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Retromod Tacoma

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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 (karlmuth.com) 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.

After 43 pages of build thread and comments, our Land Cruiser editor and Rising Sun member Daniel posted a cell phone pic of Karl in front of his custom Retromod Tacoma. As a Toyota Truck enthusiast, this build is certainly one of the top of the list for ultra cool trucks for me, so imagine my surprise when at Overland Expo East, this truck rolls right past me. At the time I was on the phone with Angie and all she heard was…’Uhm…I have to go’.

As soon as a truck this iconic rolls into an event, crowds begin to gather. The first question to Karl, who’s always happy to show anyone the details of this rig, is ‘what is it’, since it doesn’t look too much like a Tacoma. Despite having the vin of a 2012 Taco, the front end is custom with FJ-80 headlights. The rear includes an old-school TOYOTA tailgate grafted into the Tacoma Tailgate, and of course it’s much shorter than a stock Tacoma. The truck is so heavily modified that, according to Karl “The only un-modified panels on this truck are the rear doors”.

The little touches on this truck are truly amazing. The rear wheel wells have been customized to mimick the original but with a shorter bed, and accommodate the huge tires. The front grille includes an original style Toyota emblem, which is custom of course. The bed is covered by a customized canvas cover from Ogden Tops in Chicago. OEM style TOYOTA wheels are color matched to the body. Don’t miss the 80’s era graphics, that’s paint you see – not vinyl. There’s even something special in the stock-looking engine bay: An old ECU found in a junk yard has been turned into a holder for spare copies of your driver’s license, passport, or other important documents. To top off the special touches, he even found an original Alaska 1974 license plate to really confuse onlookers.

In the many parts of the world Karl travels, this truck comes off as a very nicely restored old school Hilux, or perhaps an imported model that’s only available in a small obscure market. In the US though, it shows what a little time, effort, and of course money can produce in the way of a very cool, custom, and most of all usable Toyota Truck.

 

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