Toyota has unleashed its inner-child to create a real-life Tonka truck.

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The Japanese brand has converted one of its HiLux utes into a big, yellow, go-anywhere off-roader to celebrate the popularity of the dual-cab workhorse and celebrate Tonka’s 70th anniversary.

The Tonka HiLux also serves a serious purpose, highlighting Toyota’s investment in its 150-strong product planning and development division that is still active in Australia despite the impending closure of its manufacturing facilities.

Australian product design chief Nicolas Hogios was in charge of the project and explained it was about showing the brand’s fun side.

“We have taken Tonka out of the sand pit and reinvented HiLux from top to bottom and from nose to tail,” Hogios explained.

“Inspired by the Tonka trucks that kids play with in their backyards, the HiLux Tonka Concept goes way beyond the already hugely capable abilities of HiLux to traverse rocks and other rugged terrain.

“The HiLux Tonka Concept is dramatic evidence that our local team loves to have fun, we’re keen to explore new ideas and we’re always looking to push the boundaries of what’s possible,” he said.

The design team have not only made it look like a Tonka toy with its yellow paint scheme and chunky tyres but have also improved its off-road capabilities with some serious special additions and accessories.

Starting with a standard HiLux SR5 the team added modified bodywork including a new front bumper, grille and carbon-wrapped bonnet with “power bulge” to give it a Tonka look. The ride height was raised by 150mm for better ground clearance and a high-riding axle, heavy duty suspension and 35-inch tyres were also added to help make it a serious rock crawler.

Underneath the front end is a 6mm thick alloy bash plate designed to protect the 2.8-litre turbo diesel engine, especially its oil sump. There are also side rails to protect the body.

Completing the front end changes is a roof-mounted LED light bar housed with a roof pod along with a snorkel for water crossings.

At the back Toyota has added a new carbon-wrapped tailgate that incorporates a spoiler and a pair of vents for improved airflow.

The tray features a removable framework that can store the spare wheel, fuel cans, a fire extinguisher, axe, shovel and jack as well as additional storage boxes.

Unfortunately for all those adults wishing to buy their childhood dream car the HiLux Tonka is strictly a concept with the brand adamant there are no plans to put it into production.

Instead it will go on a tour of the country at various four-wheel drive shows and other events.

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