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The 5-speed Allison transmission mated to the Hino diesel also required careful fitment through the cab. It looks like the center console on an automatic pickup but it's all the medium duty, manually-shifted cog swapper under the leather covered housing. And out of the middle of the console is a gigantic stick shift rising over a foot tall. It's not that big to be a bragging point. It's that big because the driver needs extra leverage to shift the gears residing directly under the shifter.
The independent front suspension was also modified to support the engine. The coil springs are paired with Bilstein shocks, doubled to two units on each side, and joined at the end of each knuckle on the bottoms. The A-arms were strengthened and widened. Special attention was paid to make the custom front running gear look like it's stock.
Some consideration was given to using a solid front axle (like Ford's F-450 Super Duty) on the concept, but time constraints led to that idea getting cut.
The last part of the drivetrain and suspension, the custom machined Alcoa wheels, are built to take heavy duty towing abuse. The 8-lug, 22.5x9-inch wheels wear Michelin Energy 295/60/22.5 tires.
The end result is a truck that's expected to be able to pull a 24,000-pound trailer using the Reese Signature fifth wheel hitch mounted in the back of the bed and welded to the Tundra's frame.
"Everything is designed to support this type of application. The frame can take it. The drivetrain certainly can take it. This thing has so much torque it wants to walk up walls," says Mr. Victor.
But as tough as Toyota says the underbody components are, the interior is meant to coddle its occupants.
"As Warren likes to say, this is a truck of contrasts. We debated the interior quite a bit but we decided to go with a very refined, upscale cabin. It's really the opposite of the rest of the truck," says Mr. Amstock.
Soft ginger yellow leather and suede is wrapped around almost every surface in the truck. The back bench was removed and replaced with twin power captains chairs, like the front seats. Brushed aluminum is used to highlight the instrument panel, which also houses two custom LCD screens for audio and visual entertainment and navigation. An integrated Tekonsha electronic trailer brake controller is mounted to the lower right of the driver for easy access while towing.
Special attention was also paid to exterior design details. Mr. Warren is proud to point out the dual-use roof mounted off-road and running lights. He also likes the flat paint job and brushed steel and nickel trim, mirrors, and bumpers.
"The outside is quite different from most SEMA vehicles. Most are chromed out and you see a lot of shine. That's great but all the surfaces on this truck have been dulled out to give this it more of a true metal look," says Mr. Warren.
As the Tundra Dually Diesel quickly morphed from concept to reality, and rumor of its capabilities spread inside Toyota, Mr. Amstock and Mr. Victor found themselves in a unique position. Some folks in the home office in Japan thought the Americans had gone ronin putting such a truck into motion. But working together to keep the concept alive and clarify its purpose, Mr. Amstock and Mr. Victor were able to express to the upper echelons of management what it means to build an ultimate SEMA project vehicle. It's about building a different kind of concept than the futuristic people movers the Japanese OEMs love to show off at the Tokyo Motor Show. SEMA is about pushing the reality-based performance envelope in a way that many people would never do, but wish they could, to the vehicle sitting in their driveway. And best of all, this truck is truly built to tow and haul - even if a future Toyota heavy duty truck shows up that's a little further back on the scale in the three-quarter or one-ton portion instead of the one-and-one-half-ton zone.
"This truck is a runner. We didn't build a vehicle that's just going to sit on a platform or in a museum. When we build a vehicle it should be able to operate and come in and out of the show on its own power and show off its capability. This is a functional truck. But it's also us having a lot of fun," says Mr. Amstock.
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