2003 Toyota Tundra T3
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by Tony Whitney

It’s shaping up to be a great summer for interesting new vehicles starring in movies. First we had the new Mazda RX-8 making an all-to-brief appearance in “X-Men Two,” which was filmed in British Columbia. Then two new Cadillacs – CTS and Escalade EXT – made an appearance in the “Matrix” sequel; the “Italian Job” remake included major roles for the new Mini; and “Legally Blonde 2” features a special powder blue Audi TT. Now Toyota is getting in on the act (literally!) with its Tundra pickups in “Terminator 3.”

While all the automakers involved in these movies have used the opportunity for some extra publicity, only Toyota has come up with a “special edition” model to mark the event – but you’ll have to be quick to get your hands on one of these. Toyota is offering a limited number of Tundra “Terminator 3” Special Edition trucks and they’re just like the ones created for
the movie. If you want a truck similar to the one in which the futuristic cyborg chases the bad guys in the film, you’ll have to get in line for one of just 200 of these beauties.

2003 Toyota Tundra T3
The special edition Terminator 3 Tundra graces the red carpet with some of the robots from the film. Click image to enlarge

You’ll recognize a T3 Tundra by its dramatic monochrome black exterior paint job and unique grille with offset “T3” identification. The truck features a Borla dual exhaust system, metal dash accents, special T3 decals and 17-inch titanium painted alloy wheels.

“The exclusivity of the Tundra Terminator 3 Special Edition comes from its limited production, not its price ($40,800),” says Tony Wearing, group vice president of Toyota Canada Inc. “Virtually any truck buyer can afford to own the fantasy. Even better, they’re not just getting a vanity vehicle. Under the fantastic image is a rugged, hard-working truck that gets the job done.”

2003 Toyota Tundra T3
Behind the wheel of the Tundra T3 Special Edition is Nick Stahl (“John Connor”) in one of the movie’s most exciting chase scenes. Click image to enlarge

Power for the T3 comes from Toyota’s i-Force 4.7-litre V-8 engine with sequential multi-port electronic fuel injection, direct ignition, a split port/plenum induction system and Toyota’s advanced electronic throttle control system. Tundra boasts the first 32-valve, double overhead camshaft V8 ever offered in a full-size pickup. This type of powerplant has normally been found only in luxury sedans or high-end SUV’s. On tap is 245 horsepower at 4,800 rpm and 315 lb/ft of torque at 3,400 rpm. On the T3 Tundra, the Borla exhaust adds 10 horsepower and 10 lb/ft of torque, so it must be something of a tuner’s triumph. The 4WD system has shift-on-the-fly capability, thanks to Toyota’s Automatic Disconnecting Differential (ADD).

The interior is comfortable and practical and buyers get Toyota’s industry-standard fit and finish. Standard is a 6-speaker audio system with AM/FM radio and 6-disc in-dash CD changer. It’s good to see automakers getting away from those separate CD units that required the driver to load up a magazine in some remote area of the vehicle. In-dash changers are far more practical. Air conditioning, full carpeting and cruise control are also part of the T3 spec.

These exciting new Tundras won’t last long at the dealerships, but you can always opt for a “standard” Tundra with a black paint job if the T3s have all gone by the time you get there. And I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see owners of existing Tundras seeking out those Borla exhaust systems to add even more pep to an already excellent V8.

The only question that remains to be answered is: “Will Arnold swap his trademark Hummer for a T3?” Only time will tell.

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