Owner: Phil Ramirez
1998 Toyota Tacoma
Club: No Regrets
What happens when an editor at Mini Truckin' gets in over his head with too many projects? Well, sometimes he has to cut his losses and some of those projects never get finished.
This almost happened with the Tacoma project dubbed Rags to Riches. You might remember the tech articles on the low-budget build from a couple years back. The premise was to buy somebody's started project and finish it on a budget and make it a cool show truck/daily driver. As you may remember from some past show coverage shots, the truck did eventually get partially finished, hit the road for some good cruisin', and saw a few cops along the way; but it was never completely finished.
Here's a look at Rags to Riches when Ernie Macias owned it.
Luckily for this Toyota Tacoma along came Phil, a young minitrucker from Bakersfield, California. Phil is a member of No Regrets and it seems he had been paying attention to the idea of saving some money by taking on somebody's project, so he took advantage of a good situation. He jumped on the opportunity to buy the truck and finish it, because after all, a large portion of work and expenses had already been taken care of.
The truck was in overall great shape: body-dropped, back-halved, and pimped out, which was a great start. Phil had full intentions of re-doing the truck immediately to make it his own. It only took once for somebody to say, "Hey is that Ernie's truck?" to hurry along the changes. He set out to give Rags a complete makeover. He wanted to debut the truck at Summer Madness, a local three-day event in his hometown of Bakersfield. As with any show-driven deadline, that gave him and his friends only three full months to completely transform this Taco.
A few days and phone calls later, Phil assembled a talented team of friends to complete the truck in time for his show deadline. First in line would be one more simple and clean body mod. That's right, only one more body mod. While most minitruckers might make a laundry list of mods to do, Phil simply installed a Grant Kustoms roll pan to smooth out the back end.
That would be the easy part though, because his buddies, Bishop and Bodydrop, had the fun job of removing the candy flames and scallops off the truck. This was no easy task. After a few days of sanding and bodywork, the truck was ready for paint. Phil took the truck to Chris aka "Bodydrop's" shop to have another one of his friends handle the flawless red paintjob. With the body all slicked out and smooth, fellow club member,Victor got down on the interior and yes, all of this just in time for Summer Madness.
I can tell you that as the former owner of this truck it made me very proud to see the truck get finished and come out so gorgeous. Phil added his own flair and style, not only with his choice of paint and interior, but also by simply installing some KMC Alfs. Old-school wheels for a new-school truck. Phil definitely has proven that you can take a very recognizable truck and make it your own. Built not bought-how about bought and then finished?