Since it arrived on the market in model-year 2007, the Toyota FJ Cruiser has been a nostalgic tribute to the Japanese automaker's classic sport 'ute. But as we previously reported, the FJ will end production after the 2014 model year. At the 2013 SEMA show, Toyota announced that it will sell a limited-production Trail Teams Ultimate Edition as the SUV's final swan song.
Toyota says the Trail Teams model, limited to 2500 units, will be the "toughest and most capable FJ ever" when it goes on sale in February 2014. The special model will receive a racing-inspired suspension developed by TRD, which includes remote reservoir Bilstein shocks and TRD race coil springs raised in the front to improve approach angle and stance. The shocks offer increased damping, articulation, and high-speed stability, Toyota says. The SUV rides on 16-inch TRD bead lock wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich A/T KO tires, and also gets a new TRD quarter-inch-thick aluminum skid plate, rock rails, and a roof rack. The Trail Teams Ultimate Edition comes exclusively in four-wheel drive, and features Toyota's A-TRAC traction control, crawl control (on automatic-equipped models), and Vehicle Skid Control systems.
From the SEMA show floor, the FJ has the same rugged yet nostalgic presence it's always had. But the matte-gray bead lock wheels and functional-looking roof rack give it something special. Though the FJ Cruiser may be going out of production, we aren't likely to see the model exit aftermarket show floors anytime soon.
Toyota Dream Build Winner
At Toyota's SEMA Show press conference, Toyota's vice president of marketing communications and motorsports Ed Laukes and "Top Gear America" host Rutledge Wood announced the winner of the second annual Toyota Dream Build Challenge. In case you missed it, the automaker gave select Toyota-sponsored athletes four vehicles to modify in 30 days. The competitors included the Skullcandy Crusher Corolla, CamRally Camry of Parker Kligerman, Joe Gibbs Racing "Let's Go Moto" Tundra, and Oakley Ultimate Dream Ski 4Runner. After interviewing each team about their respective projects, the presenters declared the "Let's Go Moto" Tundra as the winning build, chosen by fans who voted online. With the amount of stuff packed into the long-bed pickup, including multiple TVs, a motocross bike storage bay, and a repair area stocked with tools and spare parts, it's easy to see how the Joe Gibbs Tundra could take home the trophy. That trophy was made up of parts from each of the four competitors.
Other Toyota Show Cars
At the preview event held at the Toyota USA Automobile Museum a few weeks ago, Toyota brought out two vehicles not included in the Dream Build. At Toyota's space on the SEMA show floor, two more vehicles showed up. Among them was the SpongeBob Toyota Highlander SpongeBob Tanked Edition. Different from the SpongeBob SquarePants-themed Highlander that debuted with a whimsical interior earlier this year, this crossover boasts an even wilder cabin treatment with a custom fish tank designed by the hosts of Animal Planet's reality show "Tanked." The acrylic enclosure, which occupies the interior space from the B-pillar back, holds 800 gallons of salt water and is home to about 115 sea creatures representing more than 32 different species. A giant-size SpongeBob figure can be seen blowing bubbles next to his pineapple house.
The other vehicle was the Texas Barbecue Tundra built with help from Chef Tim Love and West Coast Choppers' Jesse James. The duo integrated a KitchenAid oven into the full-size pickup's eight-foot bed. An oak chopping block extends from that bed to produce the wood necessary to cook the meat. Two Weather Guard side coolers maintain a safe temperature while the truck is in motion, while stainless steel compartments hold all the condiments you would need. Other modifications to the Tundra include fender flares, a four-inch lift, Method Racing alloy wheels, and N-FAB Nerf steps.