With minivans continuing to be suffocated by the rise of SUVs, there must be something these people movers can do to get back at their enemies. Well, how about a dually truck conversion injecting some baddasery into a Toyota minivan?
The people mover sitting before us is a Toyota Alphard—while the US doesn’t get this model, things are the other way around with the Sienna, which isn’t availavble in the Land of the Rising Sun.
The minivan’s pickup transformation is handled by students over at the Nihon Automotive College in Japan, aka NATS (Nihon Automotive Technology School).
While learning the ways of automotive repair, these students come up with at least one eccentric build each year. And they’re almost done with what they call the Toyota Alphard Dually Super Truck. The project will make its debut at the upcoming Tokyo Auto Salon 2023 (January 13-15), which is kind of their favorite playground.
And now that we’re updating the story for 2023—with just one day to go before the event—we can show you the photos of the build’s final stage. As you’ll notice in the first three images of the gallery, the most important addition involves the rear overfenders, which sort of make this a Toyota truck with a stepside bed!
Plus, as expected, there’s just one rear wheels on each side, albeit with the uber-wide setup (more on this below) gifting the Alphard with the intended dually look. As for the all-American aroma, the Cali rear license plate comes to help in this department.
The project came out of the paint booth earlier this week. So the build photos and video below are as close to the final form—portrayed in a rendering—as possible.
Toyota doesn’t make a dually truck
The idea behind the work was to give the present incarnation of the Japanese people mover the type of treatment an American shop would introduce.
This explains the dually label—essentially an invented word, this is used to describe a pickup truck with dual rear wheels on each side, normally belonging to the heavy duty segment.
Well, while Toyota doesn’t offer any dually truck (the full-size Tundra is its largest pickup), this JDM contraption doesn’t look like it will actually feature two rear wheels on each side.
However, the desired visual effect will be achieved thanks to generous rear overfenders accomodating massive 20-inch Work Equip E10 wheels shod in 345/25 R20 rear tires, with 245/35ZR20 rubber up front. As for the extreme stance, this is owed to the air suspension, an Air Force Super Performance kit.
The Alphard’s dual cab pickup conversion includes a generous wheelbase extension. As for the truck parts, these involved an enlarged Hilux bed with a taller tailgate and a customized rear bumper.
Now, those wheels makes the stock brakes look tiny. Then again, this creation doesn’t come with that much firepower. The facelifted, third-generation Alphard used as a donor vehicle packs the base 2.5L four-cylinder, which makes 180 hp (182 PS) and is mated to an automatic transmission.
The new mirrors seem to have been lifted off a pickup truck, and if we look a bit further, we find fancy suicide rear doors. We can’t see the finished cabin yet, even though NATS will install a Diecock audio system. However, with those truck-like yellow lights above the windshield, it will be hard to focus on the cabin…
What is a Toyota Alphard and how does it compare to a Sienna?
The Alphard—currently in its third generation—is only slightly smaller than the Sienna, but this isn’t their greatest difference. You see, while the American Toyota minivan is targeted at families, the JDM offering is marketed as more of an executive/VIP shuttle choice.
Mechanically, the two share their base engine, a 2.5L four-cylinder naturally aspirated unit, which is also offered in a hybrid setup. However, while the Alphard can be had with an N/A 3.5L V6, the Sienna lost that engine when entering the current and fifth generation back in 2020.
The Sienna and Alphard come with FWD as standard, while AWD is optional. And while their base prices sit around the $35,000 mark, the gap is enormous at the top. So while a range-topping Sienna Platinum will set you back around $49,900, the Alphard Executive Lounge S kicks off at over $70,000.
And if you really wish to enjoy the ultimate opulence, you can take your Alphard to Toyota in-house tuner Modellista (have you seen their 2023 Prius aero kits?). The resulting Alphard Royal Lounge is a four-seater minivan costing around $150,000!
The Toyota Alphard Super Dually Truck is not for everybody
As with many NATS projects (how about their ND MX-5 Miata gone Cosmo rotary tribute?), the Alphard pickup truck isn’t exactly easy on the eyes. However, it certainly scores maximum points for originality, while it’s clear that the project took a serious amount of work.
And, to return to the SUV vs. Minivan battle in the intro, you may be seeking a custom people mover that sits higher rather than caressing the asphalt. Well, this Toyota Alphard overlander, which poses as its upmarket Lexus LM sibling, is a rig that caught our eye at this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon.