Some gearheads build a truck to get chicks. Others do it to piss off their neighbors every time they light off the motor late at night or early in the morning. Still, some gearheads like the attention owning a custom truck provides. Jeff Schwab might have some of those ideals in his soul, but for the most part he built his Toyota Tacoma to satisfy his sense of pride in doing the job himself. Sure he had help in getting his truck to a place in the world that provides satisfaction, accolades, and the appreciation of the fairer sex, but a quick look at the 411 box at the end of this story tells the tale of a man on his own mission.
Like a lot of us who choose the custom life, Jeff's transition from stock-truck owner to custom-rig rider wasn't necessarily a smooth one. He started out simply enough, just painting a few choice plastic pieces here and there under the hood and inside the cab. Then one day his truck was rear-ended badly enough to warrant pulling the body off the frame for replacement parts. While the carcass was separated from the framerails, Jeff got the bright idea to smooth and paint everything above ground and below the floor of the truck. The snowball that followed was something the Abominable Snowman might toss around for fun.
Before the remnants of the collision were wiped clean, the chassis received a boost in ride height courtesy of Fabtech. Up front, new coilovers were installed to lift the truck 4 inches higher, and out back new leaf springs leveled the truck out. At all four corners, the springs were custom-painted to stop rust and complete the chassis mods. The chassis work enabled Jeff to swap the factory 30-inch rubber for aggressive 35-inch Toyo Open Country M/T tires and 18-inch Amp wheels. The rolling stock and locking rear differential give this mini monster truck the grip to go almost anywhere.
The impressive list of mods Jeff tackled himself continues with the body. No.1 Collision put the Taco' back into a form that resembled its former self, and then Jeff shaved the cab seams. Jeff then tied the graphics that adorn the chassis to the outer sheetmetal by fogging black and silver hues from Sherwin-Williams over the factory purple paint and accenting everything with flames in House of Kolor paints. The exterior was further enhanced with billet grilles and a prerunner-style spare-tire relocator situated in the bed right where other gearheads can appreciate it.
Although the outside of his truck is impressive, the length to which Jeff went to score points at shows inside the cab is just as noteworthy. It's become commonplace to sand all the plastic smooth and color-match it to the outside of a show truck. Jeff went a step further though and made sure the true-fire-style flames continued from the kick panels to the dashboard and onto the custom sub enclosure. He topped off all of that style with leather and suede, surrounding the headliner and seating. It's a colorful combo that is impossible to ignore and one which really sets his truck apart from others while remaining functional and streetable.
There's a lot of good reasons to do what we do. Most of the reasons need no explanation to true gearheads and sport truck lovers. Whatever your viewpoint, you've got to respect a guy like Jeff who takes matters into his own hands and does so without screwing up his truck. This Taco' is one that works and we're sure everyone can find something about it to appreciate.
Jeffrey R. Schwab / Burlington, Washington
'99 Toyota Tacoma
3.8L V-6 / five-speed manual trans / remote locker in rear axle / 3-inch custom Flowmaster exhaust system
By: Mike's Muffler and Brake, Arlington, Washington
Front & Rear: 18x9.5 Amp Sixers with brushed lip
Front & Rear: 35-inch Toyo Open Country M/T
Front: Fabtech 4-inch coilover lift / stock control arms custom-painted
Rear: 2-inch leaf springs painted silver
Accessories: Chrome shocks
Chassis: All the holes in the frame-rails, control arms, and suspension were shaved, painted gloss black, and airbrushed
Shaved cab seams / smoothed front bumper / billet grilles / color-matched mirrors / custom bed-mounted spare tire
Sherwin-Williams purple, black, silver / House of Kolor candy red, yellow, orange, and white
Stock bucket seats with deleted headrests recovered in purple leather, gray suede, and orange piping / dash and door panels smoothed and airbrushed to match outside of truck / suede headliner / billet steering wheel
By: Motor City, Mount Vernon, Washington (seats) / Altermontt's (headliner and shift boot) / owner (airbrushing)
Pioneer in-dash DVD head unit / Memphis Car Audio mids, highs, and 15-inch subwoofers / Memphis P16 amplifier / custom sub enclosure
BY: Systems Unlimited, Bellevue, Washington, and the owner
No.1 Collision, Systems Unlimited, Mike's Muffler and Brake, Motor City, and Cando Specialties