Just how cool a vehicle can be will be abundantly clear at Toyota’s 2015 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show display, where 14 custom vehicles will exemplify the brand’s passion for driving pleasure—in every kind of Toyota.
“At Toyota, our rally call is ‘Let’s go places,’” said Ed Laukes, vice president of marketing, performance and guest experience, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. “And when we say that, we mean let’s have fun getting there. Our SEMA booth will show just how extreme the fun can be in a Toyota.”
Ever-Better Expedition Vehicles Make an Appearance at SEMA
The Toyota Ultimate Utility Vehicle (UUV) was first introduced publicly in June 2015 as part of the launch of the North American leg of Toyota’s Ever-Better Expedition, a driving project that spans five continents. During the 110-day leg, nine vehicles are being driven over 16,500 miles by Toyota engineers through North America’s most extreme driving conditions—from the desert heat of Death Valley to the icy winter roads of Alaska, and from the congested streets of Manhattan to the soaring heights of Pikes Peak. This Sienna “Swagger Wagon” is retrofitted onto a tough Tacoma pickup chassis and equipped with a Toyota Racing Development (TRD)supercharger, 22×12-inch Monster Energy off-road wheels and upgraded Heim steering and it can be seen at SEMA.
Also making a stop on its global trek at SEMA will be the Toyota LC 200, Australia’s version of the Land Cruiser and the global torch bearer of the Ever-Better Expedition.
Winning Competition Cars on Display
Toyota’s rich motorsports heritage will be well represented at SEMA this year.
The Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota Camry will also be on display at SEMA. Carl Edwardshas piloted the Camry to two wins on the Sprint Cup circuit so far this year—and may have taken the checkered flag again by the time the SEMA Show opens.
Racing fun isn’t confined to the track—or to traditional passenger cars. Ryan Millen of the legendary Millen racing family will be on hand at the SEMA Show with the 2015 Toyota RAV4crossover he is currently driving in the Rally America series. Although very few mechanical modifications were made to the vehicle, the RAV4 could be unrecognizable to some, with its Plexiglas windows, 15-inch racing wheels, rally race suspension and fully gutted interior.
Let’s Go (Nearby) Places
Just outside the Toyota booth, in the Patio Annex of the Las Vegas Convention Center, visitors are invited to see a display of parts and accessories from TRD and a display that highlights classic Toyotas that have been modified by their owners into innovative, award-winning customs.
Among the five iconic specialty vehicles on display: a 1970 Toyota Crown that won Best of Show at Toyotafest; a 1973 Corolla TE28; a 1985 Corolla GT-S Hachiroku that has been featured in numerous media; and a pair of Supras—a 1988 Supra MA70 and a 1995 Supra Twin Turbo.
According to Laukes, “No other display at SEMA will have anything like this. It’s guaranteed to be a sensational draw as a result of the extraordinary vehicles we’ve selected to show.”
The Cars Aren’t the Only Stars
In addition to Ryan Millen, a number of celebrities will be available for autographs and selfies immediately following Toyota’s SEMA press conference on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Among the luminaries: Top Gear USA host and NBC Sports NASCAR analyst Rutledge Wood; drag racing pioneer and 2012 Top Fuel champion Antron Brown; and professional bass fisherman and 2006 Toyota Tundra Angler of the Year Mike Iaconelli.
Iaconelli will make a return appearance at the booth on Wednesday, Nov. 4, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.
On Thursday, November 5, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, Toyota display visitors will be greeted by Gerald “G-Man” Swindle, another legendary bassmaster and winner of the Toyota Tundra Angler of the Year title in 2004.
Much More to Come
“There will be 14 new custom builds at the Toyota booth this year,” said Laukes, “including many that I can’t tell you about—at least not yet. There’s a lot of fun to be had in guessing.”
All will be revealed at the Toyota SEMA Show press conference, scheduled to be conducted from 10:00 to 10:20 a.m. on Tuesday, November 3.
The entire collection of project vehicles can be seen in the Toyota display booth (#24700) in Central Hall and the adjoining Patio Annex at the Las Vegas Convention Center, November 3-6, 2015.