What is the Toyota Tacozilla: The Retro Camper Explained (2024)

What is the Toyota Tacozilla: The Retro Camper Explained (1)

If you love retro things and Tacomas as much as we do, you’re going to fall in love with the Toyota Tacozilla.

This badass camper is built onto the body of the Tacoma TRD Sport and features stunning vintage yellow, orange, and bronze stripes, an impressive integrated living space, a hot water shower, a full kitchen, and all of the off-road capabilities you’d expect from a 4×4 Toyota vehicle.

Sounds too good to be true?

Unfortunately, it may be. As of this year, this truck camper is just a concept vehicle created by Marty Schwerter with the Toyota motorsports garage team. But…

Regardless of whether the Tacozilla camper ever hits the market, it could point toward some of the future plans in Toyotas design quarters—and there are some things we do know about the Tacozilla.

So let’s do a deep dive into everything to know about the Toyota Tacozilla!

Tacozilla Specs and Must-Know Features

What is the Toyota Tacozilla: The Retro Camper Explained (2)

The base of the Toyota Tacozilla is a 2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport with a 3.5-liter 6-cylinder manual transmission. The traditional truck bed is replaced with a spacious camper shell that even extends over the cab.

This camper is so spacious that even a 6-foot-tall person could walk through the interior with ease.

The Tacozilla is equipped with 33-inch General Grabber all-terrain tires, as well as a two-inch lift to give it an extra leg up on the trails.

It also has a full bathroom, a relocated fuel tank filler to keep gasses out of the cab, two additional inches of added ground clearance, a gorgeous backlit wall art display that provides great ambient lighting, and a complete solar kit equipped with a second battery.

Why Was The Tacozilla Created?

What is the Toyota Tacozilla: The Retro Camper Explained (3)

If it was never the plan for the Tacozillato hit the market, why was it even created?

According to Toyota’s vice president Lisa Materazzo, the Tacozilla was created to “show off its skills and the potential for its vehicles.”

This isn’t the first time Toyota created a truck camper. As you can see in the image above, the Tacozilla has a striking resemblance to the 1970s Toyota Chinook. Even the color schemes are similar.

Only now the Tacozilla is even more capable and jammed packed with modern luxuries that are leaving camping and overlanding enthusiasts dreaming.

As far as we can tell, this is why Tacozilla was created. To inspire a sense of wonder and awe in Taco lovers.

Can You Tour the Tacozilla?

The Tacozilla has made an appearance at different events over the past few years. It made its debut in Las Vegas in 2021 at the SEMA Show, and even more recently at the Chicago Auto Show and New York Auto Showas well.

As of right now, there are no upcoming events in which you can tour the Tacozilla, but there are several full walkthroughs online like the one below:

What Does The Tacozilla Mean For the Future of Toyota?

Right now, we can only hope that Toyota is teasing us and planning to release something similar to the Tacozilla in the coming years. Perhaps it was a way to gauge enthusiasm or make us fall in love just in case they release something late.

All we can do is speculate. We’d love to hear what you think the Tacozilla means for the future of Toyota in the comments below!

Tacozilla Alternatives

Don’t worry—there are actually a few different alternatives for those who are craving something similar to Tacozilla.

The BTC TruckHouse

What is the Toyota Tacozilla: The Retro Camper Explained (4)

The most notable alternative is the BTC TruckHouse.

Through their website you’re able to customize the Tacoma truck house of your dreams and choose between the Sport models and TRD Pro models.

You can also choose your exterior color, tire size, suspension package, entertainment upgrades, house battery size, and even severe weather options to keep you warm, cool, dry, and bug-free.

These Tacoma BTC TruckHouses provide a completely luxury overlanding option, but they come at a premium price! According to their website, the BTC TruckHouse startsat a cool $350,000.

Truck Bed Campers

What is the Toyota Tacozilla: The Retro Camper Explained (5)

Photo Courtesy Scout Campers

Not all of us have $350,000+ to spend on a TruckHouse, but a more affordable option is a truck bed camper like the YOHO Scout Campers, Alu-Cab, or Kimbo Camper.

There are plenty of options to make your rig the ultimate Tacoma Camper Truck, but these can stillcost a bit more than some overlanders are willing to shell out.

I was seriously considering the Go Fast Camper for my Tacoma. They make truck bed campers for short-bed Tacomas and long-bed Tacomas, and they’re amazing for overlanders.

Roof Top Tents

What is the Toyota Tacozilla: The Retro Camper Explained (6)

This brings us to our final alternative: rooftop tents! And yes, that photo is of me and my rig lost out in the Utah desert.

We have written extensively about rooftop tents here because I personally loved my iKamper Skycamp Mini. Check out our full review of the iKamperI wrote after traveling the US and Mexico living out of mine.

There are plenty of great rooftop tent brandson the market that can fit into just about any budget. Rooftop tents are a much more comfortable experience than ground tents, and even the premium brands are more affordable than TruckHouses and truck bed campers.

Final Thoughts

The Toyota Tacozilla is an outstanding symbol of what this Japanese automaker is capable of creating.

While many of us are left with a mere dream of one day being able to own a fully Toyota-made Tacoma camper, we can also use it as inspiration for creating our own dream overlanding rig.

What is the Toyota Tacozilla: The Retro Camper Explained (2024)


Is the Toyota Tacozilla real? ›

Designed and built by Marty Schwerter and his team at the Toyota Motorsports Garage, Tacozilla is 100% custom. “We really didn't want it to look like a refrigerator on the back of a truck, so you'll see it's all rounded edges,” said Schwerter.

What are the features of the Tacozilla? ›

It's quite cozy inside, featuring teak flooring, a kitchen with a stove and sink, a full bathroom with a shower, and a pop-up skylight. There's a TV, too. The kitchen table is 3D printed and can convert into a sleeping space.

How many people does the Tacozilla sleep? ›

Schwerter says it could sleep up to four people in comfort: you get a double bed over the cab, a lounge and living room with two couches (which can also be used for sleeping), a 3D-printed table that converts into a backlit piece of art, and a proper kitchen and wet bathroom.

Can I buy a Tacozilla? ›

Unfortunately, the "Tacozilla" pickup camper is just a pure concept vehicle that will not go into series production and is therefore not available for purchase. Nevertheless, it is impressive what the Toyota Motorsports Garage team has achieved here.

Why is it called TacoZilla? ›

Toyota brought trucks aplenty to SEMA, lead by a retro-cool tribute to the Chinook camper of the 1970s and '80s. The one-off concept Chinook tribute was called TacoZilla, with the first half of that moniker coming from the Tacoma's nickname, "Taco."

How much does the Toyota Tacoma camper cost? ›

Montana-based GFC is the first to market with a camper for the upcoming 2024 Toyota Tacoma. Available in five- and six-foot sizes, these new wedge-shaped platform campers will fit all versions of the 2024 Tacoma. The starting price is $7700 and the camper is available to order now.

What is the gas mileage on the Tacozilla? ›

Thanks to its $6000 price tag, relatively good gas mileage (20 MPG), and an array of onboard amenities, the camper van became a hit, selling more than 50,000 vehicles across its lifetime.

How many seats does a Tacozilla have? ›

The living space has been designed to accommodate two adults comfortably and comes with bench seating and a bed that extends over the roof of the truck.

Is the Toyota Tacozilla in production? ›

Designed at the automaker's headquarters in Plano, Texas, this build is a pure concept vehicle built on the previous-gen Toyota Tacoma that might never go into series production (at least not anytime soon).

Is there a camper van that sleeps 5? ›

The Del Mar gives you the ability to stand while inside the vehicle, enough room to sleep 5 comfortably (without ever leaving the van), and more bells and whistles than any other Escape model, including USB chargers & lighting built directly into the pop top campervan.

How big is a Toyota camper? ›

Most of these Toyota RVs range from 18ft to 22ft, and have a variety of layouts available.

What is similar to a Tacozilla? ›

Polish 4x4 motorhome builder Xpedition Pro has unveiled its first creation: the Xpro One. It's an overlanding camper van with sleeping quarters for three people and amenities for "10 days of existence without any resources," said Xpedition Pro.

How much is the new Toyota camper van? ›

With two bed areas, cooker, fridge, swivel front seats and elevating roof… it is also the most versatile and technologically advanced Eco camper in the world! Sleep, cook and drive almost anywhere, there is no rival. The Toyota Alphard UK price starts from only £24,995 and is one of our most popular cars for sale!

What are the specs of the Tacozilla? ›

A 3.5-liter V-6 engine making 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque mated to a six-speed manual gets the Tacozilla moving. The team added a two-inch lift to the TRD suspension to make it more capable off-road, and with the General Tire Grabber X3 285/70/17 tires, the Tacozilla shouldn't have any problem overlanding.

Does Toyota TRD still exist? ›

In support of this, TRD U.S.A. (a subsidiary of TMNA), headquartered in Costa Mesa, designs, develops, manufactures, and assembles racing engines for Toyota's racing teams, and in addition, provides teams with race vehicle engineering and at-track race support.

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