Japanese automaker Toyota and RV manufacturer Chinook have taken the wraps off a new project that harkens back to a similar collaboration that took place more than 40 years ago. The two companies have joined forces once again to design a concept vehicle dubbed “Tacozilla” that promises to recapture the magic of the iconic Toyota Chinook camper van of the 1970s.
Originally released in 1973, the aptly named Toyota Chinook was a truck-based RV built for the masses. Thanks to its $6000 price tag, relatively good gas mileage (20 MPG), and an array of onboard amenities, the camper van became a hit, selling more than 50,000 vehicles across its lifetime. And even though the recreational vehicle hasn’t been built since 1994, older models remain in high demand.
The new Tacozilla concept vehicle is being designed by engineers working in Toyota’s Texas-based motorsports tech center. Built on the frame of a Tacoma TRD Sport pickup truck, the camper van promises to combine reliability and durability with good off-road performance. The new model is rumored to come with a manual transmission and 3-5liter V6 engine offering 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque.
Like its predecessor, the Tacozilla will feature a cabover design with a small cabin located in the bed of the truck. The living quarters will feature a small kitchenette—complete with a table, refrigerator, and sink. The sleeping area is located above the Tacoma’s cab and is large enough to accommodate two adults.
For now, Tacozilla exists only as an artist rendering, although Toyota promises to reveal more at the upcoming SEMA show in Las Vegas. Rumor has it, a prototype of the new RV will be unveiled at the event sometime between November 2-5. Whether or not this next-generation camper van makes its way onto Toyota dealer’s lots remains to be seen.