alcohol Funny Car race driver Alexis DeJoria and her team at Racer Engineering.
DeJoria — one of four famous drivers aiming to win the vehicle-modification build competition called the Toyota Racing Dream Build Challenge — is taking a stock Toyota Tundra full-size pickup and turning it into a fully competition-ready desert racer she’s christened the “Tundra Prerunner.”
“We’re going to take a stock truck and make it cooler in every way,” said project lead Andy Peterson of Racer Engineering in San Jacinto, Calif., where the Tundra is being transformed under DeJoria’s supervision. “We’re going to make it go faster, bigger, louder.”
Racer Engineering is fabricating long A-arms, trailing arms and shocks to achieve 20 inches of wheel travel in front and 24 inches in the rear — enough to tackle virtually any navigable stretch of desert race territory.
Fans will vote online to determine which of the four modified Toyota vehicles will win the challenge, along with $50,000 to the winning driver’s charity of choice.
A 28-episode online reality series has been developed around the Toyota Racing Dream Build Challenge. Fans can see the progress DeJoria’s team has made in each episode by going to YouTube. New episodes are uploaded regularly as well at www.ToyotaRacingDreamBuild.com.
Voting starts Oct. 20 and continues through Oct. 29. Fans will be able to vote once per day on Facebook, where they can also enter to win prizes, including a Toyota Racing “Dream Trip,” which will be given away to one lucky fan.
The second custom Tundra slated to make a big splash at the SEMA show will be a more functional, yet well-modified, CrewMax Tundra, designed and engineered by Bassmaster Elite Series pro fisherman Britt Myers.
The new Tundra will focus on custom details that will help enhance his fisherman's lifestyle. The truck "will have a bed-area tackle storage system that looks like a Bass Pro Shop aisle. It will have tackle, reels, rods and even a refrigerator," Myers says. In fact, all the gear in the bed will be easily accessible by using an automatic motorized delivery system.
Inside, the CS Motorsports crew replaced the rear bench with bucket seats and custom-built a fiber-glass console that stretches from the dash to the rear cab wall and includes built-in video monitors and subwoofers. Both front doors receive custom panels that will house extra speakers and video monitors to play fishing videos and display Navionics' latest lake-mapping technology.
Outside, the beefy Tundra gets a TRD Big Brake Kit and a 12-inch suspension lift — a little extra insurance against muddy bogs and steep lakeshore boat ramps. A custom roof rack with special LED lighting and fishing rod storage will also be included in the project, along with a specially designed grille to set off the styling of this unique rig. And to give the 5.7-liter, 32-valve V-8 a little more grunt, a TRD supercharger and exhaust will be added.
These unique Tundras will be on display at the show alongside several other custom Toyota vehicles. The final vehicle builds will be unveiled — and the winning driver and corresponding charity announced — during Toyota’s press conference at the SEMA show on Oct. 30.