The Renoca Windansea is the first product from FLEX Automotive for American buyers.
Tokyo-based FLEX Automotive has introduced its first-ever pickup truck developed specifically for the US. Called the Renoca Windansea, the truck may look like something out of the 20th century with its outright workhorse appeal, but it is based on the third-generation Toyota Tacoma.
For the uninitiated, FLEX Automotive offers retrofitted cars based on the Toyota Land Cruiser and Hilux. The latter isn't sold in the US due to high tariffs on light trucks built outside the country - a.k.a. the Chicken Tax - leaving us with the Tacoma since 1995. This explains why FLEX Automotive has decided to build a US-exclusive model with the Windansea.
The mastermind behind the neo-classic styling is designer Takayuki Yamazaki. He envisioned the Windansea as "a Japanese-style neo-classic massive pickup truck that combines beauty and strength, conveying a design that melds outdoor experience with city life."
The body matches the truck's classic look with boxy design cues. The good old round headlights also complement the classic style, flanking the horizontally slatted grille with the "Toyota" badge in the middle. Options include bed racks, lift kits, side step/slider bars, lights, rearview cameras, and wheels and tires.
Meanwhile, the interior has options such as dashboard covers, reupholstered seats, sound system upgrades, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and WeatherTech floor mats.
The outward appearance may look old-school, but the truck has a new soul with a V6 good for 277 horsepower and 264 lb-ft of torque. It is connected to a six-speed automatic transmission. This is the same one found in the current-gen Tacoma, which should be succeeded by the fourth-gen iteration later this year.
FLEX Automotive offers the Renoca Windansea with a starting price of $52,800. The Japanese retrofitter recently started its US operations, with a showroom in San Diego soon to open.
"When the opening of our U.S. headquarters in San Diego was confirmed, we decided that a first Renoca series must be developed solely for the American market," explained Yohei Nakamura, Director of U.S. operations.
"Since we had our signature lineup of Renoca Land Cruisers that takes inspiration from the iconic 60 series, our initial thought was to create a 60 series-inspired truck. Considering that the third generation Tacoma would be a newer vehicle when compared with those we have typically developed, we opted for a chiseled front-end, as opposed to a 60 series classic flat face. With these recommendations, Mr. Yamasaki created a unique Renoca that we are excited to debut in America."
Joining the Renoca Windansea in the US lineup are the Renoca Phoenix, Renoca 106, and Renoca Wonder - all of which are based on a classic Toyota Land Cruiser.