• 2018 Toyota Camry XSE Denny Hamlin

    2018 Toyota Camry XSE Denny Hamlin
  • GMP Performance wide body kit
  • Paintwork by Mason McClure
  • 20-inch American Racing custom forged wheels
  • Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires
  • Recaro racing seats
  • Schroth four-point harnesses
  • TRD stainless steel exhaust system
  • Tein coilover system
  • AEM cold air intake
  • StopTech Big Brake kit

2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Rookie of the Year can work on the side in the aftermarket scene

The Toyota Camry is a lot of things. Flashy isn’t one of those things. That’s the usual narrative surrounding America’s top-selling model, but just because the Camry has been pigeon-holed as a certain type of car, that doesn’t mean that it can’t spread its wings every so often and break out of its own house, especially when you get someone like Denny Hamlin involved. The 36-year old NASCAR racer may drive a race-spec Toyota Camry in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, but at the invitation of Toyota, Hamlin’s trading in his race overalls for a chance to design his own custom Toyota Camry. The result is this stand out piece of work.

Hamlin’s Camry may not be the quintessential Camry upgrade, but it looks the part of one. It has a wide range of custom features, ranging from fancy graphics, shiny wheels, and a wide-body conversion. And, those are just on the exterior of the sedan. Instead, Hamlin’s influence is clearly evident, particularly in the choice of colors the 2016 Daytona 500 winner picked to stamp his personalized touches on the four-door ride. All told, the Hamlin-designed Camry makes up one of the handful of custom-tuned Camrys that are on display at the 2017 SEMA Auto Show. It may not have the visual presence that Rutledge Wood’s Camry has, but it certainly qualifies as the most dynamic build among all the Camrys that were designed by Hamlin’s peers. At the very least, it’s the one that I’d like to have for myself.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Toyota Camry XSE Denny Hamlin

What makes the Toyota Camry XSE Denny Hamlin special

  • GMP Performance wide body kit
  • Paintwork by Mason McClure
  • 20-inch American Racing custom forged wheels
  • Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires
  • Recaro racing seats
  • Schroth four-point harnesses
  • StopTech Big Brake kit
  • JBL sound system
  • TRD stainless steel exhaust system
  • Tein coilover system
  • AEM cold air intake
  • K&N filter
2018 Toyota Camry XSE Denny Hamlin Exterior
- image 741850
Paintwork by Mason McClure
The paintwork itself was applied by Mason McClure, and it covers the entirety of the sedan

If you’re looking for your Camry to get clean upgrades that also enhance its sporting qualities, Denny Hamlin’s custom-built Camry is a good one to post on your Pinterest board. It’s dressed up largely in white, which is fine on its own, but it’s the red and black racing lines and graphics that bring out its sporty character. Is it a surprise that Hamlin’s choice of colors also happens to be his signature shades? No shock, right? The paintwork itself was applied by Mason McClure, and it covers the entirety of the sedan, including the components that came from the widebody conversion kit supplied by GMP Performance.

Chief of these components are there three-inch fender flares that not only make for a stouter-looking sedan but also one that can sit on a set of larger-than-usual 20-inch custom-forged wheels from American Racing that happen to be finished in a flamboyant metallic red finish. The wheels themselves are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, measuring 285/30R20 in the front and rear. Just behind the wheels are is a StopTech Big Brake kit, which itself includes two-piece drilled AeroForm rotors.

2018 Toyota Camry XSE Denny Hamlin Interior
- image 741854
Schroth four-point harnesses
The standard seats were replaced with Recaro buckets and dressed in black and red leather

Now let’s move to the interior. At this point, I can’t make up my mind on whether I prefer Rutledge Wood’s baseball glove leather interior or Hamlin’s red-and-black treatment. Either way, I don’t think there’s a wrong decision because both look incredible. For his part, Hamlin opted to take out the sedan’s standard seats, replace them with Recaro buckets, and then proceed to dress them all up in black and red leather. It’s another nod to his signature colors and one that’s a welcome sight in a cabin that also features white four-point harnesses from Schroth. Custom harness bars and a completely new sound system from JBL complete the Camry’s interior aftermarket build.

Powering Hamlin’s Toyota Camry build is a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that produces 280 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. It’s nowhere near as powerful as his NASCAR racer, but it does get a host of engine upgrades, including a new cold air intake and a tuned stainless steel exhaust system from TRD. On the suspension end, a Tein coilover system has been set up to help improve the Camry’s ride and drivability.

2018 Toyota Camry XSE Denny Hamlin Exterior
- image 741857
AEM cold air intake
The finished product looks awesome

The finished product looks awesome, which is a bit surprising because I didn’t Denny Hamlin had it in him to create something as visually pleasing as how this Camry turned out to be. But I guess I was wrong assuming as much because I’m pressed with how this build turned out.

The finished product looks awesome, which is a bit surprising because I didn’t think Denny Hamlin had it in him to create something as visually pleasing as how this Camry turned out to be. But I guess I was wrong assuming as much because I’m impressed with how this build turned out. Then again, Hamlin did say that he wanted his build to be tasteful and refined while also "racy enough" to have a good go at it at the Virginia International Raceway. If that were his objective, I’d say job well done, Denny Hamlin.

References

Toyota Camry

2018 Toyota Camry
- image 703838

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

Debuting at Toyota’s 2017 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show display, Denny Hamlin’s 2018 Camry SEMA project car that can run hot laps at the track and then drive to a special night on the town.

“The all-new 2018 Camry was built to offer the best of both worlds: aggressive style and performance, with the refined reliability that Camry has become known for,” said Steve Curtis, vice president of media and engagement marketing of Toyota Division Marketing, Toyota Motor North America. “Denny’s Camry scores big on both points.”

“The first question the builder asked me, since this is a SEMA build and there are other drivers involved, was whether this was a competition,” said Hamlin. “My response was simple: It’s always a competition.”

To help with the build, Hamlin called on Stephen Klitzsch of GMP Performance in Charlotte, North Carolina. The pair aimed to capitalize on the all-new model’s duality of nature.

“Denny wanted something that stood out in a tasteful way,” Klitzsch said. “He wanted to do something that felt race-ready yet classy; something he can take around Virginia International Raceway. So we knew the direction had to include it be suitable for the track.”

An upgraded wheel/tire package with 20x10-inch American Racing wheels and 275-width tires adds roughly three inches to either side. The wheels were forged specifically for this build and were polished to a bright chrome-like finish, then coated with racy Candy Apple Red paint.

The Camry sports fender flares re-formed to fit the all-new 2018 body lines. Performance mods include an AEM intake and exhaust, and a Tein coil-over suspension. Massive StopTech brakes mount behind the custom wheels to give it stopping power to begin to rival Hamlin’s NASCAR sled.

The interior remains comfortable enough to be suitable for street driving, but the racing influence can’t be overlooked. A set of Recaro racing buckets with four-point harnesses hold the driver and a lucky passenger. The seats were re-upholstered in smooth leather to retain the all-new 2018 Camry’s refined look and feel.

Denny Hamlin’s Custom 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, October 31 to November 3, 2017.

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Press release
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