While growing up in Arizona, Brian Young caught the mini-truckin' bug at an early age. To this day, it has never left.

"Growing up with an older sister, I came across some cool guys with some pretty cool vehicles, who in turn took me under their wing to impress my sister," says Young, who currently resides in Mesa, Arizona.

"But in my eyes, it was still pretty sweet. They were all my influences in the beginning, and ever since then I have been hooked."

Young has associated with all kinds of folks from muscle car gurus to off-road enthusiasts to guys who were out cruising the streets just looking to impress passers-by. Even with all of these influences, it was mini-truckin' that stuck with him the most.

After owning everything from an '80 Nissan longbed to a '90 Isuzu P'up to a dropped Ford Taurus wagon, Brian finally created a show-stopper in its purest form. His '95 Toyota Tacoma is an attention-getter that takes its styling cues from many different vehicles. These range from the blue dots on the taillights to Volkswagen accessories, such as the trademark stinger. The shifter is also a conversation piece and was inspired by Young's interest in rat rods.

The original planned theme for the truck was a Vegas vibe, but after having his son, Damien, Brian developed more of a classy, old-school hot-rod vision for the Taco.

"I believe I'm growing up a little," Young explains.

He feels the Raspberry Tacoma's future will be shaped as money and time allow, but for now Brian is pleased with the current overall look of the vehicle. He also adds that he can't forget to mention one of the biggest influences in designing this custom ride. It came from a well-known Mini Truckin' magazine cover of Pat Nicholl's "Ballistic" Toyota.

"The first time I saw that issue, I remember spending days and days admiring that Toyota's appeal. I had the chance to meet a pretty cool guy named Joe Bernardo, whom we all know as 'Joe Millionaire.' Come to find out, his inspiration was Ballistic as well," Brian says.

"It's conversations like that, as well as seeing the mad mind of creative mini-truckers, that keep me in the scene."

Brian has seen the popularity shift from mini-trucks to lifted trucks to rat rods and now to the Barrett-Jackson craze. Now, he's glad to see mini-trucks on the rise once again.

"A lot of us don't have the funds to buy high-end vehicles and then pay someone to build them, so I admire the creativity of mini-truckers," Young says.

"There's nothing cooler than for someone to take a $10,000-or-less pickup truck and make it stand out in a crowd. It sure beats seeing an Escalade on 28-inch rims with Lambo doors and 20 TVs throughout. If my truck could be any kind of inspiration to a young kid who is just getting his license, then my job would be done. That would be a pretty neat deal."

The 411
Engine/drivetrain:

Stock 22R-E lowered 2 inches to retain stock hood appearance / sectioned oil pan / sectioned header / assorted chrome parts including valve cover, hood prop rod, and battery bracket / custom-made air intake / Cherry Bomb muffler with chrome Volkswagen EMPI stinger / custom battery rack / Optima YellowTop battery
BY: Nick and Mike Wapinarski / Owner / Papago Plating

Rims:
Front & Rear:
17x8 Merlyn Stranger

Tires:
Front & Rear:
205/35R17 Pirelli

Suspension:
Front:
Flipped ball joints on spindles / 12-inch chrome hydraulic cylinders
Rear: Four-link / 12-inch chrome hydraulic cylindersAccessories: One-pump-three-dump hydraulic setup / two Optima BlueTop batteries / three accumulators to smooth out ride
Chassis: C-notch / stock gas tank relocated underneath rear of the bed
BY: Nick and Mike Wapinarski / Owner

Body Mods:
Body dropped 3 1/2 inches / '00 Tacoma front clip with '96 4Runner bumper / paint stripped off grille to reveal chrome / shaved door handles, squirters, antenna, rear cab body line under window, tailgate handle, gas door, and wiper cowl / roll pan / custom Street Beat ragtop / custom-mounted license-plate bracket with SoCal Customs license-plate frame / flush-mount tonneau cover / tubular bars to reinforce front end (wiring ran through) / reinforced rear fenders / blue dots in taillights
BY: Chase Heath / Owner / Mike Wapinarski / Frank (body drop)

Custom Paint:
White base with '92 Porsche raspberry metallic
BY: Chase Heath / Lee at Lee's Customs / Owner

Interior:
Stock bucket seats chopped in half, reupholstered in two-tone leather / tweed dash and door panels / zebra fabric used to accent interior / A/C vents shaved / '65 Mustang three-spoke steering wheel / suicide knob / shag carpet / Volkswagen window cranks / EMPI shift ball / Volkswagen Vanagon shifter
BY: Owner / Mike Wapinarski / Richard Vega

Audio/video:
Pioneer head unit / Soundstream mids and tweeters / MTX subs / electronic crossover / Power Acoustik amplifiers / custom amp rack / fifth order blow-through enclosure using 12-inch subs with plexiglass window
BY: Owner

Club:
Lost Reality

Special Thanks:
Chase Heath (the Grinch), Richard Vega at Vega's Customs, Nick and Mike Wapinarski, Paul Ponzetti, Papago Plating, the guys at Kreepin Kustumz for letting him use their tools, Jessica for all the moral support, Lost Reality, and son Damien

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