It's the same old mini-truckin' story: Guy's friend has hot truck, so guy goes out and buys a truck just to hang out with his friends, but it doesn't just end there. So it was with Jason Samples, who began a seven year journey to build something subtle yet different and along the way learned a lot of lessons in what goes into a smokin' ride. Jason already had a semi-custom '94 S-10 extended cab under his belt when he bought his new 1996 Toyota Tacoma. His plan was to do just a few simple modifications to have a ride smooth enough to cruise with his friends.

After a few months of cruising the Taco happily on some 17-inch Niche Spitfire wheels and rolling low on 'bags, Jason ran into his friend Donny, who always seemed to have him one-up'd on the strip. To keep up with his friend, Jason rolled the Taco over to Jody Hall in Pikeville, Kentucky, for a little altitude adjustment in the form of a body drop and a custom rear frame clip made with 2x3 box tubing. Now that Jason was out rolling on a freshly body-dropped Taco and turning heads locally, it was time to hit up a few shows with his buddies. That's when Jason fully realized what it was going to take to turn this '96 into a real head-turner.

Jason rolled the truck in for the full shave job, including the door handles, tailgate, antennae, and hood squirters. Along the way he added some 4x4 sheetmetal and molded in the roll pan. After all the body mods were complete the truck was sprayed with a Suzuki Blue Metallic and Robbie Taylor of Tampa, Florida, applied some custom tribal graphics to the driver side of the Taco. To occupy his time while the truck was out for paint, Jason had the seats and various trim pieces sent out to Exotic Top & Trim for some coverage in blue tweed and ordered up some shiny billet pieces from Billet & Acrylic Fantasies. At some point after the truck was back from paint and the interior was going back together, along with some added tunes by the way of Alpine, Jason realized it still needed something to set it apart from the rest of the trucks on the strip. That's when Jason came across the EL Prototypes turbo kit for his Taco's 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, which pushes a healthy 6 psi of boost through the custom intake and cross-tube setup. Not happy with just having a clean engine compartment, Jason sent the valve covers, cross-tubes, intake, and several other under-the-hood pieces to Miller's Powdercoating for a custom blue coating.

Jason now had everything done to his truck that he could think of and was very pleased with the end result. He had a truck that would rail with the best of them and enough power to spank all of the imports and domestics that would dare try him at the lights. Jason would like to thank his wife, Kellie, for putting up with him and helping with the build; and also his friend Donnie for not only helping him with the build but for raising the bar with a little friendly competition so that he would make his Tacoma what it is today.

THE LOWDOWN
ROLLING ATTIRE
Wheels, front: 17x7-inch Niche Spitfire
Wheels, rear: 17x7-inch Niche Spitfire
Backspace, front: +39mm
Backspace, rear: +39mm
Tires, front: Falken 205/40ZR17
Tires, rear: Falken 205/40ZR17

CHASSIS MODIFICATIONS
Front suspension: Firestone 2500's
Rear suspension: Four-link, Firestone 2600's
Control arms: Stock with custom powdercoating
Shocks: Chrome Proshocks
Valves: 3/8-inch SMC
Air line: 3/8-inch
Air accessories: Dual scuba tanks
Frame mods: Custom rear frame clip by Jody Hall out of 2x3 box tube
Gas tank: Custom-built stainless steel
Detail work: Powdercoated all of the control arms, spindles, and backing plates
Performed by: Framework and body drop by Jody Hall City/state: Pikeville, Kentucky

BODY MODIFICATIONS
Shaved: Door handles, tailgate handle, antennae, hood squirters
Body-dropped: Yes
Front end: 4x4 fenders
Back end: Molded-in roll pan
Exterior bolt-ons: Clear front markers

PAINT
Brand and colors: Suzuki Blue Metallic with graphics in blue, green, orange, red, yellow, and purple
Style: Tribal on driver side only
Pinstriping: By hand
Performed by: Robbie Tyler
City/state:Tampa, Florida

INTERIOR
Seats: Stock bench covered in blue tweed
Dash: Stock covered in blue tweed
Door panels: Stock covered in blue tweed
Flooring: Color-matched carpet
Headliner: Blue tweed
Gauges: Stock with billet overlay
Misc: Billet steering wheel, Momo shifter, billet rearview mirror, custom pedals, and custom billet trim pieces
Performed by: Interior by Exotic Top & Trim
City/state: Lawrenceville, Georgia
Billet by: Billet & Acrylic Fantasies

STEREO
Head unit: Alpine
Mids & highs: JL Audio
Amplifier for mids & highs: Alpine V12
Subwoofers: Two 10-inch Boston subs
Amplifier for subwoofers: Alpine V12
Wiring/accessories: Stinger
Custom fabrication: Fiberglass sub box
Misc: Alpine EQ in dash
Performed by: Owner

ENGINE/PERFORMANCE
Turbo: EL Prototypes (Garrett)
Boost: 6 psi
Intake: EL Prototypes turbo intake
Inner fenders: Removed
Detail work: Powdercoated intake, valve cover, and cross-tubes; billet covers for all fluid caps; replaced all bolts with chrome bolts

SPECIAL THANKS
His wife for putting up, and helping, with the build; and his good friend Donny for all the help and inspiration