Spied! Toyota Tundra Paint Mules

Spied! Toyota Tundra Paint Mules
Photos by Brian Williams for Brenda Priddy & Company

We don’t expect the Toyota Tundra to be redesigned for a few more years, but apparently that’s not stopping Toyota from testing new paint colors for its full-size pickup.

We’re calling the two trucks you see in these photos "paint mules" because it looks like they’re testing several new coatings. Each lengthwise half of both trucks is painted a different color.

The first truck (a 2010-2011 Tundra) sports two shades of brown. The left side is a rich, golden brown while the right side is lighter and more of a beige brown that’s similar to the Pyrite Mica color available today.

The second truck (a 2007-2009 Tundra) is painted a unique charcoal-like black on the left side and a strong shade of blue on the right that’s similar to Nautical Blue Metallic for the 2011 Tundra.


By painting the trucks this way, Toyota execs can get a sense of what the Tundra will look like in natural light without having to paint four trucks.

But it’s probably not a sense of style that’s directing this change. The devastating earthquake that struck Japan in March heavily damaged several factories that supply paint pigments to automakers around the world. That means some colors are now no longer available or in extremely limited supply. Ford, for example, temporarily stopped taking orders for cars and trucks colored in metallic tuxedo black and a palette of metallic reds. That leaves many manufacturers scrambling to find new sources of pigment, which is probably what’s driving the change in Tundra’s color palette.

For what it’s worth, we’re fans of the golden brown color.



Looks like they're borrowing Ford's pallette.

There are some "highly skilled" and "serious" engineers over at Toyota? I guess they have just run out of ideas to improve the mechanical aspects?

@Buy American or say Bye to America!: Like the story says, Toyota is scrambling to find new suppliers for paint and other components in the wake of the earthquake in Japan, the same as Ford, GM and Chrysler. A redesign of the Tundra is coming around the same time we'll see a new F-150.

Please don't turn this thread into a bash fest. It's getting old.

The idea is kind of cool if you think about it. For somebody that is stuck on two color choices. They can have their vehicle painted in two colors and give it two different looks. Depending on what side, driver or passenger side, you are walking up on.

Kind of like the multi-colored, Mystic Purple, of the 1996(?) Ford Mustang S.V.T. Cobra.

I suppose House of Kolors is out of the question or too expensive.

I think all manufacturers need a few more colors. I had a tough time picking a color for my new trucks simply because I didn't want the same old colors everyone had been buying for the last three model years.

Rich golden brown all the way! Crewmax too!

I like the blue color (passenger side). Mind you, it isn't a clear picture.
The dark brown (driver's side) is nice.
The most popular colors in North America are white, black, and silver.
It will be interesting to see the short and long term effects of Japan's earthquake/tsunami on the auto market.

The current dark green green metallic is my favorite .

It's the Harvey Dent Edition Tundra's....

Now there's a two-tone paint job!

All kidding aside, I actually wish more manufacturers offered two-tone color schemes. The new Rams and F-150s look great in two-tone, it really sets them apart from the masses of boring appliance cars choking our roads.

The golden brown looks similar to golden bronze that Ford made for 2011.

Tundra bashing guys, it's just sad. If I hadn't gotten so many lemons from the domestics maybe I would still be buying them. This 5.7 cm truck is by far the best one I've ever owned and it's built in Texas. Ford is just now catching up in the engine dept. Toyota has meant the domestics had to step up their game, so you should all be happy. Trucks used to be just cash cows slapped together for maximum profit.


If you can not take the bashing. You don't belong here!

Just catching up? To quote Mike Levine:

"I'm not sure how you measure "catching up" but beyond an excellent powertrain, the 2nd gen Tundra has been a laggard. Three years in and it still doesn't offer an integrated trailer brake controller. Trailer sway control for 2011 will only brake the truck's wheels, not the trailer's too. GM and Ford beat Tundra's fuel economy."

"I'll mention some quality issues too: cracked tailgates, rear driveline, unloaded ride quality. In 2010 JD Power Quality Survey, Tundra quality problems jumped from 88 problems per 100 vehicles to 100 problems."

"I hope Toyota gets the engineering and features right in the next Tundra. I'll be the first to stand up and applaud."

- Mike Levine

PS They are obviously borrowing Ford's paint pallette here which is great.

The new colors look good. Hopefully they're also working on more important things like drivetrain changes, etc.

@Frank: We're all here because we drive or like trucks. If you have a difference of opinion, then state it but it doesn't have to be written rudely or disrespectfully. The last few weeks the rudeness has gotten out of control.

@ Tim - post the link to your quote. I don't recall Mike making all of those comments.

@ Frank - the bashing has been too thick lately.
Toyota guys have been hit exceptionally hard.
Ford is just catching up in relation to HP and torque when compared to the competition.
I personally don't care who has the most power, but many guys do.

@Michael Borquez - I agree.

Mike made all of those comments. And, for the record, Mike was once a Toyota pickup owner.


My theory on the bashing increasing is due to the high gas prices, foreclosures, unemployment and general despair. It's just like the Carter era all over, except without the smiley faces!

Nation’s Mood at Lowest Level in Two Years, Poll Shows

I agree with Oxymoron that more vehicles should be offered in two-tone color schemes, it adds a little 'tude. Heck just leave it like these are! That would be fantastic! It's so ridiculous it's awesome! And that golden brown is a great color! I love the way the sun glints off of it. Nissan's "Night Armor" is a great color (and name) too.

Speaking of two-tone colors, that's one thing that I hate about the current Silverado/Sierra..you're only limited to solid colors. I give credit to Ford and Ram for still offering two-tone colors on their fullsize trucks.

this would be the perfect way for you and your significant other to get the paint you want on your side of the vehicle

@Mike Levine for some reasons people here in Australia, like very bright colours on their cars/suvs and pickups. Generally more subdued on the later, but colours of the rainbow on Utes. Not a fan of the lurid green.

Not a fan of the golden (turd) brown. Black, white or A-Tacs are the only ones I like. I'm painting my wagon A-Tacs in a couple of months before hunting season and if it turns out right I might paint my 06 f150 the same.

I agree there is too much personal bashing and politics lately. Bashing a product is one thing but bashing someone for their opinion about a product is another. It's about trucks man!!!!!!


Most of us like solid colors, I myself like any shade of black, and there are many, plus some metalic also. I whent out of my way to find the Chevy I bought recently, 2011 Z-71 X-tra cab, with the Z-71 apperance package, the truck is monotone, all black, with the only chrome is the grill inserts, and the bow ties are gold for now. But to each his own. It's just when I think 2tone, I think of the cars from the 50"s-60's. The brown does look good on the tundra, My F-150 Ecco-Boost reg cab, is also black. XL with the black grill and bumper. I just think it looks so bad a__!!!

Do truck brands ever test our their paint samples in harsh climates, salt fog, stuff like that? The weather seems really nice in the photos, although maybe it could be really hot.

@Robert Ryan: I've seen more than a few bright green Camaros around L.A. I think it's the same color Holden has for the Ute. They stick out from a block away. :-)

@ Tim - thanks for the link. I like to be able to see the context in which comments are made.

I'd love to see more two tone color options. The body lines of some of the new trucks probably rule out the option.

My truck is sterling silver with ingot silver lower color. Makes the truck look sharper. I see tons of either color, but only one other 2 ton like mine.

I "THINK" the brown everyone seems to like (me included) is the color they paint on the Venza, its called Sunset Bronze Metallic.

@ Lou

a "2 ton" is a BIG f150 LOL LOL i know you meant 2 tone but i couldnt resist the typo.

@Mile Levine, they do indeed. You need sunglasses LOL

I miss the three-tone Ford F-Series trucks of the '80s-'90s.

@ hemi lol - Some guys do think their F150's are 2 ton trucks ;)

@ Mike L & Lou,

I agree. However, I only say that because that is how every Article on this site turns out. "A bash fest"

@ Frank - true, very true.
Blogging as a full contact sport, who'da thunk it?


Let me just say that it's an internet forum, get used to it. It's like having a drunk conversation with every single person in the bar minus the "I love you man."

In my part of the country desert dust is the biggest problem and the golden brown color would hide most of the dust by having it blend in. The Metallic Silver paint of my 2011 Tundra and my wife's 2008 Highlander is all too easily covered with the dust and grit and the vehicles look brown most of the time as a result. Trying to keep the outside of our vehicles clean is a never-ending task even though I have a power washer at home. It is imperative that my wife's Highlander looks clean because she uses it to show her clients the homes they may buy. It's a losing battle and maybe new paint schemes will hide some of the road dirt and dust that accumulates.

Did someone mention the Venza?, that is one fugly car!! in any color.

Most of the manufacturers have boring colors nowadays:

You can choose from 6 shades or brown/tan/gold, 8 shades of silver/pewter/gray/charcoal, or white or black.

While certain colors are likely considered tacky with some buyers, others will LOVE them and at least break the monotony.

They should sell them this way: his and her colors on each side!

Wonder if someone could procure that two paint tundra. Might be a collector one day

Dave : does detornator yellow, or plum crazy sound boring and bland? Scott: that would be one of the very few colectable, or (classic) car or truck to ever come out of that part of the world .

I like the Golden Brown. This is really unique that they are using one truck, and two paint shades/colors.

I agree with sandman4x4. The most exciting colours were from Dodge's muscle car era. Colours like Panther Pink, GoMango, SubLime etc. Talk about stand out from the crowd.
I do like the monochromatic look of some cars and trucks. I prefer the snout of the new Ford HD's with the painted bezel. Tones down al that chromed plastic.
I'd like to get a FX4 grill to install on my truck. I'm not a big fan of Ford chrome grills.
I can see highdesertcat's point of view. I really like some of the new reds and blues like Ford's Flame Blue or Toyota's speedway blue. Ford's candy red metallic is sweet. The problem with those colours is scratches, brush rash, dust etc. really shows up badly.
Frank had mentioned the same thing a while back.
I find silver and grey good colours for hiding scratchs.
Most fleets have gone to white. My brother was telling me that some study had said white vehicles were less likely to be stolen or involved in crashes. He laughed his head of when they handed him the keys to his first white company truck. He pointed out to the bean counter - for 5 months of the year there was snow all over which his new truck matched perfectly, and for the rest of the year his truck would be covered in mud and dirt which and doesn't shine through very well.

I liked it back in the '50's when you could get your car in two or even three colors and could choose the colors of the interior. Now most interiors are some shade of black and that's it. It's hard to find a tan or white interior.

The quality of automotive paint has increased dramatically over the past five years. I recently helped a buddy repaint his 1992 S-10 and noticed that the texture of the Arctic White we were using had changed from what it used to be. I didn't have to cut it back with paint thinner and I got a finer mist at 90psi using the same DeVilbiss sprayer I have been using for decades. I've shot enamel and latex through this paint gun and none of it came close to this last paint job. The finish product was gorgeous and did not require any resprays to even out the base coat before applying seven coats of clear epoxy over it. If Toyota would apply the same multi-layered strategy to their finishes it could save their customers a lot of pits, dings and scratches. The additional cost and labor in paint/clearcoat would be substantial. But like Lou said, not many colors today lend themselves to hiding paint damage. Maybe Toyota is experimenting with controlling paint damage as well with these mules. We can only hope.

I have one problem with all the US-made trucks and most of the imports -- They're too freakin' big! I want a bed wide enough for a sheet of plywood and a bed at least long enough to support that same sheet of plywood. I don't need to sit four feet off the ground, I don't need to seat 5 people or more and by no means do I need 400 freakin' horsepower!

Dog gone it, I want the old RAM 50, the old S10, the old Ranger, the blinkin' little guys! The met the need and were still a lot of fun to drive--and reasonably economical for their day.


Go pick up a brand new Ford Ranger, soon...before it is too late.

The darker brown looks like my old '78 F-150.

If any manufacturer could use a new color palette, it would be Nissan. They've limited their trucks to the same 4-5 colors for 20 years. Occasionally you see another color available but not a a truck you can buy.

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