Alfonso "Fonz" Memije Jr.
1998 Toyota Tacoma
We love to hear stories about young guys ripping into their daily drivers and sorting out the mess as it unfolds. Now, this might not be the most considerate way to treat your only mode of reliable transportation, but for Alfonso "Fonz" Memije Jr., things worked out better than he'd ever imagined.
From the age of 12, Alfonso knew exactly what he wanted to ride around the SoCal streets in. After seeing his first customized mini-a Nissan Hardbody on hydros- he's been continually crafting his '98 Tacoma over a four-year stretch just so he could whip around in a custom cruiser of his very own. Not having much money to spend on hiring professional hands, Alfonso cleared out his parents' garage, bought a Sawzall, and in a matter of a few days, he found himself at the point of no return.
With the guidance of Art Gomez of GO-EZ Customs, an initial plan to 'bag the truck was devised and carried through, but Alfonso was dissatisfied with the results after taking his Taco to a few shows and seeing trucks laying out much lower than his. This case of "altitude envy" forced him to once again make room in the family garage in order to tear down the truck and prep it for an emergency bodydrop procedure. The process spanned over the next seven months, but Alfonso got what he was after-a highway-hugging stance, full use of interior climate controls, and 20s tucking at each corner.
Although we make it sound like the bodydrop process was simple and clean-cut, keep in mind that this was Alfonso's first attempt at conducting a hack job of this magnitude. A few bumps and detours did present themselves, but one instance in particular had us cringing with second-hand pain and terror.
Instead of rehashing and diluting the tale, we'll let Alfonso tell you all about it in his own words: "When I was welding the floor, I noticed there was a piece of carpet on fire. It had slipped through a crack near one of the cuts I had made with the Sawzall, and I started panicking because it was near the gas tank. I stuck my hand through the crack to pull out the piece of carpet that was burning, but since the hole had jagged edges, my hand got stuck. I started freaking out even more and kept thinking to myself, I'm stuck here, and I'm gonna burn with this stupid truck!"
Luckily, Alfonso managed to free his hand, but not without slicing open a vein in it, which sent blood squirting everywhere. Accidents like this happen all too often, and Alfonso learned a couple of things from his brush with danger. First, keep a fire extinguisher handy at all times. Secondly, hand injuries usually mean not being able to work on your truck for a few days. We get the feeling he was more bummed about the lost time than the loss of blood.
When the smoke cleared and the wounds healed, Alfonso found himself behind the wheel and switches of a legit, street-certified mini. And, best of all, he has the pride and confidence that comes only with building a killer custom from scratch.
For more info on Alfonso's 20-inch-tucking Tacoma, look at the Lowdown.
225/35/20 Nitto Neo-Gen
Suspension (front): ContiTech 2500 'bags and custom spindles
Suspension (rear): Four-link back-half and Universal Air Double Play 'bags
Control Arms: Custom-fabbed upper arms
Compressor(s): Two Viair 380Cs
Air/Hydro Accessories: Five-gallon air tank
Frame Mods: Back-half features 2x3 box tubing
Misc.: Custom trans crossmember, most wires running through frame, and still have working A/C and heater
Performed By: Owner
Shaved: Door handles, hood squirters, third brakelight, gas door, antenna, rollpan, and tailgate handle
Bodydrop: 3 1/2 inches
Body Mods: '97 grille and front bumper, '03 corners, and '03 taillights
Bolt-ons: Billet wiper covers
Misc.: Bedfloor lifted, tubbed, and sprayed with a custom spray liner
Performed By: Owner
Paint & Body
Custom mixture of Lexus Desert Sage
Has flake that can only be seen in the sun
Oscar & Sons Garage
Seats: 4Runner bucket seats wrapped in tweed
Dash: Fiberglass and painted
Door Panels: Custom-made and wrapped in tweed,
Misc.: Colorado Customs billet steering wheel, billet window cranks, tiki head knob, and headliner wrapped in tweed
Performed By: Owner; upholstery by Oscar & Sons Garage
Head Unit: Pionner DEH-p7000ub
Mids & Highs: Clif Designs 6 1/2 front and rear
Subwoofers: Two 10-inch Kicker L7s
Amplifiers: Kicker KX 1200.1
Misc.: Custom fiberglass center console that goes to rear of ex cab, and Kinetik battery
Performed By: Owner, Rob at South County Autosound
Engine: Stock 2.4L 2RZ
Intake: Custom intake with K&N filter
Header/exhaust: Stock headers cut and shortened
Transmission: Five-speed manual
Rearend Type: Stock shortened 4 inches total
Performed By: Owner
Special Thanks From Owner
"Thanks to my mom and dad for putting up with all the noise I made in the garage, my girlfriend Judy for supporting my truck habit, Oscar & Sons Garage, Art Gomez at GO-EZ, South County Autosound, my brother Omar for cleaning my wheels before the photo shoot, and Mini Truckin' for making my dream a reality."