1996 Toyota Tacoma
Saint Albans, WV
La Segunda Venida-The Second Coming-is a fitting description for Brandon Perry's '96 Tacoma. It has been built up, torn down, and rebuilt for this, its grand reincarnation.
When a kid first gets into custom vehicles, he or she is usually hooked by the sheer excitement of seeing something cool and different. This excitement usually grows into nonstop wrenching on one's own ride in the parents' driveway, installing aftermarket parts that will make it stand out. With enough determination, a slim percentage of these kids wind up completely tearing their vehicles apart and transforming them into showstoppers, while others who lack the skill and mindset find a local shop that can do the work for them. For Brandon, the thought of letting someone customize any vehicle of his never crossed his mind. At 16 years old, he tore apart his Cutlass and installed hydraulics with nothing more than basic tools and the shelter of his parents' garage. He knew instantly he had the knack for doing his own custom work. Driving around in his crazy creation didn't last long since he kept getting pulled over for hopping it all around town, so in '99 his dad co-signed with him to buy a stock '96 Tacoma with the stipulation that it HAD to remain stock. The purchase was made, and Brandon headed back to the house and bolted on a set of 14-inch wire wheels and stuffed two 12-inch subs behind the seats before his parents returned home from dinner. Let's just say his dad was more than a little pissed, but knowing it was something his son was into, he helped Brandon juice it six months later.
Having the drive in him to be a custom builder at such a young age, Brandon enrolled in a paint and body class and used this Toyota as a guinea pig. It was the first vehicle he completely shaved and painted. This only kept his custom urges at bay for a short time, so the next phase was to ditch the hydros and install a set of airbags-but this still wasn't enough, so the floor was cut to make way for a bodydrop. All of this was done during his limited free time at home from sea while serving in the U.S. Navy. By the time his five-year tour of duty was over in early '05, a good chunk of the body modifications had been finished. After that, it sat in primer awaiting his move back home to West Virginia, where it sat for another year due to a lack of adequate workspace. By '06, he was finally in a house where he could work on the truck again, so it was busted apart and the doors were set on suicide mode, the bed got a full sheetmetal treatment, and the interior was painted and covered in tweed. In September '06, it was shot for its first spread in Mini Truckin' (Mar. '07). It was driven and dragged on a daily basis for about two more years before it was torn back apart to have all the abuse repaired and the body smoothed over one more time in preparation for a new paintjob inside and out a mere seven days before it left on a 1,300-mile round trip to the '08 RA All-Star Event. That was the last show anyone has seen this truck in that form.