This Guy Owns the Pizza Planet Toyota from “Toy Story”

Not even the 30th movie car we’d remember, but still damn near perfect.

Sean McFarland

This article was originally posted on The Drive, a Time Inc. publication.


It’s the 20th anniversary of Toy Story, and for some Disney acolytes, a yellow Toyota pickup truck that appears in one quick scene is the most exciting part of the entire series.

Don’t remember? After squabbling over who is Andy’s favorite toy, Buzz and Woody tumble out of the family car on their way to Pizza Planet. Stranded, they find a rusty, yellow Pizza Planet delivery truck en route, which becomes an impromptu chariot that carries the duo on to one of many adventures.

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Four years ago, Marco Bongiorno was a college student working as a Disneyland photographer in Anaheim, Calif. He bought a blue 1988 Toyota pickup to create the most realistic Pizza Planet tribute truck the world had ever seen. Like many car fans, Bongiorno believes that his truck’s glory hinges on the minor details.

“We aren’t the first Pizza Planet truck out there,” he told The Drive. “But when we see others, we can’t help but nitpick about colors and things that aren’t true to the film.”

The primerless Maaco paint job marked the start of the truck’s journey. Then came the rocket sign, the identical white bed cap, intentional rust, the exact drink cup spotted in the cab—and an overheating issue. The truck was featured at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, a convention hosted by the official Disney fan club. There, the crew handed out their “YO” buttons, each clad with the truck’s iconic tailgate nomenclature.

Like the pickup itself, Bongiorno didn’t make the buttons for any reason other than he liked the idea. “Originally, it was built as a disposable spectacle,” he says of the truck. “But now we just like to inspire nostalgia. People really short circuit when they see it.”

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Apparently, so does Pixar—Toy Story’s creator and, since 2006, a subsidiary of Disney. Look carefully in nearly every Pixar film since 1995, and you’ll see the animated truck pop up randomly—not just for Toy Story sequels, but even inFinding Nemo and Wall-E.

Bongiorno’s dirt-clad Toyota makes rounds at southern California car shows, where it’s frequently mistaken for a food truck. Once parked, Bongiorno tells people not to lean on the show car, but it’s not informed by the typical garage-queen logic. “We’ll get back from the event and think, we’ve gotta put more dirt on because people wiped it all off,” he says.

Bongiorno hopes to drive his truck cross-country by the time Toy Story 4premieres in 2017, although he needs a new carburetor, muffler, hoses and must “weld the catalytic converter back into place,” according to his GoFundMe page. (To date, the old yellow pickup hasn’t smitten anyone to donate.)

But to answer the obvious, most important question: “We still haven’t delivered a pizza yet.”

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JDM gems shine – in Utah

Sean McFarland

This article was originally published on BBC Autos.



BBC Autos’ recent visit to the quasi-museum lurking beneath Mazda’s Irvine, California, headquarters stirred a hankering for some classic Japanese metal.

At a time when muscle cars reigned in America, the Japanese domestic market – also known as JDM – was busy fabricating what would become some of the most coveted designs on the road. Models like the Nissan Skyline, bearing a nameplate traceable to the late 1950s, established themselves as some of the most respected and tunable sporting cars on the market.

The above video, by Utah-based videographer Josh Clason, showcases several flawless examples of rare and sought-after Japanese vehicles, including a first-generation Toyota Celica, a Nissan Skyline in the four-door 2000GT and two-door GT-R trims, and even a modified Toyota Starlet hatchback. These cars aren’t garage queens, however. Check out the shots at 2:47, when three of these classics take to the streets in a cruise that would please many a JDM fan.

Clason’s video artfully highlights the aspects that made these cars famous: the furrowed brow of the earlier Skylines, the narrow stance of the Celica and the low-slung body of the 2000GT. JDM Legends, a garage based in Murray, Utah, has restorations ranging from the faithful to the subtly modified – the white Skyline GT-R coming with a twin-turbocharged RB26 engine swap from a late ‘80s Skyline. With the right parts, this power plant can be tuned to over 1,000 horsepower. Love them or hate them, era-specific fender mirrors adorn each of the cars.

For North American fans who might fancy these gems from the land of the rising sun, JDM Legends maintains a selection of clean examples for sale. Meantime, savour the sight of these vehicles in high definition.