What is the Toyota Tacozilla: The Retro Camper Explained

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!

Table of Contents (Click to Expand)

    Tacozilla Specs and Must-Know Features

    Toyota tacozilla

    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?

    Toyota chinook

    If it was never the plan for the Tacozilla to 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 Show as 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

    Btc truckhouse

    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 starts at a cool $350,000.

    Truck Bed Campers

    Yoho scout camper

    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 still cost 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

    Ikamper on a tacoma

    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 iKamper I wrote after traveling the US and Mexico living out of mine.  

    There are plenty of great rooftop tent brands on 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.

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