Toyota Is Recreating The 1970s Magic Of Its Chinook Campers With This Tacoma Camper Project

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Back in the 1970s and 80s Toyota teamed up with Chinook to build campers based on its Pickup model. It was a wildly successful venture for both parties, and living in the land that rust forgot, I still see these on occasion being used as dual-purpose living space and daily driver. Looking to recapture some of that heritage magic with the current Tacoma, Toyota is building a new Chinook Dolphin-style for this year’s SEMA show.


Toyota is starting with a Tacoma TRD Sport with a stick as the basis for this build, which admittedly is a pretty great place to start. I’m sure they’ve got the design nailed down by now, but have decided to split the build up into multiple episodes to be released between now and SEMA when the truck will be unveiled. The current design, shown off in the video below, looks like the camper shell will house a bed for two above the cab of the truck, while the back where the bed of the truck used to be will house a dining area, kitchenette, and a place to do your business that definitely isn’t just a closet with a bucket in it.

Obviously Toyota wants to build on the ever-expanding overlanding market here, so instead of the massive overhangs that the original Chinook-built campers had, this Tacozilla has a nice tidy rear bumper to give the truck a decent amount of departure angle, keeping its off-road chops intact. Surely this adds a decent amount of weight to the overall platform, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Toyota pumping up the power a little bit for the SEMA drop.

With average new vehicle prices exceeding $45,000 now, it would actually make a lot of sense for Toyota to start selling these in showrooms again. You know, because people who can’t afford homes could live in them. What a great not-at-all-dystopian eventuality that would be. Anyway, here’s a cool truck that Toyota definitely won’t be building for you or me, but will show off at SEMA. The perfect place for such a behemoth. It can roll right out into the desert and go for a camp.

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