Very few people will ever have the kind of passion Tony Rispoli possesses to drag their trucks day in and day out, rain or shine, snow or sleet, cop or no cop. He pushes the limits of a true mini-trucker and what it means to drag a full-feature truck down the road at 80 mph. In fact, he loves this sport so much that he dedicates all his time to it, producing the Sonics Drag-Thru videos and cruising with his Rail It Productions (RIP) crew. Ever since he was old enough to vote, Tony's been into mini-truckin' and the custom scene. His first project was a '98 Chevy S-10 that was totaled in 2000, so it was time to move on.
Tony bought an '02 Toyota Tacoma with big plans of making it his next drag machine, unaware that it would inspire him to bring back the Central Florida cruise nights and spark his interest into pursuing mini-trucks full-time. Since he wasn't new to the game, he already had a few trusted buddies to help him out, and they got right down to business. With the help of Shaune Lewis, the Taco's frame was soon laid flat to the pavement using DJM upper arms and flipped ball joints up front, and a CanDo Specialties four-link out back. The four Firestone airbags and air system were plumbed using Parker valves, 1/2-inch air line, and two VIAIR 450C compressors feeding a 7-gallon air tank.
For tucking attire, Tony wanted to run a big wheel. He also knew, however, he'd be body-dropping the truck with hopes of keeping the A/C. This huge task didn't discourage Tony from choosing a set of KMC 19-inch Guidos wrapped with Falken low-pros. After his new rims were bolted up and the Tacoma was laid out, Tony and Shaune decided on a 4-inch body drop that would put the rocker flat to the pavement, just where it belonged. The pair painstakingly worked hour after hour tubbing the firewall, relocating the clutch, and redoing the A/C to work with the body drop, until Tony's Tacoma rested on the ground with enough clearance to drag with the 19s, while pumping ice-cold A/C into the cab. Once this feat was accomplished, all the little details seemed to fall into place.
Since Tony wanted this truck to be the perfect example of a body-dragging feature, he had a little more work to do. His friend Corey Hamburg began to smooth over the exterior and start on some of the bodywork. However, before he could finish, Corey had to move out of state, so Tony contacted Anthony Rhodes at R.A.W. to finish off the exterior and spray it a different kind of two-tone. Anthony went to work shaving the truck, installing an electric sliding sunroof, and prepping it for paint. He then sprayed the Taco' with Phantom Gray Metallic on top and Silver Mist on the bottom. Rather than a traditional split, Anthony flowed a couple of flame licks into the separation and pinstriped them with Candy Apple Red.
With Blooddrag rapidly approaching, Tony was worried about how he was going to finish the interior in time. He quickly swapped in a pair of '94 Acura bucket seats, while R.A.W. color-matched the dash and Budnik steering wheel and built a gauge pod for the air gauges. Tony's mom decided to pitch in on his ongoing project. Working a few late nights, she had his seats wrapped in gray tweed and dark-gray vinyl and finished his tweed headliner. The guys got it all put back together just in time for Tony to drag his truck to Blooddrag, where he was one of the few daring enough to throw sparks right in front of the ticketing officers out on patrol. We told you he doesn't mess around. Check out the Lowdown for all the details.
Owner: Tony Rispoli
Ride: '02 Toyota Tacoma
Location: Orlando, Florida
Club: Relaxed Atmosphere
19x7-1/2-inch KMC Guidos with a 40mm offset wrapped in Falken 225/35R19 low-profile tires
Modifications by Shaune Lewis and owner / DJM upper control arms / flipped ball joints / Parker electric air valves / Firestone airbags / 1/2-inch air line / 7-gallon air tank / CanDo Specialties reversed four-link / two chrome VIAIR 450C compressors
Body-dropped 4 inches by Shaune Lewis and owner / shaved hood squirters / shaved tailgate handle / shaved antenna / shaved third brake light / shaved gas door / relocated gas door to inner fenderwell / molded roll pan / flared bedsides 4 inches / tubbed firewall / relocated clutch / lays rocker on 19s and still has A/C / Webasto power-sliding sunroof / chrome grille shell / chrome front bumper / Trenz billet inserts / bodywork by Corey Hamburg and Anthony Rhodes
Painted by Anthony Rhodes at R.A.W. / two-tone Phantom Gray Metallic and Silver Mist split by flames pinstriped in Candy Apple Red
/Stereo Kenwood MP-522 MP3 CD player / dash painted to match exterior / '94 Acura Integra bucket seats wrapped with gray tweed and dark-gray vinyl by owner's mom two nights before the show / one-piece molded gauge pod by R.A.W. / Auto Meter air gauges / Budnik Famosa billet steering wheel
2.4L / battery relocated to bed / custom air intake
Special Thanks to..
Shaune Lewis / Troy Banks / Anthony Rhodes / Steve Nielsen / Derek Tyler / Corey Hamburg / Jason Robertson / Matt Klausing / Goober / Scraper / Aaron / Tony's mom for the late nights spent finishing the upholstery in time / all mini-truckers who have helped make the Sonics Drag-Thru possible / Rail It Production (RIP) crew