Shane Williams

Shane Williams

Toyota Cruisers & TrucksWe're excited to announce major changes to the staff here at Toyota Cruisers & Trucks Magazine.

In an effort to continue to bring you the best Toyota, off road, 4x4, and outdoor news and information - we've just named Beau Johnston as our Editor in Chief. Krista will continue to serve as our Outdoor Life Editor while all of our Overland coverage will be handled by our crack-team of managing editors and contributors.

In late 2014 Angie & I made the decision to build a 2015 CrewMax Tundra as the flagship truck for Toyota Cruisers & Trucks magazine. This would be our sixth Toyota vehicle and the plan is to keep her for many years to come.

Read about our First 2000 Miles on the Tundra

TCT Explorer 2015 Tundra CrewMax Toyota Truck

The TCT Explorer was unveiled at the 2015 Overland Expo West event in Mormon Lake, AZ.

TCT Explorer 2015 Tundra CrewMax Toyota Truck

The TCT Explorer tackled Imogene Pass at FJ Summit #9!

2015 Toyota Tundra CrewMax on Imogene Pass - Ouray Colorado

 TCT Explorer 2015 Tundra CrewMax Toyota Truck

Build Details

Larry H. Miller Toyota of Colorado Springs was extremely helpful in our quest to find the perfect vehicle. While we initially looked in to a TRD Pro Tundra, due to a few key features (i.e. leather seats since we have small children), we opted to go with a Limited CrewMax. Also, Radiant Red is not available in the TRD Pro or Platinum editions, so Limited was the perfect choice.

TCT Explorer 2015 Tundra CrewMax Toyota Truck

Since we really love the styling of the TRD Pro, we got in touch with the experts at Toyota Racing Development so we could start work on transforming our Limited into the TCT Explorer. TRD Modifications include:

  • TRD Pro grille – Custom painted Radiant Red with white TOYOTA letters courtesy of Ken’s Colors of Colorado Springs, CO
  • TRD Dual Exhaust – Installed at TCT World HQ by Jim Akers & myself
  • TRD Pro Wheels – provide the tough look we like and at 17” will perform much better off-pavement than the original 20” wheels
  • TRD Pro style badges – The Tundra and 5.7L Badges
  • Color-matched mirrors – Custom painted Radiant Red by Ken’s Colors

TCT Explorer 2015 Tundra CrewMax Toyota Truck

Of course the TRD modifications only get us so far. We added additional features to the truck to help keep her daily driver manners while providing enhanced performance and utility both on and off pavement.

The Toytec Lifts Tundra BOSS Lift Kit provides approximately 3.5” lift in the front and 3” in the rear, and allows the larger 285/70R17 Nitto Terra Grappler G2 tires from Discount Tire Direct to function without rubbing. Icon Vehicle Dynamics added their Tundra Tubular UCAs to help keep the truck aligned and provide extra strength for our off-pavement fun.

Toytec BOSS Lift Kit TCT Explorer 2015 Tundra CrewMax Toyota Truck

Truck Covers USA sent over their Roll Cover and American Work Cover Jr. toolbox for the bed. This is one of the best mods you can add to a multi-use truck. It provides enough extra storage for recovery gear and tie-downs, and helps keep gear in the bed safe and secure.

For a front bumper, we wanted something that matched the lines of the truck well, wasn’t too heavy, and includes a winch mount. The aluminum Tundra front bumper from Rock Slide Engineering fit each these criteria perfectly, and looks amazing on the truck.

RSE Front Bumper TCT Explorer 2015 Tundra CrewMax Toyota Truck

COMEUP Winch sent their new Seal Gen 2 12.5 winch to fit into the bumper, it’s a monster of a winch and will ensure we can self-recover from just about anything, or provide a quick pull to help Jeeps get out of a rut.

Coming soon: A full set of skid plates from Budbuilt.

The graphics on the truck are courtesy of AFM Graphics. Get in touch with Andy if you need any custom graphics for your truck. The price is right and self-install could not be easier.



In part 1 of this interview we learned about how Expeditions 7 was formed, and some of the challenges the team faced during the 58,000 plus mile journey. We continue the interview with anecdotes of exciting moments, and really what the trip meant to Greg and the entire team, and future plans for the Expeditions 7 rigs.

Expeditions 7 Interview with Greg Miller | Toyota Magazine

2016 Toyota Tacoma in Toyota Cruisers & Trucks magazine

You saw the new design last week and many have asked us about details. Will the 2016 Tacoma include a diesel engine, solid front axle, or front locking differential.

Well, no.

While Toyota USA is unlikely to meet every whim of the hard-core off road enthusiast, we believe that the 2016 Tacoma will continue the tradition of capable, reliable, and very fun to own-and-drive Toyota Trucks.

Retromod Tacoma from Karl Muth

Around the time we started Tacoma Magazine, I found a thread on Expedition Portal entitled: Containerized: Retromod Global Tacoma (LINK). In that thread, ‘containerized’ aka Karl Muth ( went through his entire process of building a Tacoma that was very much customized to accomplish a few goals. First, he wanted to keep the tried and true 1GR-FE that his previous FJ Cruiser ran. He found the FJC a little too difficult to pack due to the small storage area, and he wanted a truck that would fit in a 20’ shipping container. He also wanted something that looked more like a 70’s or 80’s Hilux pickup but in a modern platform with readily available parts.

Overland Expo East 2014 - Toyota Magazine

Blue Ridge Mountains, early autumn, and a slew of adventurers of all types. That pretty much describes the first Overland Expo east of the Mississippi.

During the first weekend in October, like thousands of other overland enthusiasts I traveled to Asheville, North Carolina to see how an eastern Overland Expo would fare. The location, a large private ranch near Fletcher, NC is everything you would imagine in a great outdoor venue. Dirt roads, log cabins, and (unlike the Western version of this event) a lake full of water.

 All Photos courtesty of Expeditions 7

As we introduced in the last issue, Expeditions 7 was an epic undertaking with the goal of driving the same Toyota Land Cruiser vehicle on every continent on the planet. Greg Miller, who is the CEO of the Larry H. Miller Group has been a Land Cruiser enthusiast his entire life, and 4 years ago began planning for this once in a lifetime adventure. I had the opportunity to chat with Greg about the Expeditions 7 team, vehicles, and his motivations and thoughts. This is part 1 of the interview, part 2 will be published in the January 2015 issue.

Expeditions 7 in Toyota Cruisers & Trucks Magazine


Saturday after the SEMA show we did a photo shoot in the desert. Bob's Tacoma was joined by Redline Land Cruisers and their FJ-UTE 4 Door FJ-40, Toytec Lifts with their 2014 Super Charged Tundra, Come Up Winch with their FJ Cruiser, Warrior Products with their Tacoma Truck and FJ Cruiser, with their Land Cruiser, and a couple of locals out for some fun.

Toyota continues to make the wait until January pure they release a new teaser photo:

2015NAIAS Toyota Tacoma Teaser2

As well as a teaser video:

Get Toyota Cruisers & Trucks Magazine on the App Storedownload_nowThe 4 Door FJ-40 from Red Line Land Cruisers

4 door FJ-40 Land Cruiser FJ-UTE

As I chat with Justin Robbins about the frame in front of us, I’m reminded of the scene in Days of Thunder (don’t hate) where Harry Hogge (Robert Duval) is speaking to the frame of his latest race car creation. Justin is a lifelong Cruiser lover and his passion for building amazing trucks permeates this not-so-little shop in eastern Colorado Springs. While we’ve known about this project for quite some time, seeing it rise from an aging 80 Series, a shiny new aluminum body, and parts strewn about brings this vision a little closer to reality.

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