"I used to hate trucks, but...
"I used to hate trucks, but in the late '90s I worked part time at a friend's suspension shop and slowly got more interested in them." -Matt Mason
If you are a fan of our sister magazine, Mini Truckin', then you might remember this '93 Toyota. It has an interesting history, tracing back to the early days of severely hammered trucks, because it was one of the first to lay pinch-weld to pavement. Back in 1993, this 'Yota was the subject of a tech article in Mini Truckin' titled, "The Ultimate Low." In that article, the magazine showed Brian Jendro, who at the time owned The Chop Shop in Southern California, body-dropping the shortbed mini so that it would sit flat on the ground with an airbag suspension. It wasn't the first truck laid out like that, but it was one of the first to be shown in detail within the pages of a magazine. That article and this truck inspired countless would-be fabricators and garage-based builders to cut the guts out of their trucks, all in the name of making their trucks lower than the next guy. An entire industry was turned upside-down right after that article hit the masses, as everyone scrambled to replicate what Jendro was doing.
After that tech article, the truck disappeared off most readers' radar screens. Like a lot of customs, it was dragged and enjoyed but never finished off to the point where it could be photographed for a proper magazine feature. Eventually, the 'Yota landed in Matt Mason's hands. In the spring of 1999, Matt dropped 1,500 bucks on the truck because he wanted something cool to roll around in on the weekends, but by the time he tookpossession of the truck, the years of dragging had taken quite a toll. The truck needed a complete rebuild of the suspension, and it also needed some help in the style department. Matt ripped it apart to make the pivot points right again, and instead of hitting the road with it directly afterward, he took the next four years to finish the truck off right. Finally, the truck would receive an interior and exterior befitting a trendsetting mini.
The paintjob is what really kept the 'Yota off the streets. After the body mods were performed, Matt took a chance on a shop that wasn't quite able to lay his vision down onto the sheetmetal of his truck in the manner he wanted to see it the first time around. Consequently, the truck was painted and repainted several times over the course of two years, until both Matt and the shop were satisfied with the work. The wait and additional labor was worth it, though, because this truck's paintjob is simple and still stands out. Once the exterior looked like it belonged to a street rod, Matt took the truck to Krist Kustoms for an interior makeover.
Krist Kustoms put a spin on the classic tweed interior with sculpted door panels and 3-D inserts. The shop also crafted a beautiful center console with switches for the air system and fabricated new seats from foam that would restore precious legroom to the cab that was previously eaten up by the body-dropped floor. A new audio system was installed, with Audiobahn component speakers housed in custom kick panels. A billet steering wheel and .44 Magnum shifter top off the enclave.
The last area Matt turned his attention to was inside the bed. The bed floor was raised already, so he made sure it was smooth before having a color-matched Speedliner coating installed. This made the bed a perfect showcase for Oddyssey batteries, an RCI fuel cell, and a smorgasbord of air suspension components.
Matt owns a precious piece of history with this Toyota. Too many of the trucks that really set the truck world ablaze over the years have been wrecked, abandoned, or have disappeared altogether, so it's nice to see that one of the important moments of our history is being preserved and improved upon.
Matt Mason / Fort wayne, Indiana
22RE Toyota 2.2L four-cylinder
Front: Foose Lusso 18x7-inch
Rear: Foose Lusso 19x7.5-inch
Front: Falken GRB 205/40ZR18
Rear: Falken GRB 225/35ZR19
Front: Belltech 2-inch drop spindles / Firestone 225 airbags / TR Manufacturing torsion bar brackets and shock relocators / KYB shocks
Rear: Air Ride Technologies four-link / KYB Shocks
Accessories: Two viair 550 compressors /GC Extreme 3/8-inch port valves / steel braided 3/8-inch air line with nickel-plated fittings / RCI 15-gallon aluminum fuel cell
Chassis: TR Manufacturing 8-inch stepnotch/fabricated engine and transmission crossmembers
By: TR Manufacturing
1-1/2-inch body drop / shaved door handles, hood squirters, passenger-side wiper, and cowl vents / Alter Images Cali Combo replacement tailgate skin molded into bed / JBM chrome 2wD-style bumper and 4wD-style grille /4wD-style front fenders / Cadillac-style taillights/ Gaylord's tonneau cover
By: Brian Jendro (body-drop) / Mike Brimm of Killer Kustoms, in Grand Rapids, Michigan (tailgate skin)
PPG Corvette blue separated by House of Kolor Tangelo Pearl and Silver / color-matched Speedliner
By: Bewley's Bodyworks of Indianapolis, Indiana (paint) / Mike Menchoffer and Lil' Bill (pinstriping and airbrushing) / Eric Bailey of Kokomo, Indiana (bedliner)
Handmade seats are covered in blue vinyl and tweed / custom door panels and center console/ factory gauges plus Firestone gauges for the air system
By: Shawn of Krist Kustoms in Fort wayne, Indiana
Kenwood P901 CD/DvD head unit / 6.5-inch Audiobahn component speakers mounted in custom kick panel enclosures / Kenwood ampli-fier / Stinger cables / Oddysey batteries
By: Matt Mason
Shawn of Krist Kustoms, Joe Mattes, Eric Bailey, Mike Dolsen, the crew at Gauge Media Group, and the crew at TR Manufacturing