To Infinity and Beyond: The Pizza Planet Truck in Real Life!
22 years ago in November of 1995, Pixar Studios released their first full feature film—Toy Story. While much of the movie revolves around a colorful cast of plastic toy characters lead by Woody and Buzz Lightyear, another beloved character made it’s debut in a blaze of yellow paint and rust: the Pizza Planet delivery truck.
Fast forward to 2011 and a group of Pixar enthusiasts decided to bring the truck to life, joining the ranks of the Mystery Machine, K.I.T.T., the Back to the Future DeLorean, and many more cinematic vehicles to run the real world roadways.
The initial mission was a roadtrip from Orange County to Pixar Studios in Emeryville, Californi—across the bay from San Francisco. Before they could worry about the driving, the team would first have to study up on their reference materials, noting each detail of the truck in order to chisel their 1988 Toyota Pickup into the near mirror image of the on-screen “1978 Gyoza Mark VII”.
After the Toyota was purchased and painted, the 'RES1536' vanity plates were registered (Toy Story was originally rendered at a RESolution of 1536 x 922) and bumper stickers were recreated, including a “How’s my driving” decal and the KRAT slap—a nod to long-time Pixar employee Tia Kratter.
The magnetic Pizza Planet branded door cards were next up, followed closely by the iconic “YO” on the tailgate.
The red and white rocket is almost a project in and of itself, having been through multiple iterations with different materials forming each topper in 2012, 2013 and 2015, not to mention numerous versions that didn’t quite make it off the launch pad.
In July of 2017 a more movie-accurate camper shell was installed, finishing up the look as it sits currently.
Spoiler alert: the truck and team eventually made it to Pixar and even got to talk movies with the staff—but a keen eye will still spot the truck out-and-about at parades and events around California, like D23 and Comic-Con. While most people jump to engine swaps and choosing suspension upgrades, this pickup goes to show there's more than one way to play the customization game.