Toyota is building a Tacoma ‘Tacozilla’ camper for SEMA

It’s almost SEMA time, and that means carmakers are concocting all sorts of wild builds for the aftermarket show. This year, Toyota is building a vehicle they’ve dubbed the Tacozilla. It’s an odd name, because while it should conjure images of a towering monster truck, the Tacozilla was inspired by a cute little camper from the 70s.

Back then, a partnership between Toyota and Chinook created a wildly popular motor home based on Toyota pickups of the era. A large camper shell was created by Chinook to sit where the bed would normally reside, and these mini-RVs were sold at Toyota dealers.

For the SEMA build, Toyota is using a Tacoma TRD Sport with a manual transmission as its foundation. While the initial video shows the truck still in its early development stages, illustrations appear to show a camper capable of sleeping two in an extension above the cab. There’s also a dining table, small kitchen and toilet.

Team Manager Marty Schwerter says in the video, “We really didn’t want it to look like a refrigerator on the back of a truck,” so unlike the original Chinooks, the camper unit will have a lot more ‘curve’ to its profile. Schwerter also says that the camper section is going to stick up four feet over any other car in the parking lot, but it does look more aerodynamic than the Chinooks of old.

And while the originals (there were several variants produced over the years) typically had a long rear overhang, Toyota’s new design minimizes the departure angle so the Tacozilla can go off-road. Some retro brown and orange stripes round out the old school look.

Space looks extremely limited, but usability is not typically the point of a SEMA build. They’re there to make observers think, “That’s cool!” and the Tacozilla seems like it will do that just fine.

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