Most mini-trucker stories start out the same: "I am just going to 'bag it, so I can drag and roll with the cool kids." For Jonathan Knight, this was his exact intention, until he got the bug to start hitting up some shows around his hometown of Chandler, Indiana. Jon's Taco started its whirlwind buildup as a bone-stock '00 Toyota Tacoma, purchased from a local dealership. Jon drove it directly home to perform a simple 'bag job on it. After riding around for a while, Jon received his first sponsorship money, in the form of someone rear-ending him at a stoplight and crumpling the bed. Not one to let something as simple as this get him down, Jon decided to turn lemons into lemonade by converting the Taco into the full custom show truck you see here.
Since the bed had to come off for replacement, Jon and his friends figured it was time to get serious about his ever-changing 'bag setup. The latest configuration is running a four-link 'bag-over-axle setup that will soon be replaced with a custom super-lift setup. Jon is not one to shy away from dragging his show-winning truck, always proud to show the scrape marks and holes in the frame from dragging his truck on a daily basis. Although, he is quick to point out that even though dragging frame is cool, you have to be careful not to cut too much of your frame away to make room for the 'bags because the frame will break.
But, what good is a cool, laid-out truck, if there is no eye candy to keep your attention? Jon and his friends entered the garage again with spray guns and body filler in hand, not to emerge until they had shaven off all of the extraneous parts that the manufacturer deemed necessary. Little things like the door handles, antenna, tailgate, taillights, and fuel-filler door were gone. Remember the bed that was crumpled? Jon and his friends paid extra attention to it by adding a complete sheetmetal bed floor with radius corners. Right before the truck went in to be painted, the unthinkable happened, when the truck fell off the jackstands onto the jack, crumpling the new roll pan. Once that was repaired and all of the bodywork was completed, Jon and his buddy, Jay Singer, laid down a two-tone paintjob that included a custom-mixed green over a Chevy pearl white, broken up by a custom-mixed orange pinstripe, applied by Jay Singer's steady hand.
Now that Jon had a hot paintjob on a smooth killer truck, it was time to add some creature comforts to the Taco's interior. During this buildup, Jon learned how to mix fiberglass, and his new skills can be seen all over the interior, from the sub box to the custom door panels. While Jon was busy huffing fiberglass resin, the seats were sent over to John Tripp's to be reupholstered with tan tweed and green piping. The seats are one of Jon's favorite pieces because they were the last seats his buddy, John, upholstered before he passed away.
Jon's story might make you think this truck was built by someone way older than 23 years old. Through trial and error, and with help from his friends, Jon proved you can build a feature-worthy truck that can still drag with the best of them.
Jonathan Knight / Chandler, Indiana
'00 Toyota Tacoma
2.4L 22R four-cylinder / five-speed
Front & Rear: 18x7-inch Foose Type S
Front & Rear: 215/40R18 Nitto Neogen
FRONT: 2500 Firestone 'bags / flipped ball joints / stock upper control arms / DJM 2-inch drop lower arms / Pete & Jake's shocks
REAR: 2600 Firestone 'bags / four-link 'bag-over-axle setup / Pete & Jake's rear shocks
ACCESSORIES: Eight 1/2-inch Parker valves / two Thomas 4101 compressors / 1/2-inch steel braided line / 12-gallon air tank / stock fuel tank under the hump in bed / remote control for air ride
CHASSIS: 8-inch notch
BY: Jonathan Knight / friend
Shaved door handles, antenna, tailgate, taillights, fuel-filler door, and third brake light / full sheetmetal bed / rounded bed corners / smoothed bumper / Show Down Productions cowl hood
BY: Jonathan Knight / Jay Singer
PPG custom-green, mixed by owner / Chevy Pearl white / orange pinstriping / 3M chip guard in bed to resemble the Rhino Linings look
BY: Jonathan Knight
Stock seats covered in tan tweed with green piping / dash smoothed and painted / custom fiberglass door panels / handmade smoothed, painted center console / Nu-Image Platinum gauges / Colorado Customs Hancock steering wheel / one-off stainless steel shifter and billet shifter handle
BY: Jonathan Knight / John Tripp (seats)
Pioneer P-8600 head unit/ Memphis Audio mids and highs / four Memphis M-class 12-inch subwoofers / Autotek 475 amplifier for mids and highs / Autotek 1500.1 for subwoofers / 7-inch in-dash monitor / fiberglass sub box
BY: Jonathan Knight
Jay Singer, John Tripp, David Link, Brian Hinkle, William Folsom, Wrinkles, Nathan at Street Sounds, Greg at Hershey's Hot Rods