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SEMA is coming, and with it, a whole host of badass off-road trucks, SUVs, campers, and more. While SEMA can get a bit silly at times, some concepts strike a chord and move closer to production. After seeing the Chinook-inspired Toyota Tacoma camper known only as “Tacozilla,” I think we will all be screaming for Toyota to make it. 

Toyota Tacoma Tacozilla camper rendering for SEMA
Tacozilla | Toyota

The Toyota Chinook was the coolest camper ever and we may get a new one

According to Autoblog, Toyota is coming in hot with Tacozilla. The name choice is a bit strange because instead of a monster truck, as the name might suggest, Tacozilla is a 2022 Toyota Tacoma camper based on the 70s Toyota Chinook camper. 

The partnership between Toyota and Chinook created a wildly popular motor home based on the legendary Toyota 4×4 pickup. Chinook designed the camper shell that attached to the bed, and Toyota provided the toughest little pickup in the game. The coolest part of the Chinook was that you didn’t have to find a sketchy RV dealership off the interstate; these rad little campers could be bought right at the Toyota dealership. 

What will the new Toyota Tacoma Chinook camper be? 

Toyota is using a Tacoma TRD Sport with a manual transmission as its foundation. That sentence alone should have all the truck nerds foaming at the mouth. The truck is clearly still in its early stages of development; the result will be a small, tough camper able to go anywhere that can sleep two when you get there. 

The Toyota Tacoma Chinook, or Tacozilla, makes smart use of its limited space by using the extension over the cab to house the sleeping quarters. This allows for more open space for the kitchenette, toilet, and dining table in the main cabin. 

Toyota is bringing style back to the camper truck

The Toyota team manager, Marty Schwerter, is clear that he and his team want to conjure the style and coolness of the 70s Toyota camper in the new Tacoma camper. Schwerter says, “We really didn’t want it to look like a refrigerator on the back of a truck.” Toyota is working hard to design the camper shell portion to have movement and curves to add a touch of modernity to the vintage vibe of the Tacozilla. 

It’s important to note that while Toyota is building a camper, it is also meant to be an off-roader. This means the weight is super important, and approach and descent angles have to be considered. 

To that point, the team is making the camper shell as short as possible in the back to keep that approach angle friendly enough to still do some serious off-roading. 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.

Bring on the Tacozilla

The team is clearly planning to finish the vintage vibe with a retro-inspired paint scheme. As of now, the team says they haven’t exactly landed on a final scheme yet, but something tells me we might see dulcet hues like brown, tan, and orange – just like your grandad’s favorite armchair.


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