Building a head-turning custom pickup involves having an eye for the right modifications and being able to blend those modifications together to create the perfect look. It's a balancing act of mixing the perfect amount of body alterations, paint and chrome, engine upgrades, and interior spice together to make the vehicle shine on the show field and the street. Andrew Adams of Tyler, Texas, knew what he wanted when he tore into his '97 Toyota Tacoma. From the start, the project was destined for smooth street-rod styling incorporated with a bit of mini-trucker flair for a grand-slam look that snagged the focus of the Truckin' staff the first time we laid eyes on it.
In order to get the custom ball rolling, Andrew delivered the Taco to the crew at Ekstensive Metal Works in Houston, where the stock nosebleed stance was eliminated and the framerails were laid firmly down on the blazing Texas asphalt. Hammering the nose of Tacomole on the Texas tarmac are Firestone 255C airbags coupled with relocated upper control arms to keep the camber angle in check. The chassis and suspension surgery out back involved quite a bit of cutting, notching, grinding, and welding in order for the truck to lay out on the rear 20-inch rims and rubber Andrew planned on using. Knowing clearances would be tight, Bill Carlton and the crew at Ekstensive made the executive decision to use a '94 Toyota pickup rearend to create a bit more breathing room for the rear dubs. A custom Ekstensive Metal Works two-link was put in place to keep the rearend movement in check, while a custom Ekstensive bridge notch was fabricated to allow the rear axle room to roam when Andrew deflates the airbags. Ekstensive Metal Works 1/2-inch valves and 1/2-inch air line take care of delivering air to and from the 'bags when Andrew has to air the truck up for driving or lower it to impress. Air is pumped via a Thomas compressor and stored in a 5-gallon air tank. In order to capture the smooth, hot-rod style Andrew wanted, a call was placed to Colorado Custom to acquire a set of its popular Whiskey-style billet wheels. For the ultimate big and staggered look, 18x7-inch Whiskeys were mounted up front, while the rear played host to 20x8-inchers. Low-profile Nitto rubber cushions the billet hoops from bends and dings in the form of P225/40R18 skins up front and P245/35R20 rubber bands at the rear. After the suspension was dialed in and Andrew's Taco had the perfect rim-stuffing and frame-sparking stance, it was time to treat the body to a clean and close shave, as well as bring the exterior scenery to life with some bold hues and classy graphic patterns
To bring the Taco's exterior landscape up to par, Andrew turned to Custom Concepts (CC) in Oklahoma City. The metal sculptors at CC gave Tacomole a face-lift by subtracting several of the body's factory features. To create a smooth and seamless skin, the crew at CC shaved the door handles, tailgate handle, factory taillights, antenna, front corner markers, hood squirters, gas door, third brake light, roofline hump, rear cab seams, and stake pockets. For a bolder leading edge, Andrew had the CC staff bolt up a complete '00 4x4 Tacoma front end with some metal surgery performed on the fenders to match all of the other smoothed metalwork. A pair of Street Scene S-10 mirrors were grafted in place to further promote the smooth custom theme, while Custom Concepts owner Kevin Cox mixed up a unique blend of PPG European colors to coat the metal. From the beltline up, a PPG Volkswagen Green fits the bill while the truck's bottom half wears a custom-mixed Silver, highlighted by a chrome-colored airbrush trim. A custom-mixed blue hue patterned in a unique graphic adorns the door skins on each side of the Taco for a little something extra. After the paint was laid and a few coats of clear dusted on, the paint was color-sanded and buffed to a brilliant shine. The overall look was finished off with a billet grille insert and clear headlights up front.
Once the top-notch paint and bodywork was completed, Andrew hooked up with Gary Biggs at Biggs Audio Design in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to get some rocking tunes installed inside the cab. Heading up the system is a Pioneer AVX 7000D head unit backed by a Kicker KX 700.5 amplifier that delivers jams with authority to two 10-inch Kicker subwoofers mounted in a custom box in the extended cab area. Kicker 6.5-inch midrange separates round out the sound and give the system some balance
Now that Andrew had some jamming tunes hooked up inside the cab, some interior upgrades were needed to tie the whole look together. After acquiring a pair of '98 4Runner bucket seats, Biggs Audio Design cut them down and covered them in charcoal leather for a rich look. For a bold contrasting effect, Andrew had CC smooth the dash and coat it in Volkswagen Green to match the exterior. The door panel top caps, the custom center console, and the custom speaker box were also treated to a healthy helping of Volkswagen Green. Navigating Tacomole is done via a Colorado Custom Whiskey billet steering wheel designed to match the truck's Whiskey-style billet wheels. A unique headliner in the cab was crafted by Custom Cars & Audio, using polished billet aluminum strips and gray vinyl
Andrew Adams has created one sweet Tacoma and, as a member of the Severed Ties truck club, shows the truck every chance he gets. He is quick to point out that Tacomole would not have been finished without the help of Ekstensive Metal Works, Custom Concepts, Biggs Audio Design, B.A.D., Kicker, Matt Sturgell, Brian Redman, Mitch Henderson, and Frank Peden. Andrew also extends a special thanks to his mom and dad for clearing space in the garage for him to park his pride and joy. Tacomole is a perfect example of a well-balanced show truck with just the right amount of custom flavoring.