2008 Toyota Tundra Shape Shifter

A Tundra's Latest Incarnation

Matt EmeryPhotographer, Writer

Now is the lead-up to SEMA, and vehicles are being built at a feverish pace. The place will be littered with awesome, custom for SEMA built trucks, UTV’s and buggies. By the way, we’ll have complete coverage from SEMA on our fourwheeler.com network during the event. Anyway, this 2008 Toyota Tundra is a prime example of a SEMA special.

At some booths, the trucks are stock save for that companies parts. They are a forlorn bunch. Others build real trucks that also have their products, but many other great products too that come together well. They look good, have all the right parts, as well as the sponsor’s parts, and are ready for the bright lights of Vegas. This Tundra has been there, done that. We’ll get to that later, but now, the rundown on this Toyota.

The chassis is stock, but Tim Grachen of Orange County Trucks, who is in charge of this build, had NBQ Motorsports of Stanton, CA. install a Camburg Long Travel front suspension kit. Consisting of Uni-Ball equipped lowers and tubular uppers, this system is good for over 20-inches of wheel travel. Keeping those inches in check are Fox shocks, as 2.5 Fox DSC Coil-over and 2.5 Fox Triple Bypass shocks, along with 2.5 Fox bumps, keeps things in control. The Fox coil-overs have been enhanced with Eibach springs, as a 4-inch 500lb. upper smoothes out the little stuff while the 18-inch, 800lb. lowers take over when a big hit is, well, hit.

Out back, another set of Fox products are in place. This time, it’s a pair of 16-inch Fox 3.0 Triple Bypass shocks that have been paired with Fox 2.5 bumps. The stock leaf has been replaced with a pair of Atlas SU1 Spring Under Race packs.

Sitting outside the suspension pieces are high tech offerings in themselves. The brakes are by R1 Concepts and include drilled and slotted rotors with sets of their Posi Quiet pads. The wheels and tires are 17-inch Vision Manx Beadlock wheels (17x8.5 -15 offset) with General Tire’s Grabber DOT tires (37x12.5x17) putting the real rubber to the trail.

Giving that rubber plenty of space are the McNeil fiberglass fenders. The cab is stock but the trucks appearance was changed to resemble the 2014 and up body style. Completing the look was done by OC Wraps of Brea, CA, who wrapped the truck with 3M 1080 Satin White aluminum that include a gloss black on the hood and roof.

To say a lot of Vision X lights have been installed is an understatement as six 6.7-inch Cannon rounders have been placed into an above the roof mount while 10 Duralux 4.2-inch (two amber and 6 regular) have been placed into the n-Fab front bumper. There’s another two Vision X XPI light bars that take up station in the cool Royalty Core grille. There’s even a pair if 4.1 Duralux units mounted to the roof mount and facing to the rear, one in amber and one clear.

It used to be that you had to completely re appoint an interior, but nowadays, the interior of a typical late-model truck is as plush as one could want. Grachen did replace the worn out stock upholstery with new leather covers by Roadwire leather and he upgraded the stereo system with a Rosen Piranha Navi capable system with loud Kicker speakers. It’s an interior that could be comfortable for a very long off-road trip.

Getting the Tundra there and back is the business of the 5.7L Toyota engine. It’s been enhanced with a Bullydog GT T+ Tuner and a Bullydog Air cleaner. Getting the spent fuel out quickly is done with Doug Thorley Short tube headers. The driveshaft has been modified by Powertrain Industries of Garden Grove, CA, while the stock rearend had seen the addition of an Auburn Locker and Nitro 4.88 gears. As with just about everything else on the Tudra, NBQ Motorsports did the engine build-up/modifications.

As we alluded to earlier, this Tundra has been to SEMA before. Many times. According to Grachen, who does a lot of marketing work for various companies, “The truck started off as a 2008 Toyota Tundra lifted on a 7-inch BDS Suspension kit on 37’s. It then became an overland build 4 years ago and appeared at 2 SEMA shows before 2014 when it was decided to completely overhaul the truck to a pre-runner off-road truck. “I had always wanted to build an off-road truck. When I was given the opportunity, I took it immediately.”

We think the result is a solid pre-runner as the Tundra has most of what it needs and not much that it doesn’t. It has a sense of style and enough suspension to provide the moves. The attention to detail is well done. SEMA vehicles are supposed to look good, for the first day at least. After 4 days of people leaning and scraping past, many of them have lost some luster. That’s why this feature shoot may not have the action shots you may have come to expect. Honestly, we didn’t want to hurt it this close to SEMA.

It remains to be seen if we’ve seen the last of this Tundra. Will Gratchen retire this Tundra and hit the trails, or will it show up as another clients latest flavor at SEMA 2018. Only time will tell, but we paraphrase General MacArther when we say that, “Old trucks never die, they just build away.”

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