When you hear the name Rutledge Wood, you think of that funny, fast-driving, good-lookin’ guy from Top Gear USA.
And then you think about Rut. !Zing!
But for real. A car guy since forever, you could pretty safely say that Rut’s living the dream… proving that nice guys can still make it happen. Nascar, Top Gear USA, Lost in Transmission, and most recently, the Summer Olympics in Rio. There’s no question that Rut has been very lucky AND blessed… AND also probably very calculated & strategic along the way.
Because one thing I’ve always admired about Rut… is that he’s never allowed his career path to pigeon-hole him, or ‘niche’ him into any one type of car, style, or genre in the automotive community.
But rather, he’s used his career to get both feet wet in this world, and meet fellow car enthusiasts from literally ALL walks of life… in nearly every dark crevice of this globe.
That’s such a gift when you step back & analyze it.
Heck – I’ve been hanging with Rutledge at Sema, just briefly… and have seen every type of person from age 19 to 90 stop & say hi… and/or share an old story.
How do you measure success?? I don’t know for sure yet… but it’s something like that.
The point here is: When Rut starts a project car, he’s got sooooo many different influences & appreciations bouncing around in his head to pull from. So many different connections to the car culture. And so many different friends from different corners of the industry… all playing the role of the devil on his shoulder.
You may just end up with a lifted E30 BMW (check)… or a slammed diesel Jetta pick-up truck (check)… or even a thousand-hp 2JZ-powered Scion XB (check)???
We all love Gump’s momma for using box-of-chocolate similes. Well – Rut’s box of chocolates got all melted together somewhere along his journey. And it’s working.
Long story short – Rut was filming out on the West Coast & had a little time to kill, so he stopped in to see some buddies at TRD in Torrance, CA. The visit turned into a casual tour of the facility, and somewhere in the back of some room, Rut noticed a neglected & forgotten Tundra with Wilwoods peeking under a car cover.
Rut did what any car guy would rationally do, and asked what the deal was. Turns out, it was a supercharged Sema/Auto-Show build from circa-2008. It had made it’s rounds, served it’s PR purposes… and then somebody backed into something with it and damaged the bed. Hence – was just retired & collecting dust. Rut then made the follow-up maneuver for any car guy… and poked around to see if anyone was interested in letting it go. The truck had a VIN, so it was technically sellable. A deal was made, and Rut brought home another toy.
The truck hadn’t run in 8-years, so fuel lines & all fluids & hoses were freshened up. The battery was toast, so a newer/stronger Odyssey battery replaced it, and the truck fired right back to life. If that wasn’t ‘jackpot’ enough, the digital odometer (which hadn’t yet been illuminated without the battery) read 40-miles. Four-zero.
Brand spankin’ new… AND… factory supercharged!!!
Being that is was an official Sema build, the truck had a TRD supercharger on it. The TRD superchargers were built by Magnuson. Toyota/TRD no longer sells the superchargers so I’m told… but you can still get them (and replacement parts) directly from Magnuson – just FYI.
Carrying the supercharger torch mighty & proud, Rut went into Summit Racing for a highly recommended Auburn LSD. While he was there, he figured he’d maximize the forced induction greatness with a set of JBA long-tube headers. Later, after bodywork, the exhaust system was completed with a beautiful & beastly Magnaflow exhaust.
As mentioned, the bed & rear bumper were damaged upon purchase, and needed to be replaced, so Rut again pulled the car guy play, and went overboard.
He ordered a short bed from the new 4-door TRD PRO Tundra, and put it on the single cab 2-door chassis. He also ordered the new TRD PRO entire front end (grille/hood/fenders/bumper/headlights).
You can’t stop the dominos from falling once they start, so Rut went through hoops to take it even further with a Honey D wide body kit. This is essentially a Rocket Bunny kit, designed by Kei Miura, and sold/branded in the states by Honey D. But also sometimes available, if necessary, directly from Japan through the backdoor of Greddy. This stuff can be tough to track down, but sometimes you’ve just gotta overnight parts from Japan – buster.
The wheels are a set of Fuel 20×12 -44 squared. And the tire choice is battle ready – with a 33” General Grabber ALL-TERRAIN setup on a SPORT-PERFORMANCE truck, giving this kitten some serious claws.
For the suspension setup, Rut went back into Summit, and got a McGaughy’s lowering kit, new Bilstein shocks, and SPC control arms. In this case, there was no need for complicated air suspension, or even adjustable coilover suspensions… since there is enough all-terrain beefy tire to fill the gaps.
So if you just skipped to the end, what we’re basically looking at here, is a post-dated 2008 Tundra. —> Now in the form of a supercharged 5.7, single-cab, short-bed, widebody, 2016+ TRD PRO… on 33” all-terrains… wrapped in an appropriate 3M Gloss Lemon Sting green. Or as I call it – Gatorade.