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Auto Show : 2011 Sema Auto Show

2012 Toyota Tacoma - SEMA Auto Show

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2012 Toyota Tacoma

author photo by Colin Ryan

It's good to be reminded that Toyota doesn't just make pleasant cars that get us from home to work and back, and help us with the grocery run. The 2011 SEMA show demonstrates that the company is also involved in many forms of motorsport, including the legendary Baja races.

For example, the limited-production 2012 Tacoma TRD T/X Baja Series has inspired Long Beach Racers to create their own desert-racer Tacoma and enter it into the 2011 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 event, soon after they leave the SEMA show. The guys from LBR are fully experienced in racing Toyota trucks at this famous location, so they made informed choices on what extra equipment to install. A roll-cage, naturally, plus a lifted suspension, Hella lights, BFGoodrich tires, carbon fiber skid plates, racing seats and an intercom/radio system, to name just a few.

The Tacoma mid-size pickup is also useful for other sports, as illustrated by Oakley, the famed surfboard-and-sunglasses company. Toyota's 2011 SEMA stand is displaying the one-off Oakley Surf Tacoma. As well as a supercharged V6 engine making 304 horsepower, an upgraded suspension, all-terrain tires and a kicking Kicker stereo system, this all-wheel-drive machine has storage for multiple surfboards and wet suits, plus an ice chest, barbeque grill and shower.

Then again, for pro racers and surfers, these could be pleasant vehicles that get them to work and back. It's all relative.

See more coverage of the 2011 SEMA Auto Show.

COLIN RYAN has driven hundreds of cars thousands of miles while writing for BBC Top Gear magazine, Popular Mechanics, the Los Angeles Times, European Car, Import Tuner and many other publications, websites, TV shows, etc.
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2012 Toyota Tacoma - SEMA Auto Show