Galpin Auto Sports in North Hills, California, has built a life-size Tonka truck from a 2012 Ford F-250 Super Duty with the Power Stroke turbodiesel. Why, you ask? Why not? Ever since they were introduced 66 years ago, Tonka trucks have been extremely popular with kids. GAS worked with Funrise Toys, Tonka’s licensee and manufacturer, as well as with several aftermarket companies, to create this truck. It will be used for marketing and promotional events.
"We were really excited to take on this project," said GAS general manager Steve McCord. "You couldn’t get a more fundamentally ‘feel-good’ iconic brand than Tonka. It was really a dream come true for us to build a vehicle that makes children’s dreams come to life."
The truck is called the Tonka T-Rex (partly because of its size and burly look). GAS partnered with Fab-Fours, Highway Products, Kelderman, and others for the modifications. GAS did all the vinyl graphics, plus the final fabrication and installations. Up front, the yellow and black truck has a custom Tonka-branded grille and blackout badges. There are also Bushwacker pocket-style fender flares, and Line-X bedliner material was put around the grille, on the fender flares, inside the fender wells, in the bed, on the bumpers, and on the running boards. The truck has a yellow and black off-road rescue tool kit and mounting rack. Inside, GAS installed the security system and the JL and Kenwood audio and video system. The truck has a complete custom interior — also in yellow and black — filled with Tonka logos and seats covered in Katzkin leather.
The Tonka T-Rex will also be used by Funrise Toys to help with charity fundraisers and in community relations. The company plans to use it in holiday toy drives and family events across the country, such as off-road trips and parades. (You can see the full list of events at www.facebook.com/Tonka .)
"We picked Galpin Auto Sports because of their long history of customizing and special projects," said Kathy Hawk, senior director of marketing for Funrise Toys. "GAS has done great work on other vehicles and we felt they had the industry expertise and imagination to bring this one-of-a-kind Tonka truck to life. Besides they are a great group of guys to work with."
For those who want a smaller Tonka T-Rex for themselves, Funrise Toys is going to release a toy version, in various sizes, in fall 2014. It will be available at retailers across the country. A list of retailers and pricing will be announced in 2014.
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