Monday, May 10, 2010

Toyota's Tacoma Truck Concept
Toyota officially calls it the Tacoma Truck Concept but it’s more often referred to as the BTTF Truck, short for “Back to the Future,” because it recalls the classic 1985 Toyota pickup that Marty McFly drove away at the end of that movie.

Toyota still lives off the goodwill its Reagan-era compact pickups generated. The 1984-88 Toyota Truck and its famed 2.4-liter four-cylinder 22R and 22RE engines have virtually untarnished reputations for reliability and durability, at an inexpensive price.
Which brings us back to the BTTF Truck. While today’s Tacoma may be almost as big as a first-generation Tundra, it’s the direct descendant of Marty McFly’s pickup. In tribute, Toyota created this one-of-a-kind 4x4x4: four-wheel drive with a four-speed automatic transmission and four-cylinder engine. The closest you can come to this configuration from the factory now is a two-wheel drive PreRunner.

We spent some time with the BTTF at Southern California’s Johnson Valley OHV park, where the ultra extreme King of the Hammers cross-country/rock crawl race is held. It’s a near-perfect place to bring Toyota’s retro truck but, for now, the BTTF remains a very light-duty pickup. Its fabrication came together so quickly last year that Toyota didn’t have time to finish up the last few tweaks required to complete the bullet-proof capabilities it needs to match its looks. It’ll run, but only on dirt trails and flat fire roads.
The ultimate nod back to the Toyota Truck is the BTTF’s solid front axle that replaces the Tacoma’s stock independent front suspension. Hardcore rock crawlers and trail junkies instantly recognize the credibility of an SFA because it provides better wheel travel off-road over obstacles than IFS does. It’s simple, functional and practical, like the rear live-axle setup and leaf springs that continue today on almost every pickup sold in the U.S.

The project team responsible for building the BTTF truck cribbed the front axle from a 1990-97 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ80, along with much of the rest of the front running gear plus the rear axle (though it uses leaf springs, not the FJ80's multilink setup). This widened its track a bit too.
The BTTF’s inside is retro too. The brown and tan interior features seats with genuine 20-year-old Recaro cloth inserts. The surplus patterns were found in the corner of a Toyota warehouse. There’s also a floor-mounted manual transfer case (also drawn from a Land Cruiser) lever next to the transmission shifter to switch the truck from two-wheel drive to 4-high or 4-low, instead of a modern dash-mounted electric t-case knob.
Toyota Tacoma Truck Concept Features:

- Cream Pearl Exterior with retro stripes by Focus on Cars
- Brown interior with Recaro fabric by Fast Ed’s Interiors
- Toyota Land Cruiser FJ80 drivetrain conversion: solid front axle, transfer case, rear axle
- Custom tubular bumpers, roll bar
- Custom front grill by Focus on Cars
- Grant’s Kustoms Rear Roll Pan
- KC Daylighter 6” Off Road lights
- Bushwacker Fender Pocket Style Fender Flares
- American Racing AR-23 wheels

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