Former Top Gear USA presenter gets a crack at customizing America’s top-selling model

Racing analyst and former Top Gear USA presenter Rutledge Wood is known for his affinity with plaid T-shirts. He’s also known for having a deep-seated passion for the automotive industry. So, when Toyota was looking for individuals to take the lead in building custom Toyota Camrys for the 2017 SEMA Auto Show, Wood’s name inevitably turned up. So Toyota tapped him to work on his own custom version of the Camry, and the result is a car that reflects the man’s boisterous personality.

I’m not one to pass judgment on something I know little about at this point, but I can tell all of you that Wood’s work on the Camry is the most impactful of the bunch. It’s certainly the most colorful of all the custom Camry’s we’re seeing at SEMA, and the story and the process behind its creation involves the use of certain techniques that you can expect from someone like Rutledge Wood. He may be the only non-NASCAR driver to get a chance at customizing a Camry for this year’s SEMA, but all told, Wood vindicates Toyota’s decision to tap him with a creation that has as much going for it as some of the Camrys that were customized by actual NASCAR racers.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Toyota Camry by Rutledge Wood

What makes the Toyota Camry Rutledge special

  • ”Blurple” paint finish
  • 3D-printed body panels
  • 20-piece body kit
  • 20-inch Rose Gold Rotiform wheels
  • Continental ExtremeContact tires
  • Baseball glove leather interior
  • Focal sound system
  • Megan Racing suspension kit
  • Wilwood Dynalite brakes
  • Custom floor mats with cartoon caricature of Rutledge Wood

Not a NASCAR racer? Not a problem

2018 Toyota Camry Rutledge Wood Exterior
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”Blurple” paint finish
The car’s exterior certainly looks at home at SEMA

So what if Rutledge Wood isn’t a NASCAR driver? I get it that all other custom-built Camrys at SEMA came at the hands of guys like Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Daniel Suarez, and Kyle Busch, but when it comes to building a SEMA-worthy Camry, you don’t need a racing license to get the job done. And for what it’s worth, Wood’s Camry is, in my opinion, the flashiest of the lot, owing to its aerospace inspiration. The car’s exterior certainly looks at home at SEMA, thanks in large part to eye-catching aftermarket body panels that were created through the process of 3D printing by Real-Time Automotive Solutions. The result is that a lot of the significant body panels of the Camry are now 3D-printed, including the hood, front and rear bumpers, rocker panels, headlight buckets, and the rear diffuser.

2018 Toyota Camry Rutledge Wood Exterior
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There’s also a new set of 20-inch three-piece custom Rose Gold wheels from Rotiform

In addition to getting these panels literally recreated, Wood’s build also features a 20-piece custom widebody kit with most of the items located in the Camry’s quarter sections. There’s also a new set of 20-inch three-piece custom Rose Gold wheels from Rotiform, all of which are wrapped in Continental ExtremeContact tires measuring 275/30R20 in the front and 285/30R20 at the back. All these modifications on the exterior make way for one of the real showcase pieces of this particular Camry build. Officially, the paint finish on the Camry is called “Blurple.” It’s easy to see, though, that it’s some kind of mix of blue and purple. Wood sought the help of PPG and Crew to create this paint cocktail, and the result is striking, to say the least.

Batter up in the cabin!

2018 Toyota Camry Rutledge Wood Interior
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Baseball glove leather interior
The interior gets re-upholstered with a baseball glove-like leather treatment

Just as the body of this Camry is flashy, so too is the interior. Personally, I don’t know if Wood was inspired by this incredible World Series, but it does look that way with the interior getting re-upholstered with a baseball glove-like leather treatment, complete with contrast stitching. Photos of the Camry’s interior show significant use of the leather as most of the cabin’s surface is covered in the material. Less conspicuous from a visual standpoint is the Focal sound system, though if you look closely, you will notice that the floor mats actually feature a cartoon caricature of Wood and his glorious flowing beard.

No engine upgrades, but no matter...

2018 Toyota Camry Rutledge Wood Exterior
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3D-printed body panels
Expect the Rutledge Wood Toyota Camry to feature any one of the sedan’s engine options

There are no engine upgrades to speak of here so at the very least, expect the Rutledge Wood Toyota Camry to feature any one of the sedan’s engine options. The base engine is a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder that spits out 178 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. The other gas-powered engine option is a 3.5-liter six-cylinder that produces 280 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Regardless of which engine is sitting underneath that Blurple hood, the program does include a new suspension kit from Megan Racing and new brakes from Wilwood Dynalite.

Overall, this is a Toyota Camry build that actually looks a lot better than what I expected. It may not have the NASCAR racer DNA that other Camrys have, but Wood did well for himself by not only giving the Camry a unique and personable look but also by doing it through processes that we don’t get to see enough in the aftermarket scene.


Toyota Camry

2018 Toyota Camry
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Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota Camry.

2017 SEMA Show – Preview
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Read more news on the 2017 SEMA Show.

Press release

The Toyota Camry has been on the road since 1983, but the road has never seen a Camry like this one. With numerous body panels formed using state-of-the-art 3D-printing technology and an aggressively lowered stance, Rutledge Wood’s extreme Camry makes its debut at Toyota’s 2017 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show display.

“Since Rutledge has been such an integral part of the Toyota SEMA machine over the last few years, we decided to let him build his own custom Camry alongside our top NASCAR drivers,” said Steve Curtis, vice president of media and engagement marketing for Toyota Motor North America.

“I was pretty fired up to do my own custom Camry build with the NASCAR guys,” Wood said. “It’s not every day you get to enter a custom build competition with a race-car driver, much less four of them.”

Wood teamed with Rick Leos, a seasoned hot-rodder and car builder who has customized everything from tricycles to Tonka trucks while racking up numerous awards along the way. Leos has partnered with Toyota on SEMA builds in the past, most recently the company’s Learjet-inspired Extreme Sienna. His approach to this build takes a page out of the aerospace industry’s playbook.

“We’ve entered a new era of custom cars where not only can you design your vehicle on a computer, but you can also print out the exact parts in one piece,” Leos said.

The 3D Camry’s hood, front and rear bumpers, rear diffuser, rocker panels and headlight buckets were fabricated using 3D-printing technology and the use of composite materials, producing a unique custom look. The Camry also features a mean-looking, wide body stance and a Megan Racing custom suspension that lowers it over staggered 20-inch forged Rotiform wheels.

A custom MagnaFlow exhaust was installed, giving the Camry’s V6 a mean, throaty voice at full throttle but remaining incredibly quiet at idle. To complement the sedan’s stom-printed panels and performance-oriented stance, the Camry’s body has been draped in a never-before-seen color. A custom metallic mix of pearlescent blue and purple, Leos and Wood code-named the hue “Blurple.”

The interior has been dressed up in supple “baseball glove” leather on the seats, door panels and steering wheel. Custom floor mats were also added featuring Rutledge Wood’s likeness stitched into them.

The 3D Camry —along with numerous other Toyota specialty vehicles—can be found in the Toyota display booth (#24800) in Central Hall and on the Patio Annex of the Las Vegas Convention Center, Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 2017.

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