Santa Rosa, CA
When it comes to truly historical minitrucks there are a handful that come to mind. But one of the craziest trucks ever built, which literally sparked the interest of the nation, is the Bob Grant Twisted Metal Toy-Blazer creation.
When I personally first laid eyes on this truck back in 1996 my whole world was changed! I became instantly addicted to minitrucks, especially Toyotas, and I sleeplessly followed this very magazine and all of the cool builds that graced its pages. But this truck has a rich history even before then.
Bob Grant from Grant Kustoms first picked up this 1982 Toyota in a trade for a CD player back in 1993 (back then, CD players were a hot ticket). He tinkered with it here and there but used it as a parts hauler carrying truck loads of his hand-fabbed sheetmetal parts to FBI and Alter Images.
Being Bob Grant, he couldn't exactly drive a stock truck forever so he cut right to the point and body-dropped it while it was still static-dropped. He drove it bodied and static-dropped for another month or two before he tore back into it to airbag it. Steve Neilson and Bob 'bagged the truck together and Bob added a 4-Runner rear bumper and shaved the bed rail. Bob was having a ton of fun tinkering with his Toy when he could, and eventually it was up to par to take to it's first show (pre-Blazer roof). Bob worked for over 48 hours straight on the truck before the show and was so exhausted that on the way home it got the best of him. He dozed off for a second and when he looked back up he was headed through a guard rail. The truck was smashed, the front end and frame were toast, and a very fitting name for this minitruck legend was born: Twisted Metal.
This is where the story of this fated mini takes a turn. Bob sold Twisted Metal and bought the Tacoma (that he eventually turned into the all-metal Roadster Taco) and body-dropped it to the doors. Then the new owner of Twisted Metal wanted an S-10 Bob had, so he traded back for it and Bob got a new frame along with the trade. This time around Bob had a vision and wanted to further twist some metal, so he began to piece it back together, adding an entire 4-Runner front end, 4x4 flares, and primed the whole truck. Now his vision was really coming to life and Bob was determined to build a minitruck like none other. To complete the truck's given name of Twisted Metal, Bob cut the roof off of a 1985 Blazer and began to work his magic mating it to the 1982 Toyota cab. To make it all work and look like a factory mod (which was no easy undertaking) Bob shortened the overall wheelbase 6 inches and hand-built the quarter panels, a rear combo, a new floor, and molded in '88-'98 Chevy taillights. He also cut a giant hole in the roof to utilize a full-length sliding ragtop. And suddenly Twisted Metal was no longer a truck, but became a rolling work of art. That year Bob took the truck to West Coast Nationals 1999 (more than ten years ago) and as he rolled into the show grounds it was like Moses parting the Red Sea. Bob rolled through the ST and NC camp and instantly found home. His hard work was really starting to pay off, and Grant Kustoms and the amazing metal work of Bob Grant had reached a new height in the custom world.
After that, Bob's workload had more than doubled and it was hard for him to find time to work on his own truck, unfortunately the Toyota was pushed to the back burner. As the saying goes, the shoe maker's daughter goes barefoot, right? Eventually Bob got an offer he couldn't refuse and traded his pride and joy for a 1957 Nomad, a 1955 four-door Chevy wagon, a 1957 Chevy two-door wagon, and two parts cars. The next phase of Twisted Metal's existence was through Jeremy Mosley, a member of Bob's Severed Ties Nor Cal chapter. Jeremy bought the truck from Kevin shortly after Bob traded it away to him and had plans of giving the Toy-Blazer the finishing touches. After getting it up and running, fine-tuning the suspension, and driving it to a few shows, Jeremy also ran out of the time and money necessary to see this project through to the finish. Jeremy ended up trading Twisted Metal for a past MT feature truck from Dave Prater.
Bob Grant traded a...
Bob Grant traded a CD player for the 1982 Toyota.
Bob body-dropped the...
Bob body-dropped the truck and drove it static and bodied for a couple months before he and Steve 'bagged it.
Bob worked two days...
Bob worked two days straight to get the truck ready for the Below Sea Level show and fell asleep on the way back from the show totaling the truck.
The trading begins....
The trading begins. Bob sold the truck, then traded and got it back with a new frame. Bob grafted in a 4-Runner front end, 4x4 fender flares, and primed the truck tan.
Bob cut the roof off...
Bob cut the roof off of a 1985 Blazer and mated it to the 1982 Toyota cab. To make it all work and look like a factory mod, Bob shortened the overall wheelbase 6 inches and hand-built the quarter panels, a rear combo, a new floor, and molded in '88-'98 Chevy taillights. He also cut a giant hole in the roof to utilize a full-length sliding ragtop.
Bob traded a body-drop...
Bob traded a body-drop for the Porshe Red paintjob and hand-built a custom bumper right before the Severed Ties Octoberfest show.
Bob traded the truck away for a final time.
Jeremy Mosley began to bring the Toyota back to life slowly but surely.
Jeremy traded it to...
Jeremy traded it to Dave Prater from FFF who spent four months straight to finally complete Twisted Metal Once and for all.
Dave Prater from the Nor Cal Forbidden Fantasy chapter was on a mission and was the final piece to this puzzle. He wanted to make sure that this iconic minitruck finally got the recognition it deserved and wanted to finish Twisted Metal for all to see. He worked a deal with Jeremy and traded his past Mini Truckin' Toyota feature truck for the 1982 Toy-Blazer. Jeremy had already put some work into the truck, helping to bring it back to life, but Dave had a plan of attack to finish it in full hot-rod fashion once and for all. With the help of Cheese and some of his other FFF club buddies, Dave tore Twisted Metal apart and began to go to work. Building an all-metal hot-rod style dash and center console, detailing the motor and suspension, and prepping the body for a smooth black paint job, Dave wasn't messing around. Dave teamed up with Victor Monge of R&A the Autopolster and Bill Flynn to wrap the seats, door panels, and finish off the interior with a clean tan hot-rod feel. Dave spent a solid four months making sure everything was straight and giving Twisted Metal the overhaul that it deserved. Dave sprayed the Toyota with a deep black that accented the amazing metal work performed by Bob Grant. After a long four months, Dave and his buddies stood back and knew they had finally brought this historic mini back to life.
Twisted Metal is finally complete after more than 15 years in the making. Even though this truck has been in the hands of many, it was Dave who took on the challenge head first and vowed completion. Being Dave's first cover truck, this is truly an accomplishment. As he's had a few trucks grace these pages we know we haven't seen the last of him and his crew. For more information and pics on this trucks history check out the Timeline along with the Lowdown.
18-inch Boss Wheels
215/35ZR18 low pros
Suspension Front: 'Bagged
Suspension Rear: 'Bagged and four-linked
Compressor: Viair 480
Frame Mods: C-notch, wheelbase shortened 6 inches
Shaved: A bunch
Body Mods: 1982 Toyota cab, 1985 Chevy Blazer roof, hand-built quarter panels, custom rear combo, '88-'98 Chevy taillights, 4x4 sheetmetal flares, 1993 4-Runner headlights, corner lights grille and bumper, shaved cowl, extended hood corners, Ford Escort door handles, and a giant sliding rag top
Performed By: Bob Grant, Chezze, Jeremy Mosle, and Dave Prater
Brand and Colors: Standox Deep Black
Performed By: Sparky's Collision Center in Santa Rosa, CA
Seats: Toyota truck trimmed down and wrapped in leather
Dash: Custom metal dash and center console built by Chezze and owner
Gauges: Hot-rod style
Misc.: Custom panels throughout
Performed By: Victor Monge of R&A The Autopholster Shop in Bakersfield, CA
Head Unit: Sony
Mids and Highs: MB Quart
Performed By: Bill Flynn
Detail Work: Painted block, Webber Carburetor, LC Engineering valve cover and billet wire loom, billet pulleys, billet oil cap
Performed By: Owner and Andy Lavelle
Special Thanks From Owner:
"I would like to thank my girlfriend Holly, Jeremy Mosle, Cheeze, Zach Peters, Bob Grant, Doug Bigone, the crew at Sparky's Collision, Luie Guerrero, and Guerrero Brothers Auto Body, Chad and Bill and my whole club FFF for the support. Smog rich, we did it again!"