Spied! Toyota Tundra Paint Mules


Photos by Brian Williams for Brenda Priddy & Company

We don’t expect the Toyota Tundra to be for a few more years, but apparently that’s not stopping Toyota from testing new paint colors for its full-size pickup.

We’re calling the two trucks you see in these photos "paint mules" because it looks like they’re testing several new coatings. Each lengthwise half of both trucks is painted a different color.

The first truck (a 2010-2011 Tundra) sports two shades of brown. The left side is a rich, golden brown while the right side is lighter and more of a beige brown that’s similar to the Pyrite Mica color available today.

The second truck (a 2007-2009 Tundra) is painted a unique charcoal-like black on the left side and a strong shade of blue on the right that’s similar to Nautical Blue Metallic for the 2011 Tundra.

By painting the trucks this way, Toyota execs can get a sense of what the Tundra will look like in natural light without having to paint four trucks.

But it’s probably not a sense of style that’s directing this change. The devastating earthquake that struck Japan in March heavily damaged several factories that supply paint pigments to automakers around the world. That means some colors are now no longer available or in extremely limited supply. Ford, for example, for cars and trucks colored in metallic tuxedo black and a palette of metallic reds. That leaves many manufacturers scrambling to find new sources of pigment, which is probably what’s driving the change in Tundra’s color palette.

For what it’s worth, we’re fans of the golden brown color.


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