Okay, okay, so it’s about 30 years late. But if Back to the Future has taught us anything, it’s that time is fluid, right? Besides, if Marty McFly, or really anyone from 1985, was presented with this truck, they’d know exactly what it is. Because back during the Reagan-Dynasty-San Francisco 49ers era (as it’s known to historians), Toyota was really beginning to give the Big Three a run for their money, with its rugged 4×4 lineup helping to lead the charge.
To celebrate the exact date Marty and Doc (and an unconscious Jennifer) travel from 1985 to 2015, Toyota has unveiled a Tacoma concept kitted out to Marty’s dream specs, albeit with the benefit of 30 years’ worth of automotive evolution. And at the risk of editorializing, we think it’s perfect. Just perfect.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Back to the Future, here’s a brief synopsis: 1985 teenager Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) falls in love with a black Toyota Hilux (marketed stateside as the “Toyota Truck”) when it’s delivered to his local Toyota dealership, but alas, being a poor kid from the other side of the tracks, he could never afford it.
After traveling through time in an unremarkable non-Toyota car and having a brief but generally uneventful romp in 1955, Marty returns to 1985 to find his family in much better socioeconomic shape — and surprise! — the Toyota sitting proudly in the garage. In subsequent movies, Marty travels to 2015, back to 1955, and then finally to 1885, where he’s serenaded by ZZ Top and commits identity theft. Time travel, man.
Toyota pulled the Truck/Hilux in 1995 to give us the Tacoma, but looking at the 2016 truck in Marty’s preferred trim, the family resemblance jumps out in a way that we never noticed before. While the all-new Taco is one hell of a truck — we put one through its paces this summer — Toyota has upgraded it with all the ’80s-fantastic bits that would’ve made your dad drool back in the day.
All the classic 4×4 add-ons are here, including the big plastic fender flares, roll bar, and KC rally lights and tubular bumpers in the front and back. Black and chrome TRD wheels are wrapped in big BFGoodrich tires (letters out, of course), and the suspension is jacked up for that vintage-perfect, off-road stance.
But even without the add-ons, the BTTF Tacoma has more vintage-inspired Easter eggs to make any Toyota truck fan flip. The C-Pillars wear the classic “4WD/D4S [fuel injection]” badging. It has a set of original 1985-spec “4WD” mudflaps. Out back, there is an updated version of the amber/clear/red taillights that Toyota’s trucks had for decades. And between those, it has the classic “TOYOTA” decal on the tailgate too. While it looks perfect, the ’90s slacker in us would probably be tempted to scrape all the letters off except for the “YO” after a few dings and dents.
Unfortunately, there’s no word on the interior, so we’ll never know if it’s equipped with goodies like an auto-reverse cassette deck, or kitted out in that indestructible ’80s-era Toyota cloth. Still, we’d probably drive it if the interior was nothing but a steering wheel and a lawn chair. There’s no word on whether or not Toyota will offer the truck or any of its goodies through its TRD specialty department, but we hope it does.
If the huge Internet response to Back to the Future Day, and the many, many DeLoreans out there converted to look like Doc Brown’s time machine have taught us anything, it’s that fans of this beloved trilogy are willing to come out in force. And hey, if Toyota balks, all someone needs to do is build a time machine, go back in time, and scare the company brass into green-lighting it. Actually, we’re pretty sure someone made a movie like that once…
Like classics? It’s always Throwback Thursday somewhere.
Follow Derek on Twitter @CS_DerekS