The bright-yellow F-150 emblazoned with TONKA logos at the Chicago Auto Show was hard to miss, even though it was wedged behind Ford's main display in the commercial truck section. The style's not for everybody, but the build quality was impressive.
The truck's made by a company called Tuscany, which has been building things like conversion vans, special shuttle busses, and specialty trucks since 1988. They're also an official Ford Quality Vehicle Modifier, and the TONKA is sold through Ford dealerships.
"Our sales guys go around to Ford dealers and sell them on the truck, then the dealer sets the price for the consumer."
That price is substantial; the MSRP on the example 2014 F-150 parked at Chicago was $50,078... before Tuscany's modifications, which were listed at $22,282. Some-75 grand sounded pretty ambitious for a body-kitted F-150 to me, but Tuscany President Mike Graber only aims to sell 500 TONKAs in 2014 and he said they'll move just fine.
"We started with 200 last year, and sold them in a couple weeks. We'll have no problem selling 500 in a year."
I guess in the world of officially licensed, premium build-quality, life-sized TONKA toys, he's got the market cornered.
Whether or not this is the big boy toy you need in your life, I gotta admit Tuscany did a nice job putting it together. The cladding, headrest embroidery, and badges are, well, really nice. There are no engine modifications, but a noisier rear-exist exhaust is fitted and ProComp shocks raise the rig up a couple inches.
Graber said he'd have us out to Detroit to get some time behind the wheel, so with any luck we'll be able to get you some driving impressions of the TONKA soon.
They do two other restyle packages, an "FTX" and a "Black Ops." They look like this, in different colors.
Images: Brian Williams