Plainly, Toyota has been wearing some rose tinted wayfarers and white blazers - or whatever they wore in Japan at the time - as here we have a specially crafted HiLux made to be a full size replica of the popular radio-controlled toy made by Tamiya at that time.
It’s called the HiLux Bruiser, made for Toyota by the famed Arctic Trucks. Well sure, this is a replica apart from the fact that it’s based on the current 8th-generation pick-up and features none of the matching body panels of the 1980s-era toy. Also, impressive as they are, the large tyres and lifted suspension do not really measure up to the mammoth (in proportion) monster truck-style wheels and tyres on the original.
The resulting HiLux itself a one-off, unfortunately, and is based off the Extra Cab variant. Arctic Truck essentially repurposed much of their AT35 conversion package, leading to the bulkier look at significantly altered chassis and suspension. Even the gear ratios are new to accommodate for the extra rolling resistance from standstill.
To complete the look, the bodywork has been wrapped in a high-metallic Diamond Blue by specialists Funkee Fish, while its “Hog Heaven” livery and other decals were reproduced by hand, including the tricolour stripes and run along the body. The louvres that occupy the rear window were especially difficult to execute upon, apparently, requiring a two-dimensional print was used to match the effect.
Other touches to make the HiLux Bruiser as faithful to the Tamiya model were fabricated by expert Robert Selway, who was tasked with recreating in 1:1 scale the replica on/off switch in the load bay, the R-shape body clips, tubular bumpers, and rock sliders.
As you may have already guessed, the Bruiser isn’t actually radio controlled like the model it’s taking heavy inspiration from. In spite of this, a large antenna has been fitted behind the cab to simulate the look of an RC toy.
James Clark, Toyota GB Press Relations Manager, said: “While Hilux is all about capability, owners and all fans of pick-ups and big trucks know a big part of the experience is also about having fun. In that spirit, we wanted to do something truly original to celebrate the latest Hilux and carry forward the great relationship we have with Tamiya. The Hilux Bruiser combines all the colour and character of the wonderful model while also being a seriously engineered machine that can cut it in the roughest conditions.”
Under the bonnet is the HiLux’s standard 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine (usually found here in the Workmate), producing 110kW and 343Nm. Power is sent to all-four wheels via a six-speed manual transmission.