We first spotted this Tacoma over the summer at the Mini-Truckin Nats' in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. While walking around the corner of a hotel, we happened upon it, beautifully painted and glistening in the sun. We tried in vein to locate the owner, Dennis Slamka, to no avail. Eventually, Todd Wilt called and told us who owned the truck, so we set up a shoot at Indy Truck Bash the following month. What a great way to start that show weekend. We even got to shoot a really cool mini with a really hot model. Here is what transpired during the shoot and my interview with Dennis.
MT- It seems that the world is being invaded by Toyota Tacomas. What do you make of it?
Dennis- I think the Tacoma is one of the nicest trucks to start building upon. Plus, there are so many parts available for the; it's pretty easy to build a cool one.
MT- Do you have any interesting stories about building your truck?
Dennis- The truck used to be fast-bagged and one day I accidentally hit a switch and nailed the front tires against the fenders so hard that they smoked. I thought that I'd blown a tire but really it was just rubbing. That incident, along with having the truck body dropped, forced me to slow the suspension down with smaller valves. Another funny thing was the day I cut the hole in my roof for the sliding ragtop. My mom came home and freaked out because I was cutting up my leased truck.
MT- So, you cut up a leased truck?
Dennis- Yeah I bought it outright last December, right before we painted it.
MT- How involved were you in the actual construction of your truck? There are some pretty original ideas on your ride, such as the paint.
Dennis- I don't know how to weld or paint, so obviously I didn't do any of that stuff. But as far as the ideas for the mods, most were mine. For instance, I chose the colors for the paintjob and I wired up the stereo system.
MT- I have to ask you what the hell a truss designer does because you put that down as your occupation on the tech sheet?
Dennis- A truss designer is the guy who designs the structures for the roofs on houses and buildings. You know when you see a house being built and the outside isn't together, only the structure? Well, I design those big triangle-shaped supports for the roof. It's not that complicated.
MT- So how long have you been going to shows and what club are you in?
Dennis- I've been going to shows since 1998, right about the time I bought my Tacoma. I roll with Relaxed Atmosphere.
MT- I love the colors used in your paint scheme. What are they?
Dennis- Its painted House of Kolor True Blue Pearl, Sunrise Pearl, and Snow White.
MT- How was the dash prepped for paint? This is a pretty hot trend these days and I'm sure our readers would like to know how it is done.
Dennis- Jamie Reedy of Reedy Custom Designs scuffed it up with sandpaper and primered it. Then he sprayed the basecoat and the clearcoat. It's not that hard to paint your dash. I don't think we even color sanded or buffed it.
MT- Silver rims, huh? That is something you don't see on mini-trucks these days. I like them because they work really well with your paint scheme. What made you pick them?
Dennis- To tell the truth, I didn't know how they would look. I picked out the SD5 rims from Focal and wanted to chrome them but I ran out of time. I like the way they look now so I'm keeping them silver.
MT- What's your take on the mini-truckin' phenomenon?
Dennis- For me, this sport is all about meeting new people. I've met people from California to New York and everyone is really cool. That's why I love going to shows so much.
MT- A lot of Tacoma owners have trouble tucking their rims in the rear of their truck because they hit the bedsides. What did you do to alleviate this problem?
Dennis- Todd Wilt took a 3/16-inch steel rod, heated it up to bend it, and then welded it inside the wheel well to give it more support after the bed was body dropped by NFS Motorsports. This also enabled him to push the bedsides out a couple of inches and still retain the right shape.
MT- So NFS Motorsports did your 'bags and body drop, but Todd did the body and the paintwork? I didn't know Todd was a painter. I thought he just built trucks that flipped onto their roofs.
Dennis- Yes, and he paints really well, too. I'm really happy with the way the truck turned out.
MT- So are you finished with your truck or will you keep on changing it?
Dennis- I have done everything I wanted to do to it so I will say I'm finished for now.
MT- Well, thanks for talking with me and giving our readers some insight into your truck.
Dennis- Thanks man. Can I thank a few friends?
MT- Sure, go for it.
Dennis- I'd like to thank Jamie Reedy of Reedy Custom Designs; Todd Wilt of WB Autosports; Focal Wheels; Pioneer Audio; Dynamat; Vitek; Chris Caudill; Joe Pettus; Glen Magrino; Dennis Dean; Scott Massingill; Naiser Racing Components; and Soundwaves.