Toyota SEMA Build Details:
- Held at Toyota's Museum in Torrance, CA
- Four Toyota athletes chosen to build project cars.
- Winner will be determined by vote at www.toyotadreambuild.com
- DC Shoes customizes a Tacoma and LifeTime Fitness builds a RAV4
One step into Toyota's USA Automobile Museum is all it takes to make an automotive enthusiast's knees weak. The rich brand history displayed from wall to wall is simply amazing. It is a place to appreciate innovative vehicles in the most immaculate form - for those more interested in modified old-school cars a show like the Japanese Classic Car Show (JCCS) will be more your speed. The stateside Toyota museum is located in the city of Torrance, CA and it doesn't cost a dime to visit; you simply have to make a reservation. The recent reason for our short journey there was not just to view company artifacts but for the unveiling of four special builds created for the Toyota Dream Build Challenge, to be displayed at SEMA 2013 next week.
For the Dream Build Challenge, Toyota partnered with its sponsored athletes, teaming them up with build shops, to create the ultimate vehicle fit for their lifestyle and sport.
A BMX rider, a NASCAR driver, a motocross athlete, and a skier were given seven weeks to complete their car. Each team was given a vehicle from Toyota's model lineup that included a Corolla, Camry, 4Runner, and Tundra. Additionally, partners Skull Candy and Oakley got involved. Determined by votes, the winner will be announced at SEMA in Las Vegas, NV during Toyota's press conference on November 5th, 2013.
The first challenge entry is from BMX star Drew Bezanson a Canadian known for his creativity while riding both street and park. He is three-time Simple Session champion and winner at the Torotono BMX Jam. Bezanson teamed up with Skullcandy to create the ultimate biker ready 2014 Toyota Corolla.
"When designing the Corolla for SEMA, we imagined a BMX rider could drive next to any drainage ditch and transform the space into a performance with bikes, lights and music," says Bezanson. "Anyone who loves spontaneity in sports and deep bass sounds should vote for my entry in the Toyota Dream Build Challenge."
Bezanson enlisted the help of Motorsports Technical Center as his build shop. On the front and the rear of the vehicle are custom grind rails, rally wheels, and a rack that mounts two bikes along the back window. When the bikes are disengaged from the mounts, the trunk can be used to accommodate bike tools. Furthermore, the pair of mountable speakers provide a clean projected sound, while the light bars can illuminate any location for a BMX session. The interior integrates custom iPad controls that operate music out of the upgraded speaker shaped in the Skullcandy logo. Both front seat headrests are 3:1 scale representations of Skullcandy's newest Crusher headphones hence the name, "Crusher Corolla."
NASCAR driver Parker Kligerman accepted the challenge by building a rally racing themed 2013 Toyota Camry dubbed "CamRally." Unlike many drivers who came from a long tradition of racers, Kligerman had no family ties in racing. Toyota aficionados will quickly recognize and appreciate this build's vintage Toyota Racing color combination of red, orange, and yellow - made famous by one of Toyota's famous racers Ivan Stewart.
Kligerman chose Detroit Speed, Inc. in Mooresville, NC to assist in building a road-ready rally car. They even went as far as using racing windows and gutting the interior to make room for a roll cage. Primary engine modifications include a Turbonetics turbo, a Spearco intercooler, custom DSE header, and AEM/Turbonetics ECU upgrade.
"This Camry may look like a work of art, but we put some real muscle and functionality throughout the entire vehicle," Kligerman said. "In rally racing, we're not just protecting against a wall, but from trees too. Detroit Speed did an amazing job and after working with them I can see why they are the defending champs. With the help of their many partners, they were able to put all the bells and whistles on the car and they just left enough room in the trunk for us to bring the trophy from the Toyota Dream Build Challenge back to Kyle Busch Motorsports for the second straight year."
Team Toyota member Simon Dumont is a renowned freestyle skier and is set to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics in the first superpipe event. It was a perfect match when he was assigned to build a Toyota 4Runner alongside Oakley to represent his lifestyle. Dumont chose Herbst Smith Fabrication in Huntington Beach, CA as the main headquarters for the build. Together the team created the "Ultimate Dream Ski 4Runner."
The exterior features a dark Oakley camouflage-patterned vehicle wrap, LED lights and a rugged metal roof rack designed to electronically lower, open, and store two sets of skis. Comfort was one of the main priorities in the build. The doors, music, windows, and other interior features are controlled by three separate iPads for a unique experience. In the cargo area you'll find a coffeemaker, a dryer for gloves and boots and mountable grill stored after a long cold ski.
"When you're going to attack the slopes, this 4Runner is an assault vehicle," Dumont said. "It was incredible to be part of this Toyota Dream Build Challenge and watch details of my sport and personality be transferred into this car."
The fourth entry includes motorcross athletes Josh Grant and Justin Brayton. They were handed the keys to a brand new Toyota Tundra and went on to build a vehicle they can use during competition days. The two athletes joined forces with Joe Gibbs Racing Motocross (JGRMX) and N-FAB that are 1,000 miles apart for this colossal project called the "Lets Go MotoTundra."
The front half of the 2014 Tundra CrewMax cabin was kept intact, but they swapped the other half for an 8-foot long bed from another Tundra to accommodate a motocross bike. Not only is this Tundra long and wide, but it's also lifted nearly 12 inches to handle rugged terrains. Furthermore, the height is elevated through its expandable electronic awnings. In addition to holding bikes, the rear holds three TV screens, a fridge, a power washer, helmet dryer, a toolbox, back up gear, and hydrogen tanks.
"The competition is not going to be able to hang with this truck and all the resources JGRMX and N-FAB brought to the table," Grant said. "Our industry has a lot of unique needs, and this Tundra hits them all."
Voting is officially open and is limited to one vote per day at www.ToyotaDreamBuild.com until November 4th. Top Gear host Ruledge Wood will have the honor of announcing the winner during the press conference.
In a completely separate competition DC Shoes and Toyota asked fans to pick a theme for the ultimate sports Tacoma between snow, motocross, or skateboarding. Ultimately, the snow theme won. Camburg Engineering brought the ideas of professional snowboarding athletes to life. The Tacoma features a powerful snowplow on the front and on the rear a telescoping ramp to drive a snowmobile onto the truck bed. A unique pop-up tent sits on the roof that can be accessed through a ladder. It has an LED light bar that provides light for a late-night snowboard session. The interior of the Tacoma is fitted with a mounted iPad mini connected via Bluetooth for navigation and videos.
"Our fans loved the concept of the snowboard-ready Tacoma, and the real-life version will blow them away," said Dan Hartloff, events and partnerships manager for DC Shoes. "This Tacoma would add a new level of intensity to any practice session or impromptu ride with friends." The Tacoma can be seen at upcoming Dew Tour events.
Last but not least is the Triathlon-Themed RAV4 built by Lifetime Fitness. This RAV4 was built to accommodate athletes after a triathlon. The Motorsports Technical Center in Torrance, CA added special features, which include a hot water show, wither a 5-gallon fresh water tank, a spin dryer, and gear storage all in the rear cargo. While the wetsuit drips into the drain, the athlete can relax with a shiatsu massage in the front seat. The rear seat section integrates a refrigerator, a Blendtec blender, and a cupboard for snacks.
"This fun RAV4 brings together a triathlete's passion for a healthy, active lifestyle and the drive for pushing ourselves to race faster and smarter," Sarah Haskins says, a Team Toyota triathlete.
Toyota is clearly hitting SEMA hard. Be on the lookout for these cars at upcoming events.