First Drive: Ivan Stewart Signature Series Toyota Tundra
By: Mike Levine Posted: 08-05-08 11:51 PT
© 2008

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By my reckoning, I figure I spent about $50 and countless hours playing Ivan "Ironman" Stewart's Super Off-Road videogame in the late '80s and early '90s. The game put you in control of an eight-bit Baja Trophy Truck, which you raced around a pixelated dirt track against friends and a virtual Ivan Stewart. Stewart is a legendary off-road champ who won the Baja 500 17 times and was the only driver to earn both the SCORE and Unlimited Class series championships in the same year.

Some might say playing Super Off-Road was a waste of time and money. I could have been doing something more productive, like studying or helping save the whales. Until recently, I probably would've agreed with them.

Fast forward almost 20 years, though, and it's payback time! I'm seated next to the real Ironman, who’s piloting a brand-new 2008 Ivan Stewart Signature Edition Double Cab Toyota Tundra. We're putting the truck through a series of 0-60 sprints to see how fast this 504-horsepower, 550 pounds-feet of torque, supercharged pickup can haul. But more about that in a moment.

Unlike earlier Ivan Stewart Edition Tundras that used his name and little else, this truck has Ivan's fingerprints all over it. He's been involved in every key decision since its inception last year, choosing its forged 20-inch Alcoa wheels and General AT2 all-terrain tires, Bilstein shocks, Magnaflow exhaust, and other custom hardware.

"I chose the same parts that I would drive on my truck," Stewart said. "For a person who buys this truck, I want them to know it's my name and my credibility that’s behind it. Nothing would be worse than if you lived in East Cupcake, Ohio, wanted to look cool to your friends and neighbors, and bought a new truck with no-name-parts because you’re not familiar with the industry. You bring it home and your buddy, who’s familiar with off-roading, says, 'that was stupid.' Now you've just embarrassed yourself and you're stuck with a truck that won't work because the parts weren't picked to work together. With my truck, you can drive it on the street or off-road. And, if you drive it within its parameters, it will last years and years."

Stewart also partnered Toyota Racing Development, Toyota's racing and aftermarket parts division, for powertrain and marketing collaboration. Toyota has sponsored Ivan’s race efforts for more than 25 years.

TRD developed the Tundra's all-new 5.7-liter V-8 supercharger and brake kit, both of which come with the truck's top-of-the-line option package.

Toyota and TRD are hoping Ivan's name will help sell more trucks and parts in today's difficult sales environment.

"This is a great opportunity to capitalize on Toyota's investment in me and my investment in them. We've been great partners," Stewart said.

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