Just like Kevin Costner, Toyota’s Tundra is an aging player. Also like the actor, the full-sized truck is versatile and can still play many roles.
Costner sees it as the ultimate adventure vehicle.
Toyota worked with the actor, who lives on a 165-acre ranch in Aspen, Colo., to design a vehicle that would suit his outdoor lifestyle’s every work and play need.
The automaker commissioned Complete Customs to work directly with Costner on a custom 2018 Toyota Tundra Platinum in its largest CrewMax configuration. The truck has a 5.7-liter V8 engine that delivers 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque.
The Texas-based auto shop specializes in a range of aftermarket work such as suspension, performance, new wheels and tires and old vehicle restoration. It has worked with a handful of high-profile clients, including late Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, author of the autobiography” American Sniper.”
It starts on paper
In Costner’s case, the vision for his truck started as a sketch in his notepad.
“It was a creation of Kevin’s, created in his mind, from the beginning,” Complete Customs owner Shaun Freilich told Trucks.com. “He was very detailed on what he wanted, up to his hand drawings.”
According to Freilich, executing some of those details was the most challenging part of the build.
“The word he kept coming back to was ‘robust.’ He just wanted the truck to feel more robust,” Freilich said. “Some of the ideas were a little far-fetched, but for the most part we didn’t have to scale anything back.”
For example, the roof rack design needed to accommodate Costner’s range of outdoor hobbies such as canoeing and fishing, as well his obligations to the horses and livestock on his ranch.
This meant a ground-up fabrication of its components for it to be compatible with boating equipment, camping gear and the occasional sheet of plywood or bale of hay.
It was also a two-piece rack, which made it difficult, Freilich said. Early designs of the rack would appear perfect but would measure slightly off when it was mounted on the truck, he said.
That same attention to detail is visible on the Tundra’s bumpers. The front bumper incorporates an LED light bar made by Rigid Industries. Both the front and rear bumpers have built-in Warn winches for pulling and hoisting heavy materials around the ranch.
There also are a custom spare tire mount, side steps and a TRD exhaust system.
Costner added stock accessories, too, including a truck bed storage system from Decked, fishing rod vaults, monster hook swivels and jerrycans from Front Runner.
“I was able to organize this truck in a way that suits me,” Costner said. “I didn’t want it to just look tough; I needed it to be tough.”
Functional outside and in
The truck has a functional interior, as well. Kid-friendly creature comforts include 7-inch Vizualogic Android tablets with DVD screens and video game controllers, a Dometic dual-zone cooler system and Lock’erdown safes underneath the rear seats and center console.
Freilich delivered the final product to Costner while he was shooting a TV series in Montana. He said the actor was “giddy and excited.”
Though Costner designed the truck for himself, it suits his whole family. They can access all corners of their Aspen property thanks to a BDS lift that gives the truck 14.5 inches of ground clearance. It also sports Nitto Ridge Grappler all-terrain tires and Fox shocks.
In the first three months of owning the truck, he put more than 6,000 miles on the odometer. “This truck goes everywhere I go,” Costner said.
The second generation of the Tundra debuted in 2007. Since then, it’s undergone minor changes, including introduction of the capable TRD Pro trim meant to compete with off-road variants from domestic nameplates.
Tundra sales in 2018 grew 1.7 percent to 118,258 units compared with 2017. Though the pickup received a small bump, it still trails it’s U.S.-built peers in the full-size category. Sales of Ford F-Series trucks, for example, grew 1.4 percent to 909,330 in 2018.
Chevrolet’s Silverado, GMC’s Sierra, Ram’s 1500 and Ford’s F-150 have all undergone full redesigns over the past two years.