Even with so many people on a quest for originality, it’s rare that something truly stands out from the rest. Mods that look good are adopted quickly and those that don’t are not. To get a truly unique ride, one must brave the cold winds and listen to your friends exclaim, “You’re doing what?” Eryk Nash of San Diego put up with comments for some time about his ’99 Toyota Tacoma. Eryk had a vision of something that had yet to be built, something for which parts didn’t really exist, and whose combination had certainly not been tried before.

Starting from scratch with a new Tacoma presented a few challenges for Eryk. Most of the components for his ride would have to be fabricated or heavily modified from another application to achieve the desired effect. Starting from the ground up Eryk took care of the suspension with a few upgrades. Eibach supplied a set of springs for the front and complemented them with custom-valved shocks. The rearend was brought to ankle-level by way of 2-inch de-arched springs, Firestone airbag set, and 4-inch Chassis Tech blocks. With a lower center of gravity the Tacoma quickly out-handled its tires and wheels. For full realization Eryk chose Axis Seven 18-inch rims and sticky Nitto 455 215/35R18 tires.

The tuner image comes from a few custom mods Eryk and friends completed. The unique features are the front grille, air dam, and fenders. To accommodate wider tires and wheels up front, the Toyota’s factory metal was swapped for that from a PreRunner model. The front air dam and bumper are from VIS and were intended for a Honda Civic. With a little epoxy, fiberglass, and bodywork, the folks at Goldcrest Autobody had the front package tied up. To complete the whole look, rear fenders were flared 1 ½ inches by way of patience—and a large mallet.

With a go-fast look, the tuner needed that go-fast feel. The stock four-banger was beefed up with a 4-into-1 header pipe from Downey Speed. Relieving the pressure is left to the 2 ½-inch TRD full racing exhaust. On the upside, the 2.4L draws air through an Injen filter and intake tube. With a little bit of timing work and a heavy foot, the Tacoma can squawk tires at will. Although lesser in horsepower than its six-fingered brother, the four-cylinder does weigh a good 600 pounds less and gives an impressive weight-to-horsepower ratio.

The finale came when the interior was complete. With a bit of creativity, seats from a Honda Prelude were made to fit and then recovered in a custom layout of white and black. The driver’s view was brightened by installing APC white-face gauges, an air/fuel mixture indicator, and an Auto Meter tach with shift light. Keeping mild streetable performance, Eryk wired in a Pioneer head unit to control 500 watts of Sony Xplode power.

When all was said and done, Eryk spent a full year getting his ride just the way it should be. Too bad he’ll spend three times that paying it off.