'98 Toyota Tacoma
The story of this Tacoma starts at a gas station somewhere between Jeff Bridge's home in Niles, Mississippi, and Arkansas. A few years back, Jeff and his family went on a family trip and along the way they stopped off to get gas and empty their bladders. On the way to the men's room, Jeff saw a copy of our sister publication, Truckin', sitting on the counter and decided to pick it up. After all, he needed something to read on the road. By the time Jeff got to Arkansas, he was converted. He was now a full-blown mini-trucker and he needed to build a truck. It had to be done.
Jeff was 18 at the time, but he had some custom experience. He had built a shaved and 'bagged '85 El Camino and owned a '69 Plymouth Roadrunner. His mini-truck project would be a '98 Tacoma that he bought already 'bagged and body-dropped on some 16-inch wheels. He drove it like that for a bit, but after attending Indy Truck Bash, he knew that he still had some work to do. Admittedly, he didn't really know what he was doing, but he had a welder and desire, which realistically, is all anyone needs to tear into his ride.
He cut up the firewall himself and got the truck laid out on 20-inch Kruz wheels while keeping the factory A/C. The process required a whole lot of extra sheetmetal and relocating the clutch master cylinder under the dash, but the result was pretty cool. Now that he knew a little bit more about the scene and what he was doing, he realized that the shiny truck he bought needed a little bit of work to meet his standards. To accomplish that, Jeff redid the body drop on the bed as well as the rear suspension. There are some other tricks that he pulled off along the way, like relocating the gas door into the door jamb, something that wasn't easy to do. With all of that work done, Jeff had his friend, Nik Barnhart, spray the truck in a custom-mixed yellow to match his '69 Roadrunner. Now he has two killer yellow rides, and that's worth the price of admission.
Jeff learned many things along the way with this build, but ultimately the feeling of satisfaction created by building something with his own hands was the most important lesson and the greatest reward. People have many reasons for getting into trucks, but Jeff had an interesting one: "It was to put my money in something other than drugs or alcohol." It's not everyday that a ride is built with such a noble cause, and we applaud it.
2.4-liter four-cylinder / K&N Performance intake / five-speed manual transmission / Chevrolet S-10 axle / stock Toyota driveline with S-10 yoke / two Optima batteries
Front & Rear: 20x7.5 Kruz K10
Front & rear: 225/30R20 General Exclaim VHP
Front: 2600 Firestone airbags / Monroe shocks / custom 3-inch spindle spacer / modified lower control arms
Rear: Triangulated four-link / Firestone 9000 sleeve-style airbags
Accessories: Viair 480 compressors / 1/2-inch DOT airline / 1/2-inch Easystreet valves / two 3-gallon air tanks
Chassis: Custom gas tank crossmember / notched frame / 3-inch body drop
By: Owner / Eye Poppin' Customs
Shaved door handles, tailgate handle, hood squirters, rear cab lines, and gas door / roll pan / Trenz billet grille / clear corner lenses / 4x4 fenders, bumper, and valance / smoothed bed floor
Custom yellow mix
By: Nik Barnhart, LaPorte, Indiana
'93 Honda Civic bucket seats wrapped in suede and ostrich / smoothed and painted dash / suede and ostrich-covered door panels / black carpet
By: Owner / Owner's dad / Bobby Classon, Niles, Mississippi
Jensen VM9411 head unit / Pioneer mids and highs / two 10-inch Audiobahn AW1006T subs / 1,000-watt Audiobahn amp / 5-inch LCD monitor in steering wheel / speaker box built as a center console
His dad, mom, grandma, girlfriend Sheena, Josh Low, family and friends, Bridges Motor Sales, Joe McCombs, Bobby Classon, Craig at Eye Poppin' Customs, Nik Barnhart, Jeremy at Precision Auto Body, and Neon Aaron