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Drag Race Review: 2008 Toyota Tundra TRD Supercharged

Not many people know that Toyota makes weapons. They calmly focus your attention on their everyday vehicles like the Camry, Prius, and other vehicles built for the daily grind. However, deep in the darkest parts of their automotive stable lies an assassin. Parked among the discarded carcasses of turbocharged Supras sits a vehicle that doesn’t make sense. I am not eloquent enough to properly describe it, so here are a few choice words from other folks:

“It’s like driving a ballistic building…” – Aaron Robinson, Car & Driver.
“A quick jaunt in this Tundra will humble the most jaded sports car purist. It’s too quick. It’s a truck. It feels so wrong.” – Thomas Voehringer, Motor Trend.
“Milk milk, lemonade, in this Tundra, fudge is made…” – Jeff Glucker, Hooniverse.com.

See, I told you I wasn’t as eloquent. However I think my statement conveys the gist of what Toyota has handed me the keys to. It’s the 2008 Toyota Tundra TRD Supercharged, which produces 504 hp and 550 lb-ft of torque…and I’m taking it to the drag strip.

About once a month, the Autoclub Speedway in Fontana opens up the gates of their drag strip to the public. They call it the Street Legal Drags. I call it an excuse to wake up way too early and try something I have never done before. I paid my $20 at the gate and breezed through tech inspection. It was time to find a parking spot and mingle with the crowd. I was quite surprised with just how friendly everyone was. Regardless of what they brought to the track, they all had smiles on their faces and more than a few were curious about my big red truck.

This Tundra is not just fitted with a supercharger and some shiny wheels. The folks at Toyota reached deep into the TRD parts bin and pulled out an exhaust system, a set of sway bars, and most importantly a TRD Big Brake Kit. This truck can go fast, but thankfully it can also stop quite quickly.

This truck is essentially the Mad Max of full-size pickups. The supercharger screams louder than a tween getting face-licked by a Jonas Brother. The truck is red because the exhaust note was tuned to sound like the Devil gargling his soul-flavored mouthwash. This truck is a beast, pure and simple.

There are other choices in the admittedly small sport-truck category. Everyone remembers the Ford Lightning. The Tundra could probably tow a Lightning while beating another Lightning down the strip. The other popular choice in this segment is the mighty Dodge Ram SRT-10. With power coming from a Viper, it is certainly a truck with serious muscle…and this Tundra will open-hand slap the Ram like a sheep. The Tundra TRD Supercharged  will hit 60 mph from a standstill in under 4.5 seconds. Car and Driver tested the truck a year ago and hit 13.5 in the quarter-mile.

How did I fare?

See for yourself:

My first ever run down the track and I am in the 100+ mph club. Not too shabby for a truck, eh? If I borrowed a set of slicks and learned how to launch, this Tundra would be in the 12’s, no question. The standard, regular cab 4×2 5.7L-equipped Tundra will set you back about $30,000. All the TRD go-fast goodies will add about $15,000+ to that total. It’s certainly a huge chunk of change but worth every penny for that feeling you get when you step on the gas. It’s not every day I get to watch a speedometer act like a tachometer.

I would like to thank Toyota for letting us have some fun with their beast of a truck, Will Novy for shooting video, his father Mark for snagging some great photos (slideshow below), and the two truck guys at the track who gave me advice. The only reason I beat that yellow Dakota in my first pass is because he missed a shift after the 1/8th mile. That truck has slicks, a supercharger, and a shot of nitrous – it typically runs in the 12’s.

Also, thanks to the Autoclub Dragway for putting on a professional and very well-run event.

One last note, the biker in the video did get up and walk away from that spill.

Update to pricing: The base price is $24,380 and with all the options plus the TRD equipment, the final tally is $45,656. Pretty good bang for the buck.

  • damnelantra™[!]

    guys. that was good.

  • Very cool story, Jeff. It looks like you had a decent amount of wheelspin.

    Also, I need to know what the story is with that camper van – it left pretty hard for…w ell… for a camper van.

    • Thanks!

      I skipped the water box at the urging of some of the regulars and had a fairly easy launch of my first and fastest run. On that last run with the 'Stang I punched it and spun the tires all the way through 2nd gear for my slowest run… i was pissed because the Mustangs time was slower than my fastest time,

      EDIT: Oh… and the Camper… I missed the run but I heard the time was surprising. I will try to find more about it if I can.

  • 35mm

    Disappointed in the lack of the exhaust sound in the video. Good video non the less.

    • Yeah… sorry about that one. We missed that part of the truck with the camera…

    • I would argue that if you're going to left the exhaust off Mr. Cash is the best way to do it.

  • Must. Get. Supercharger. For. Yoda.

    "It’s the 2008 Toyota Tundra TRD Supercharged, which produces 504 hp and 550 lb-ft of torque…"
    Those numbers made me so squishy I just about slid right off my chair. (Sorry for that visual everyone)

    Fantastic video, Jeff! Really liked how it was shot and the editing was great. Well done!

    • Thank you… You can drive the truck around town no problem, but you have INSTANT fun waiting with the gas pedal.

  • Now I see why you were asking about the street legals on Facebook. I am jealous. Beast of a truck.

  • Hey Jeff, I think its worth mentioning that all off the TRD go-fast parts are under the factory warranty. I read about this pickup on C&D and was surprised to find that out.

    • Did you also read that my 1/4 mile was faster than theirs?

      😉

      GREAT point though by the way…

      • I don't get caught up on trivial stuff like 1/4 mile times…

        But yeah, good job! I think we can put that in the Hooniverse column.

  • Great review dude. I'm kicking myself a little for not brining a video camera to the Historics now. I was already loaded down with two bodies, 3 standard lenses and a telephoto the size of the Hubble, but even so … next time I suppose.

    • Video DSLR, anyone? I'm seriously considering selling my D60 and getting a D5000.

      • Had I spent an extra $70 and gotten the newer version of my camera, it would've had a video capability. I rationalized the decision at the time but in retrospect it would've been REALLY nice to have. In any event I'm outgrowing the capabilities of this camera really quickly and I think I'll be getting something different as soon as I come into some cash. Lottery ticket time!!!

  • THAT is the excat reason why I sometimes long for coming back to the states for a while.
    You guys have some awesome cars and places and stuff that my young idiocy just deprived me from
    Great going jeff
    Get us that exaust note!

  • That's it, I'm heading to the closest drag strip soon (supposed to be rainy all weekend). I haven't been to the drags in too long.

  • Texan_Idiot25

    MOAR CAMPER VAN!

    Also, contract him for more videos, this was very well done. And you work well on camera.

    • haha, thanks… I made the whole thing up on the spot with only a re-take for the ending. When I come out after the first run and say the time I am actually shaking because I was so pumped. hahaha

    • haha, thanks… I made the whole thing up on the spot with only a re-take for the ending. When I come out after the first run and say the time I am actually shaking because I was so pumped. hahaha

  • Nice work!
    I'd love to know if the bug beat the Stang. It looked strong in the beginning.
    I'm too practical to ever own a beautiful beastie like this, but I wonder if I can convince any of my good friends to buy one and let me borrow it…a lot…Hmmm.

    • Will

      Yes it did. The Bug was super fast.

  • bill

    Love the song, Johnny Cash is always a good choice.

    The camper van had me dying! I could not stop laughing… my dad had the non-camper version of that van… memories and awesomeness.

    -still giggling

  • Like everyone's said, that's a very well-done video. But, $21K in options? Insanity.

    • Not if you're cross shopping a Porsche.

  • Good show gents! That was fun.

    Is it wrong that I chortled at motorcycle guy?

    • Nope… we did the same thing at the track.

      Will started laughing, then I started laughing and asked if he got the shot…he nodded.

  • I can imagine! My Tundra is the 5.7L – 381HP/401ft lb torque… and I thought that thing could go. Too bad you didn't have a sound clip of the exhaust 😉

  • A V8 Pinto going up against an El Camino? Stupendous. That Toyota must have been a blast to drive. Looked like a good time. Yeah, I wanna know more about the camper van, too. Did he have a full water tank for traction, plus holding tank? Was the fridge working?

    • YES!! Was he toting his own cold ones!! THIS MATTERS!!! (highfive for throwing that in at the end!)

      • Well, what else do you put in a camper van fridge?

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