Thomas Matzke has owned more than one custom truck in his lifetime. He's been the owner of a '94 Isuzu, '98 BMW, and a few others throughout the years. When he decided he wanted another truck to work on, he bought a '95-1/2 Toyota Tacoma from a friend with some modifications already intact. The only problem was the truck was in about 20 crates and boxes. Because the truck was in so many pieces and purchased so cheap, Thomas couldn't resist the urge to take his game to the next level.

Thomas decided to do something that people were talking about, but had never done. Upon receiving the truck, Thomas was working out a deal on the phone with Chase Shiver, the owner of Real Life Kustoms (RLK) in Camilla, Georgia. The only two requests that Thomas had were: he wanted 20-inch wheels with a stock-floor body-drop and he wanted to keep the V-6, along with the factory A/C. Chase said it was a done deal and 10 months later, he had what he asked for.

The truck was then taken to RLK, where Chase went to work fulfilling his part to get the truck to where Thomas wanted it. The chassis was cut off at the firewall and a new 3/4 chassis was fabricated to keep as much headroom as possible. The front of the frame had to get Z'd in order to lay the front down over the 20-inch rolling stock. Chase also tubbed the firewall and relocated the clutch master cylinder, so it would never come into contact with the tires while laid out. Then, Chase completely sheetmetaled the bed and tubbed the bed using trailer fenders.

Since Chase fulfilled his promise, it was time for Thomas to design an interior. For this, he turned to Steve "Biggi" Colley in Ocala, Florida. The interior was completely gutted. Tons of time was spent smoothing everything out and prepping it to be painted the same bright blue as the exterior. Nothing was left alone that could be unbolted and smoothed for painting. Everything else in the interior was wrapped in blue and gray leather for an ultra-clean look.

Since finishing the work on the Taco, Thomas has been all over the place, showing off the ideas he was able to bring to reality. With the help of friends and shops, Thomas has put together a ride that gets attention wherever it goes. The number of trophies that he has had to haul back home with him every time he attends a show speak for themselves. From the looks of things, we're hoping he has room for them all. There's likely to be a lot more on the way this coming show season.

The Lowdown
Rolling Attire

Wheels (Front/Rear): 20x7-1/2-inch American Racing Casino
Backspace (Front/Rear): +42mm
Tires (Front/Rear): 225/30R20 Nankang Ultra Sport , 225/35R20 Nankang Ultra Sport

Chassis Modifications
Suspension type:
Air
Suspension (Front/Rear): DJM tubular A-arms, flipped ball joints, and an RLK two-link
Airbag/cylinder type and size: (Front/Rear): SlamSpecialties RS-7
Control arms: DJM modified uppers
Spindles/springs: Stock
Shocks: Toxic
Valves: Eight SRI valves
Compressors: Two Viair 380c
Air line: 1/2-inch DOT
Air/hydro accessories: 7-gallon reserve air tank
Frame mods: 3/4-inch custom chassis, Z'd front suspension, and tubular 'bag mounts
Frame material: 2x3x.250 tube steel
Gas tank: RCI racing fuel cell with factory sending unit
Brakes: Stock
Detail work: SEM color-matched frame
Performed by: Chase Shiver at Real Life Kustoms (RLK)
City/state: Camilla, GA

Body Modifications
Shaved:
Doors, corners markers, antenna, and 3rd brake light
Body-dropped: 3-1/4 inches
Front end: Phantom billet grille on top and bottom
Back end: Full Grant skin with custom RLK LED lights
Taillights: Semi LED ovals
Misc.: GTO Snorkel grafted hood by Shane "Takes a Long Time"Thompson
Performed by: Chase Shiver at RLK
City/state: Camilla, GA

Paint
Brand and colors:
Daytona Blue
Style: Single color
Performed by: Chase Shiver at RLK
City/state: Camilla, GA

Interior
Seats:
'98 Toyota Celica buckets
Material: Blue and gray leather
Dash: Fiberglass
Door panels: Leather with fiberglass inserts
Center console: Sheetmetal console
Flooring: Gray carpet
Headliner: Gray leather
Gauges: Cyberdyne digital gauges
Misc.: Colorado Customs flame steering wheel
Performed by: Dale Meeks, Steve "Biggi"Colley
City/state: Tampa, FL; Ocala, FL

Stereo
Head unit:
Panasonic CD
Mids and highs: Four Audiobahn 5-1/4-inch separates
Amplifier for mids and highs: Audiobahn
Subwoofers: Two Audiobahn Dub Series
Amplifier for subwoofers: Audiobahn
Wiring/accessories: StreetWires
Video:7-inch TV in-dash
Custom fabrication: Custom-made sub enclosure
Performed by: Steve "Biggi" Colley
City/state: Ocala, FL

Engine/Performance
Displacement:
3.4L 190 hp
Model/Year: '95 1/2
Number of cylinders: Six
Intake: Hi-Tec intake adaptor plate
Rearend type: '92 Toyota HiLux rearend
Battery: Optima
Location: Under bed
Inner fenders: Tubbed
Misc.: Intake flipped 180-degree intake and custom-built by RLK for stock hood to clear
Performed by: Chase Shiver at RLK
City/state: Camilla, GA

Special Thanks By Owner:
Thanks to Chase and Becky at Real Life Kustoms in Camilla, GA, to my brothers and sisters in AcrophobiA, Dale Meeks at Xzibit Upholstery, Biggi in Ocala for the glass work, Williamson's Repair, East Coast Tires in North Carolina, Shane for the $200 hood, my wife and my punkin' for not understanding, however tolerating me during this build and putting up with all of the late nights and many weekends away from home. In memory of Paul Bullis and Danny Rowe, and all of our fallen brothers.

  • «
  • |
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • View Full Article