Transporter: 2009 Toyota "Ducati" Tundra
A Hardcore Rider's Dream Hauler
Let’s face it: Seat heaters and nav systems are nice, but when it comes right down to it, the most important part of a pickup is not a gadget or gizmo in the cab—it’s the bed. Toyota understands that and, with this 2009 Tundra featured at the Specialty Equipment Market Association show last year, wanted to demonstrate just how useful the bed of a pickup can be. That’s why the guys who created this one-of-a-kind hauler focused so much on the back half of the truck.
The idea was to create a pickup that a racer could use to haul a motorcycle, all necessary tools, and suit without the need for an additional support vehicle. Other important goals were to make it possible for one person to load and unload the bike, and give the truck a design that would match the appearance and quality of the Ducati that the Tundra carries.
The Toyota Motorsports garage served as headquarters for the build, and the first priority was to make the bed the ideal place for a rider’s gear and motorcycle. The truck started out as a CrewMax, which is available with the 5.5-foot short bed. Toyota swapped in the 6.5-foot bed from another Tundra and, anticipating the work to be done, reinforced the frame.
The back of the truck was turned into essentially a commercial-grade toolbox, with dividers and storage areas provided by USAG, known for its tools as well as the applications it offers for commercial vehicles. It also happens to be the official tool supplier for Ducati. To make the truck more functional for its specialized purpose, Toyota opted to make the bedsides flip up and down. The designers took the original bedsides, filled them with foam and reinforced them with sheet carbon fiber, and integrated a chain-driven setup that would bring the sides up or down. It’s operated through a computer-controlled system that is completely silent when the sides go up. The original bed floor is still there (now lined with carbon fiber and polished stainless steel) as are the back wall and tailgate. All the storage was built specifically for this truck, and when the bedsides are down, all shelving and tools are hidden from prying eyes. Cool features on board include a compressor and nitrogen tank, plus pop-up solar panels. At the track, these panels would serve as the power source for an inverter and a separate heavy-duty battery pack, which has enough capacity for whatever power you’d need during a full day of racing. There’s even a hanger where a rider can hang the race suit to let it air out between sessions.
A major challenge was how to get the bike into and out of the truck. The bike in this case is no ordinary street cruiser: It’s a 200-horsepower Ducati Desmosedici RR, the only street-legal MotoGP bike ever produced and a bike that deserves to be treated with extra care. A Rampage Powerlift ramp was put into the bed, which uses a motorized remote control ramp system, allowing a single person to load in the bike. To accomplish this, the owner needs to get the bike’s wheel into the cradle; once that’s done, he can use the remote to take care of the rest. To help, the tailgate mechanism’s hinge point was moved from the bottom to the side, so the tailgate swings left to right.
The Desmosedici RR was the inspiration for this project, and the truck’s styling reflects cues from the motorcycle. The idea was to give the truck a race-bike-inspired design, without going too over the top. The truck was painted Marlboro Red, the same color as the Ducati, and the stock hood was replaced by a carbon-fiber unit from VIS Racing. Alcoa custom-cut the 22-inch billet wheels, which were done in a matte titanium gold finish, wrapped by Pirelli Scorpion Zero Asimmetrico tires. The dual exhaust tips are custom, designed to resemble the tail of the Desmo. Even the rubberized license-plate surrounds were inspired by the bike. Finishing the truck’s styling are a CarriageWorks rollpan and taillights from a 2010 Tundra. Fast Ed’s Interiors, known for award-winning hot-rod interiors, took care of the cab here, using black leather with contrast stitching, and a suede headliner. Other touches include Relaxor seat massagers and a TRD boost gauge and pod.
Built to carry a fast motorcycle, it seemed only right to add power and performance to the truck. A bevy of Toyota Racing Development items were added. The 5.7-liter V-8 was given a supercharger, said to up horsepower and torque from 381 horses and 401 pound-feet to 500 and 550, respectively. Also added were TRD’s big brake kit, exhaust, anti-roll bar, and a lowering kit that dropped the truck three inches in front and four in the back.
The transformation took about three months to complete, and by the time the guys at Toyota were done, they had created a highly specialized pickup that motorcycle riders and racers would love to own. However, even though it seems like a truck that wouldn’t appeal to all, it uses elements that would be ideal for folks who want to turn their truck into a multitool on wheels. Whether someone wants to haul bikes, construction equipment, tools, or gardening supplies, the versatility of the design of this project’s bed could be used by almost anyone.