Ford F-250 Pulls Duty Promoting Tonka Trucks

B Tonka F-250 II

For those who regularly visit our Facebook page (and if you don't, you should), no doubt you did a double take when you saw this big yellow monster in our photo gallery from the 2013 Fabulous Fords Forever event at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif., earlier this summer.

The behemoth Tonka T-Rex Yellow Super Duty is an impressive, eye-catching marketing tool for its owners. It is making a nationwide circuit of special events and truck shows (see the calendar of events below) to generate attention for the toy brand. Frankly, we don't care how they decide to use it — as crazy as it is, this truck is just plain cool.

The truck is a 2013 F-250 Super Duty 4WD Lariat that has been modified with quite a few custom and aftermarket parts and pieces. Longtime big-truck experts Kelderman Manufacturing did a lot of the serious work, replacing just about everything under the frame. And what Kelderman didn't replace, it painted or chromed. The shop set the beast up with a four-corner adjustable airbag and link suspension that allows it to float over rough terrain, sitting almost 2 feet higher than normal heavy-duty pickups, as well as adjusting the ride height by several inches.

The truck's AccuAir management system gives it between 8 to 10 inches of lift, which allowed the builders at Galpin Auto Sports to fit a set of monster 40-inch Toyo Open Country M/T tires on custom-painted (in Tonka Yellow, of course) American Force 20-inch rims. Kelderman also had all the parts and pieces powder coated and painted for extra pop.

The beefy front winch bumper and grille guard, as well as the bulletproof rear bumper and hitch, are designed by Fab Fours, and the custom lumber rack and side-mounted toolboxes are the creation of Highway Products.

C Tonka F-250 II

As you might expect, the engine got some attention as well. Let's just say that the experts at Banks Power worked their magic with the programmable Banks IQ engine controller, a Ram-Air intake system and the newly readied high-output methanol injection system. Although we didn't get a chance to test this truck on a real engine dyno or do some quarter-mile runs, we can say the engine modifications definitely helped this well-armored tank feel more factory fresh than custom-truck sluggish. Our biggest bit of fun was catapulting up one of the nearby freeway on-ramps, where the truck made a great roar, launching much like a rocket ship (rear end squatting, front end nosing skyward) as we not so subtly merged with traffic.

The rest of the interior and exterior design choices were decided by the truck-building team at Galpin; it coordinated the overall paint designs inside, outside and underneath the truck. In fact, Galpin even modeled the unique Tonka grille that looks similar to the grille in the toy lineup. Galpin used Katzkin leather, Line-X for the spray-in bedliner and on the bumpers, Bushwacker for fender flares, Kenwood audio and video upgrades, and incorporated dozens of Tonka logos throughout.

We should note we did get the chance to poke around the truck early in the build process and it is definitely well done. The details in the suspension design and execution are impressive, and the stance of this lifted pickup is imposing and quite intimidating. Climbing into any of the seats is a tricky proposition, requiring no small amount of strength and dexterity, if not a ladder.

Our beefs with the truck are all pretty minor but worth noting. As you might expect, with the stock axles, the extra weight of the wheels and tires are a big challenge, especially for the stock steering box. The mud-terrain tires like to wander on the highway, so you need to be quite diligent about making course corrections. Still, there is plenty of power to move this heavily modified three-quarter-ton truck through traffic at freeway speeds, with plenty of extra push available to climb mountain highways. There's no question this Power Stroke engine has quite a bit of torque, but we were most impressed with the power charge the methanol system provides. We didn't have a readout to tell us how much of the water injection we were using, but the extra power made us think we had an extra turbo or hidden supercharger onboard.

F Tonka F-250 II

We'd guess the truck weighed every ounce of 9,000 pounds. We didn't get a chance to do enough driving to collect fuel economy data, but our guess is the people (or 10-year-old boys) interested in this kind of truck wouldn't be too worried about actual mileage numbers.

By the end of our drive we were used to having people drive alongside us, frantically waving their hands to let them take a picture, getting the thumbs-up signal or trying to high-five us from a different lane. We even had to give a tour around the truck to a small group of patrons at a McDonald's when we stopped to use the restroom. We have to admit, the attention was fun. No doubt this truck will do exactly what it was intended to do — get attention.

For more detailed photos of the Tonka T-Rex F-250, go to our Facebook page. For a full list of the aftermarket products and the companies that provided them, click here.

To get an up close and personal look at the Tonka T-Rex, here's a tentative schedule of where it will be for the rest of the year.

D Tonka F-250 II

E Tonka F-250 II

H Tonka F-250 II

G Tonka F-250 II



Nice truck. A little cheesy though with all the graphics. Still a nice truck

Let the death wobble begin.

Very ugly looking truck. Color is nice.

that is a very good looking truck. nice job

Loved my old metal Tonka trucks when I was a kid. Play with them led base trucks all day. We turned out all right. Good childhoods with them old trucks

Love it !!

Extremely nice looking truck.

It wasn't built for serious off road work even though it will manage it.

Needs mudflaps and running boards to prevent the paintwork from being destroyed.

Looks very similar in off road philosophy to many of our midsize off roaders. Love it.

Shame Tonka trucks are no longer made in the USA .

Here's a link on Hasbro, who bought Tonka out. If you read the link you will see that Hasbro wanted to expanded their global reach and Asia was a prime place to increase sales.

Hasbro is a global company American owned. So it will manufacture products globally, mainly China.

An interesting read on a business.

Ford should use a version of this grill on the next Super Duty. It is much cleaner than the stupid C-clamp grill.

At least this concept truck has some useful accessories on it like cargo rack, winch bumper, rear bumper, driving lights and box tray.

I just came from the lower mainland and most were driving at 190 kph on the TransCanada out of Vancouver to Hopeless. Some were 240 kph.

Heading into the interior, most were 180kph.
310kph seems to be the standard. Most traffic cops allow 180kph over the speed limit but even if they stop you they just accept $50 in cash and everyone knows that.

Most drivers in the Lower Mainland, like my wife, were idiots that were not following safe stopping distances.

The irony is the fact that I'm half blind and have a cannibalism fetish.

As for my wife, she fits in with all of the Rambo Motard Retards on this site.

I really like the grille on the stock super duty. This grille is too simple looking but works for the "tonka truck" theme.

Did I say it's very ugly looking truck ?
It has no personality at all. Even Daewoo could make nicer one.

This site needs to get the trolling and BS posts under control.

@lou I'm not sure what country you were driving in or what this has to do with this article, but as a Canadian I can tell you for a fact that 310kph is not the standard speed in Canada or elsewhere in the world.

You have some nerve telling others that the BS needs to stop, when you speak about your wife like that. Shame on you.

@Maria - that was a fake post by a troll. This site does a p!ss poor job of moderating and keeping things under control.

I bet that you have the same IP address as the troll.

Very nice, too bad it will never see any real dirt. They're too proud to get it dirty.

That's the last straw Lou! You have sunk to a new low now....bashing me on a internet website in front of millions of people. You will be sleeping in your truck indefinitely! The couch is too good for you!!

These Tonka trucks are not getting boring, I think they are great. Tonka trucks were built to last and withstand even the toughest Tonka kids, this Classic Mighty Dump Truck, complete with a moveable bed, was ready to take charge in any construction zone and guaranteed for life!

@qpdb - what a dufus. You need a truck to attract girls, when guys like me just use their right hand.

A Cubic inch or perhaps inch is all you got.

You must be a troll because you'd be too retarded to use a computer if you actually believed what Native Indians do is better than what I do when I was asked to do it after it was done before doing it in order to get it done.

Another fake post.
"Posted by: Lou | Aug 18, 2013 9:44:33 PM"

Lou, Put the Thunderbird down and go back to your bench.

That is probably one of the nicest front-end treatments I've seen on a current SD. The linex'd grille tones down the excessive chrome on the current trucks, and the guard on the bumper follows the contours very nicely.

My Tonka trucks were my favorite toys as a kid, I would play with them in my sandbox all afternoon.

I still play with my Tonka trucks from time to time and I'm 35 years old.

Looking under the hood of that thing reminds me why I own a cummins.

Out of all these special edition trucks, I actually like this because it actually is tough and useful. Should have a long bed though.

Last year it was with Matchbox (remember Superlift?) This year it's Tonka. I hope this one makes it to the stores; I'll buy everyone I can get my hands on.

Hopefully they won't hook up with Hot Wheels. Hot Wheels seems to screw up everything they do.

Cool truck.....I'd pull my toyhauler with it!

PS: sick of the trolls

What a beautiful truck. If there is anyone out there that knows who built this truck please let me know. I want to buy this Tonkalized truck. Thank you.

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