Toyota Hilux Bruiser super-sizes a childhood favorite

That one will be a bit tougher to display on the mantle.

Andrew Krok Reviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
Andrew Krok
2 min read

The Toyota Hilux is known for its ruggedness, and the Tamiya-built scale model from the 1980s is known for being a seriously awesome RC car. Now, Toyota's built a big one to pay homage to the little one.

The Toyota Hilux Bruiser is a full-size version of the Tamiya model of old. This one-off truck was constructed atop a new Hilux Extra Cab model, and while it might not be radio-controlled, it's still pretty gnarly.

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Close enough!


The truck was lifted and fitted with 35-inch tires to make it look like the scale model. In order to accommodate the new wheels and tires, the suspension was upgraded, new gears were installed in the differential and the wheel arches were flared. The truck's livery was recreated from the Tamiya model, too.

Tamiya's model carries a number of special touches, and so Toyota hired a model maker to recreate those bits for the Hilux Bruiser. There's a (fake) on-off switch in the bed, body clips, skid plates, tube bumpers and even a giant antenna on the roof. Engineering louvers for the rear glass proved tricky, so Toyota created a vinyl overlay that offers a louvered look in two dimensions.

The Hilux Bruiser isn't just some immobile model. It's fully drivable, using the Hilux's stock 148-horsepower diesel I4 mated to a six-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive. Toyota will use the vehicle for marketing purposes around the UK.

Sadly, this is just a one-off, so you won't be able to pick one up to match your Tamiya model. That said, there's nothing stopping you from doing like Toyota did and hiring a bunch of expensive craftsmen to build one by hand -- provided you can take the massive hit to your wallet, that is.

Toyota Hilux Bruiser is a full-size Tamiya model for grownups

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