Terminator 3 Toyota Tundra Special Edition

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It is certainly not unusual for companies to produce movie tie-in products in order to help promote a film. Not only is it good marketing to movie fans, but it also capitalizes on the hype that surrounds the movie. What is a bit out of the ordinary is for a car company to make a special edition vehicle for a movie that isn’t about cars whatsoever. The logic behind automobile placements in car movies – such as the “Smokey and the Bandit edition Pontiac Trans Am – is fairly clear, but it takes a real movie buff to spot the connection between the 2003 Terminator 3 Tundra and an unstoppable cyborg.

The Toyota Tundra Terminator edition promotion.

The Toyota Tundra Terminator edition promotion.

Ready for the connection? The Tundra pickup truck was featured in a rather lengthy and spectacular car chase in Terminator 3 involving Arnold Schwarzenegger’s killer robot from the future and the Terminator X. While most of the eyes in the theater were probably on the action itself (and/or the TerminatriX), the truck driven by the escaping main characters was a Tundra (buried underneath a homemade cargo box and covered with ten different layers of dust and dirt).

The Tundra takes a real beating during the scene, yet it still manages to whisk the movie’s heroes to safety. The message: Toyota’s dedication to quality and toughness is good enough for “da tear-men-8-tor.”

In real life, Toyota produced a Terminator 3 Tundra as a special option package. It was available only in a monochromatic black paint job, with no chrome or stainless steel allowed. A special grille bearing a T3 identifier also helped to set the vehicle apart from other Tundras, as did T3 decals and unique rims. Inside the truck, metal accents replaced the standard Toyota trappings.

The Special Edition "T3" Toyota Tundra

The Special Edition "T3" Toyota Tundra

In terms of performance, the 2003 Toyota Tundra Terminator 3 Special Edition featured only subtle changes. The only real modification made to the drive train was the addition of a TRD dual exhaust system, which might not have added much grunt (about 10 horsepower and 10 lb-ft of torque) but it certainly did sweeten the soundtrack to this V8-powered pickup.

Not many of these T3 Tundras were built, and as a result they are a rare sight on America’s roads. The film itself was not a huge success (at least not by Hollywood standards), which caused the T3 Tundra to fade into obscurity as soon as the movie left theaters. Most people who encounter this special edition Tundra merely assume that its all-black motif and sticker package are the result of personal customization, not the product of Toyota’s marketing department. This makes the T3 Tundra one of the more interesting and possibly collectible movie vehicles built in the past few years.

While it might not have the star power of a mustache-twirling Burt Reynolds at the wheel (and the surprisingly unattractive Sally Fields riding shotgun), it does have scarcity on its side, and in a few decades it could achieve the same type of cult status the original Terminator film has enjoyed in the years since its release.

That is, unless the machines take over and destroy mankind. Keep your fingers crossed.

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  1. Ben says:

    hell yeah it still looks good!!! it’s a 1gen… they ALL look good!!!

  2. Mickey says:

    I agree with the unattractive Sally Fields.

  3. mk says:

    Not much more popular or rare than the almightly 1996 caprice classic all black SS. I actually wish I would have purchased that instead of the S-10 2WD ext. cab pickup that year, but at the time, the S-10 was a few grand cheaper than the SS caprice classic with rocket 350 V8 motor. Gas mileage would’ve been about the same with the S-10 getting only a few more mpg. I never even heard of the T3 truck back then so it couldn’t have been too popular or special at all, looks are not that great either in my opinion.

  4. Mickey says:

    I agree mk wasn’t that popular. I never heard of it.

  5. Jeremy the Sarcastic says:

    As a car guy the scene with the tundra was iconic. It is the definative “Beat to hell” scene. The truck gets crushed to scrap and is still running like a bat out of hell. GREAT movie moment.

    Here it is:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dqC2bOQ0M4

  6. Jeremy the Sarcastic says:

    Oh look, Im under moderation!!! YAY!

  7. mk says:

    I like this website much better than the other tundra website forum I got banned from for offering my opinion and NOT offending anyone. It seems a lot more people agree with my comments here. Keep up the good work and articles/forums Jason and all else involved.

  8. mk – Thanks for the kind words – tell your friends!

  9. Gary says:

    The info on this truck is wrong I think. How do I know because I have one . Bought the T 3 new in 2003 it is 2wd Green from the factory, says T3 on the front an decals on back fenders that says T3 Terminator. It came with TRD super charger, LSD rear end and duel TRD exhaust the dealer installed the supper charger at the dealership before I bought it. I purchased a performance chip for it and cold ram air with electric fans . Put it on a chaise Dyno it runs out at 310 bhp plus on the rear wheels. Runs like a Raped Ape but it still gets 20MPG if you keep you foot out of the supper charge if you do not then about 16 to 17 . Have put 53,000 miles on it never been in shop. In all the years and miles I have traveled around the U.S. only seen one other. So I guess when I go to sell it should bring good price I hope , any body interested ? Thanks for reading

  10. Gary – Thanks! We had to put this together from what little info we could find…good to know it came in green. Try eBay – sometimes trucks like this do best on a national basis.

  11. Jeremy the Dark Dork says:

    What animal is bad enough to rape an ape AND who is brave enough to be standing close enough to see it run after? Any animal bad enough to rape and ape is bad enough to make you desert. NO THANK YOU. Ha ha ha hah

  12. Gary says:

    Admin( Jason )- Thanks for you nice reply. Some where on the net I just wish I could remember where I read they made 850 T3. 250 went to Canada with a placard on the dash saying something about being a Canada model or something the other 600 stayed in the U.S.After I got the truck I had the parts people try to get me replacement decals just in case they got damaged. Two times they called the factory and were told they did not make any replacement for the T3 decals. In the six years I have owned the truck have only read of two for sale one in UT and one in TX both were green . Have seen only one on the road in all these years while eating lunch in Moab UT it was a 4X4 Black . I do know insurance is higher on the T3 when I called they said a regular Tundra was so much but when I told them it was a T3 they said it was more. Well that is all I know about T3 , hope this helps some one.

  13. Dave says:

    Pretty timley for me! I have been needing to sell my T3 to get a 4wdrive truck and no one can give me a price value other than a regular Tundra. Mine is black and has the extra cab,leather, all elect, 2wd, auto with overdrive. I can tell you these are fun “trucks”. They are geared low and pull away like you cant believe. You have to be lite on the pedal in the rain! Like the other poster i have over 63,000 and never a problem. Until finding a value! Nice website. Thanks dave

  14. Dave – Thanks for the compliment and thanks for commenting. Good luck on the sale.

  15. Gary – If you’ve got the original sticker still and you feel like scanning it and emailing me a copy, that would be super (I’ll black out the VIN and add it to this post). admin[at]tundraheadquarters.com. If not, thanks for the comments. Someday in the future someone might really appreciate knowing the whole story! :-)

  16. ron says:

    I work with a guy who bought the T3 tundra (black) and it has over 300,000 miles on it and still runs great, when talking to him about the truck, he said he had not even seen terminator 3, he just liked the way the truck looked so he bought it.

  17. Jason says:

    ron – Funny. It’s like the old ‘barn find’ story – people don’t know what they have sometimes.

    Thanks for commenting.

  18. Dave E says:

    Put my truck up for sale on ebay finally, not much interest. I want to get 12,500 for it.63K miles. I guess the value is determined by who wants one. so far just dealers who want me to give it away.

  19. Jason says:

    Dave E – Good luck man!

  20. Mike says:

    Dave E – I have the black T3 like yours except mine has 155K. Still love it, just wondering if you have sold yours. I’m just curious.

  21. Mike says:

    I bought mine in Northern CA. I have seen 3 or 4 around the Sacramento area. One was at a used car lot. I love mine and have had no problems with it.

  22. Dave E says:

    Hey Mike, i put it on fleabay twice and got a 10K bid but for that i will just keep it. Would like to get 12,500. but not happening right now. My issue is its a great truck just needed a 4 wheel drive and one that could pull a trailer. Ended up with an 03 gmc 2500 4×4.

  23. Jesus says:

    Hi my name is Jesus. I think the tundras alone are awsome. The fact that you can get a T3 is just frosting on the cake. I was wondering though if they are avaliable in 4×4 and the avarage price?

  24. Darwin says:

    My father bought the T3 when it hit the lot in ’03. When he passed in ’09 I inheirited it. I absolutely love this truck. It has 60,000 miles on it and still runs great. Great power and a head jerking off the line jump. I am ditching the ’07 Grand Cherokee to keep the T3.

  25. Jason (Admin) says:

    Darwin – Sorry that you had to inherit your T3, but I’m glad to hear you like it so much.

  26. damo says:

    This is for Dave e . I carnt see why anyone carnt pull a trailer with a t3 ? I’ve seen them with tow packages .I’m in ky and I’ve seen one on lot for 9000 with 118ks it drove good and was pretty peppy this truck had a fith wheel and reg tow as well

  27. dave e says:

    I am sure a T3 could tow, its geared low and has the power but i woud never subject the T3 to what i have been doing with the 4×4 with the 8’bed hauling firewood and 3 tons of rock on a 2 axle trailor up the hills lol. I drove the Terminator the other day and it is a FUN truck, just not really a truck you would want to treat like a worker.

  28. Stellar says:

    Just wrote off my T3 Special Edition, Liked it so much that I am looking for another one. That Baby has Jam, and lots of it! We did tow with ours, boat, quads, sleds. MK, lets not even talk about the crappy s 10 when discussing the incredible T3, lol.

  29. mark says:

    My friend is selling one right now with 121000 km on it, it was his wifes truck and in MINT condition

  30. jamie says:

    mark where is this truck being sold and and what is the going price?

  31. tiajada says:

    where can i find a t3 grill

  32. SLATER2099 says:

    I purchased a new Black T3 in Houston Texas in August 2003….The T3 was considered a Limited Edition since it had many Limited standard features such as power seats and 17 inch wheels. The T3 had the first true black leather (Dash,Seats, Doors) in a Tundra and also one of the few Tundras with leather rivets…My new T3 came with Tokico Shocks, TRD exhaust, T3 grill ,T3 Decal badging. and new polished silver/dark gray plastic dash and door inserts…..The wheels were 17′ but had the charcoal stain similar to the Toyota Sequoia Limited 17’s..The only T3 colors available were Jade Green and Black…..I sold my T3 in 07 with over 90K…in 01/2009 I decided that selling my T3 was a mistake….I started a search to buy one and found 0 for sale. Finally 90 Days later I found one for sale with only 33,000 miles on it in Seattle WA…I jumped on a SWA flight from Houston to Seattle to buy it.. I bought my second Black T3 and drove 3500 miles back to Houston Tx….I still own it today…..Earlier post on this board our wrong…..T3 never came with a supercharger from the factory…If you bought a new T3 from a dealer the only way you get a supercharger was if it was a dealer add on…Meaning the dealer purchased it and added it on and changed the sticker price with there own….Similar to adding on an part or item that was not originally on the vehicle from the factory. I got in wreck with my first T3 and had a a graphic design company make me a new T3 Badge since they are not for sale anywhere…. I have only run into 3,,,,,,,T3’s in 10 years….So it’s nice knowing where ever I go no one will own a T3 except me

  33. [...] trucks like the T100 (not to be confused with a Terminator robot) and the first-gen Tundra (yes, do confuse it with a Terminator robot!) that had the Big Three chuckling about Toyota’s 4/5 scale [...]

    • to says:

      we have the t3 original we bought it at cavender dealership in san Antonio texas it was being set up at the dealership when we drove up. we ask the salesmen if it was for sale and he checked with the manager and the manager said yes it had just been delivered from the Toyota plant in san Antonio. the truck had been used to pick up the ceo from the airport and take him to the toyota plant for the opening ceremonies. it is black, and has all the original emblems and is in excellent condition, we have never had any problems with it. three months ago we did purchase a battery for it and it has 170,000 miles on it and it still has the power and can pull without any problems. if anyone is interested we might sell. will be glad to sent pictures if interested in buying.

  34. Murvis says:

    This truck also came in a dark green. I bought one new and drive it daily Great truck!

  35. […] only 850 made has upgrades besides T3 package as well: 2003 Toyota Tundra T-3 Special Edition Terminator 3 Toyota Tundra Special Edition | Tundra Headquarters Blog 2010 RCSB TRD SR5 4×4 flex, dual Flowmaster pipes, Volant CIA, 32" tires on […]

  36. Mark says:

    I bought my T3 brand new and love it. 165K miles and never a problem. I’ve only seen one other since I bought it. The other was sitting in a hospital parking lot. Had I been driving mine at the time, I would have snapped a pic of the two of them side by side.
    I can’t imagine ever selling it. I love this truck. I’ve pulled trailers and it doesn’t seem to notice at all.
    Mark

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