Toyota TacoZilla Concept Offers New Take on the Old Camper

The great outdoors has been the on the minds of automakers as the pandemic has altered the way Americans enjoy their leisure time or take their vacations. 

Toyota Tacozilla concept side Chicago 2022
With the TacoZilla Tacoma Camper, Toyota is taking the love the outdoors in a new direction with a new design that recalls the camper trucks of a bygone era.

Now with the TacoZilla Tacoma Camper, Toyota is taking the love the outdoors in a new direction with a new design that recalls the camper trucks of a bygone era. 

“People really like it,” said Caitlin Coffee, a member of Toyota’s public relations staff, who was showing the vehicle off to visitors at the Chicago Auto Show.  

The Toyota Tacoma, the best-selling midsized truck from the automaker, is one of the company’s most popular vehicles for outdoor enthusiasts. The concept TacoZilla Tacoma Camper takes the idea of outdoorsy travel to a whole new level with style.

Toyota combines downsizing and outdoor adventure with TacoZilla, drawing its inspiration from the backwoods, overlanding-ready “micro-house” rig Toyota produced in the ’70s and ’80s. 

Built with flair 

Toyota Tacozilla concept rear Chicago 2022
The concept TacoZilla Tacoma Camper takes the idea of outdoorsy travel to a whole new level with style.

Designed and built by Marty Schwerter and his team at the Toyota Motorsports Garage, the team worked at shrinking and repackaging everything inside the camper so that someone over 6 feet tall can walk the length of the interior with enough room for the camper’s amenities and occupants.  

The design team spent more than 100 hours on the design the rear door alone, Coffee noted. 

Other custom work includes a fuel-tank filler that is completely separated from the camper to ensure gas fumes remain isolated and a second battery in the Tacoma’s engine bay to help supply additional power without taking up space in the already space-limited camper. 

The fully insulated interior looks like the micro-house the team envisioned with teak sauna-style flooring, a full bathroom with a hot-water shower, a fully operational kitchen with a stove and sink, a 3D-printed dining table that the converts to a backlit piece of wall art and ample sleeping space. 

Toyota Tacozilla concept interior Chicago 2022
The fully insulated interior looks like the micro-house the team envisioned.

Rough and ready

The 100% custom build uses a Tacoma TRD Sport pickup — so it’s off-road capable — without the bed. The automaker partnered with Complete Customs in McKinney, Texas to create this retro-inspired camper. 

The finished camper, which was initially shown as the SEMA show last fall, features a white base coat with accents reminiscent of the vintage yellow, orange and bronze scheme, further playing to the ’70s and ’80s with the colors.

The camper also has a custom-fabricated frame and an aluminum exterior with smooth, rounded surfaces and it also comes with a unique pass-through opening between the Tacoma’s cabin and the camper structure.  

Coffee said Toyota has not decided whether to put the vehicle into production, but it has a lot of appeal.


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