If you attended any of the big shows around the Midwest in 2003, there's no doubt that you spotted this chameleon-scaled Tacoma dragon. Mike Seeton has dedicated the better part of the past two and a half years building and showing his '01 Toyota Tacoma, and has earned more than 25 trophies for all his hard work. Mike purchased the truck in January 2001 for $14,000, and he knew before he even bought the Tacoma that whatever truck he purchased, it would not stay stock for long. Having previously built a '95 Isuzu, and having been around the scene for more than seven years, Mike hopped on the Tacoma buildup as soon as it rolled off the lot.
With Mike's sincere personality, he can't help but make friends wherever he goes, so he already had a pretty good idea of some trustworthy guys he could count on to realize his dream. Starting at Insane Designs, Mark Farmer was instructed to drop the frame to the ground. He began with the front by modifying the lower ball joints, building 'bag brackets for 2,500-pound Firestone airbags, and relocating a pair of Doetsch Tech shocks. Moving rearward, Mike notched the framerails and built a custom tubular crossmember to bolt 2,600-pound Firestone 'bags and Monroe shocks to. He also incorporated a triangulated four-link, allowing him to ditch the leaf springs and really put the frame on the pavement.
After the truck was laid out on 17-inch Mondera Spyder chrome wheels, Mike moved in on the body. Mike Farmer started by shaving the tailgate handle and molding in a steel roll pan. A chrome grille with a billet insert, and a chrome bumper with painted trim and billet insert, helped update the nose. To make the exterior pristine, the entire body was sprayed with PPG Imperial Jade Mica. Mike then had Charles "The Kid" Armstrong transform Mike's Tacoma into a rolling palette of scaled flames. Charles used a color-shifting paint that allows the airbrushed scales to change colors from green to purple to gold, depending on the angle the flamed scales are viewed from. This paintjob has to be seen in person to get the full color-changing effect.
Once Mike's dragon had come to life, Third World Customs in Waco, Texas, wrapped the seats, headliner, and door panels in a combination of Sahara tweed and putty-hued vinyl. Flames run throughout the headliner and door panels, and a custom pod was built in the recessed area of Mike's bench seat to house the air gauges and switches. A B.A.D. Inferno steering wheel keeps Mike's hands plenty warm in the summer, and a few painted accents add the final details to the interior. The engine received chrome goodies, and the chassis was detailed in the same fashion. After all the little necessities were taken care of, Mike stood back and was ecstatic with the results. He'd awakened a super-clean, dragon-scaled Tacoma that he can drive every single day without fear of being singed.
The Low Down
Wheels/Tires 17x7.5-inch Mondera Spyder chrome wheels enveloped in 205/40R17 Nitto tread
Suspension/Chassis Mike Farmer at Insane Designs in Ennis, Texas, performed all the suspension modifications / 2,500-pound Firestone airbags paired with Doetsch Tech nitrogen shocks up front / 2,600-pound Firestone 'bags coupled with Monroe shocks in the rear / modified lower ball joints to lower the front an extra 1-1/2 inches / custom-built tubular rear crossmember built into the step notch / AIM Industries triangulated four-link / gas tank raised 1-1/2 inches / 3/8-inch Aro valves with 3/8-inch air line, two Firestone compressors, and a 5-gallon tank to store the air supply
Body Modifications/Paint Chrome grille with billet insert / euro taillights / painted bumper with billet insert / shaved tailgate handle / molded roll pan with drop-tag license plate / PPG Imperial Jade Mica base color with custom-painted flames using Chameleon-colored dragon scales that change color to green, purple, and gold, performed by Charles Armstrong Auto Art in Prescott, Arizona
Interior Interior done by Third World Customs in Waco, Texas / painted dash insert / seats wrapped in Sahara tweed and putty vinyl / tan carpet / Sahara-tweed headliner with sculpted flames / Sahara-tweed door panels with vinyl insert and flames flowing from the speaker pod / vinyl pod for airbag gauges and switches / 14-inch B.A.D. Inferno billet steering wheel / steering wheel adapter made by Silver Star Customs in Horn Lake, Mississippi
Engine/Performance Injen air intake / chrome valve cover / chrome power steering unit and miscellaneous nuts and bolts / 2-inch Flowmaster exhaust
Special Thanks Mike Farmer from Insane Designs / Charles Armstrong / Jerid Ludwig of Majestic Auto Body / Eric at Third World Customs / Billet Accessories Direct / Matt and Mark from Exotic Effects / Subculture / Mike's wife April and daughter Mikala - without them, none of this would be possible