Von Chounlamany has always wanted to excel in the world of custom mini-trucks. Von, 26, started constructing show-winning minis some 10 years ago. He and his younger brother Jason, 24, are known around their club, Negative Camber, and the show circuit as the Laodies with the LOASIANS-licensed '84 Toyota. This sibling duo is also known for grinding, cutting, sectioning, body dropping, shearing, welding, hammering, sanding, and spraying. The brothers are continuously forming and shaping incredible rolling sculptures out of their small Laodies Kustoms shop in Doud, Iowa.
This '84 Toyota Xtracab has been an on-going project since it began 10 years ago. To obtain its grounded stance, the frame was back-halved and step-notched using 2x4-inch box tubing. The rear suspension is built around its stock rearend housing and a four-linked cantilever design. Parker 1/2-inch valves and lines link the air compressor and holding tanks to the Firestone 2600 pneumatic 'bags that provide the suspension's agility and athleticism, while a pair of rear Gabriel air shocks damp the suspension action. Yota rolls on a set of aluminum KMC Suicide 19x7-inch spools wrapped with Nitto P225/35R19 rubber. The front suspension consists of a pair of Belltech 2-inch drop spindles. Eric at Kustom Werks fabricated upper tubular control arms to get more flexibility out of the 2500 Firestone airbags.
The original '84 2.4L four-cylinder has been rebuilt with a Crane camshaft, brand-new internal components, and an added pair of dual side-draft Weber carburetors. The pair also added an LC Engineering electronic distributor, Fireball coil, and a ceramic-coated Pacesetter 4-1 header that flows into a custom exhaust system. To clean up the engine compartment, Von installed Cool flex-hose, a stainless steel overflow tank, and a chromed the stock valve cover. The twin Optima batteries were relocated under the bed.
Von and Jason preformed a 3-inch body drop to get the front air dam, fenders, rockers, bed, and roll pan to scrape, spark, and grind. To achieve ample room in the rear fenderwells, Von grafted four four-wheel-drive flared fenders to the bed side panels, creating the proper clearance and flared shape. Von fabbed a pair of rear wheeltubs that come up flush with the bedrails, allowing the rear 19x7-inch KMCs and P225/35R19 Nitto rubber to tuck up inside. The tailgate has been welded and smoothed with a pair of LED frenched taillights slotted in the upper corners. The front '88 four-wheel-drive chrome grille is flanked with a pair of '84 stock headlights. A '97 four-wheel-drive chrome bumper and valance add to Yota's leading edge. The cab's roof was opened to accept a 30x40-inch sliding ragtop, and the doors have been shaved. After all the body mods were performed, endless layers of PPG DP50 primer were added and block-sanded over and over again to eliminate any ripples or imperfections. The beauty comes from PPG Bright Iris Pearl Blue that was color-sanded then buried in multiple coats of clear. Jason broke out the buffing and polishing compounds and began endless hours of work until he created a deep, mirror finish.
A Lazar head unit with a Boss flip-up DVD monitor screen is grafted into the waterfall-style center console. For more entertainment, PS2 video games are within a palm's reach. The power is boosted by a couple of Power Acoustic amps flanked by two 12-inch subwoofers located in a custom-built cabinet placed in the rear of the Xtracab. A pair of Lazar, 6-1/2-inch speakers are located in custom kick panel units.
The interior dash was shaved smooth and, along with the waterfall center console, is painted PPG Iris Pearl Blue. The brothers used their talents to upholster the entire interior, covering the bucket seats, door panels, and headliner in a light-tan tweed. A Billet Specialties three-spoke leather-covered steering wheel caps the factory steering column.
The Chounlamany brothers prove that a shop's size doesn't matter. What you have seen on these pages was all done in the brother's little garage in Douds, Iowa. They have put their place on the map.