Like all but a handful of traditional automotive events, the SEMA Show has gone virtual this year to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic – but that hasn’t stopped some automakers, notably Toyota, from rolling out some cool custom concepts during a virtual version of the annual aftermarket event.
The Japanese automaker has been a regular attendee at SEMA, using the event as a way to build excitement for a brand often dismissed as vanilla. That would be a difficult description to apply to the four concepts it is revealing today – with Toyota planning to roll out a “second wave” of SEMA concepts “in the coming weeks.”
“When SEMA decided to go virtual, we knew we wanted to be a part of it because when we commit to something at Toyota, we see it through no matter what, and this year is no exception,” said Ed Laukes, Group Vice President – Toyota Division Marketing.
“For 2020, we’re celebrating pure performance, both on and off road. Supra and Tacoma are legendary brands with legendary performance, so it made sense to use them to set the stage this year.”
This first batch includes a serious off-roader that could allow the Tacoma pickup to go still further off into new territory. The other three models unveiled today each offer a different take on Toyota’s Supra sports car.
4WD Toyota Owner Magazine Overland-Ready Tacoma. During the past two decades we’ve seen a big shift away from serious off-road vehicles, especially in the utility market where demand has centered around car-based crossovers. This year is bringing a resurgence of interest in true off-roaders, perhaps driven by the pandemic’s social distancing mandate.
The editors at this magazine came up with what they see as the “ultimate” version of Toyota’s midsize pickup. More specifically, they started out with the most rugged version, the Tacoma TRD Off-Road package, adding such features as a Roots-style supercharger, as well as stow and haul accessories for bikes, kayaks, camping and hiking equipment.
Ornamental Conifer GR Supra. This distinctive take on the 2021 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium started out in Turbulence Gray. That was before it fell into the hands of British artist Nicolai Sclater who uses the “Ornamental Conifer” moniker for his artwork. Sclater is the art director at a Los Angeles agency that focuses on “hub connecting people who share a passion for car and pop culture,” Toyota explains. Sclater treated the Supra as a sheet metal canvas, adding phrases like “True to Form,” and “Lightning Response in his distinctive brushwork using enamel paints.
GReddy Performance Formula D GR Supra. It may feature some striking graphics, but Ken Gushi’s take on the GR Supra is all about upping its performance on the track as Toyota heads back onto the racing circuit. A joint venture of Ken Gushi Motorsports and GReddy Performance, it features upgrades intended to improve its performance in the Formula Drift Pro Class.
Papadakis Racing Rockstar Energy Drink GR Supra. That’s a long name to swallow but Rockstar’s racing team also wanted a serious challenger for the Formula Drift Pro Class and came up with this predominantly yellow-and-black take on the 2021 Supra. Here, it gets a bump up to a whopping 1,033 horsepower and 908 pound-feet of torque after an extensive rework of the GR Supra’s 3.0-liter powertrain. The final package is being driven by Fredric Aasabo, the 2015 Formula Drift champion.
What’s to follow? Toyota isn’t ready to say but “for SEMA this year, we’re exploring performance both on and off-road, hinted Laukes.