The road to any worthwhile destination will be filled with wheel-mangling potholes, detours, and misleading signs and directions. It's to be expected, and once that realization is made, all the bullsh*t becomes more bearable.
When we last heard from John Miller, he was in the process of scheming how to turn the pre-modified '99 4Runner he had purchased into something that better spoke to his vision of the ideal mini. He was pleased with the truck's initial condition however, or else he wouldn't have shelled out the clams to call it his. There was just something about cruising around in someone else's idea of what the truck could be that constantly nagged John to exit the highway he was on, and head off into a direction all his own. "When I bought the 'Runner, I knew it had to be redone. It was only a matter of time. I loved it, but it had to truly be mine," John says.
The Toyota was yanked off the street and parked for an extended period of time—5 months to be exact. It had been operating at full capacity with no problems or quirks to report. It was simply time for it to become something different, to transform into something that it always could be. John shot for the stars and locked a SEMA spot down for the 4Runner while the rebuild was barely evolving from the idea stage. "I should've given myself more time to get the truck ready for Vegas", he admits, but he had the right group of guys to help make it happen. "Throughout the 5 months, there were some weird things that happened, but the things that stand out the most is when that electrical fire started under the hood, and when there was a police raid on one of the shops we were in. The truck's been a source of many heated arguments and laughs, and it has led me to some great new friends." Blazing a new trail isn't always as scary as it first appears.
With a dedicated and talented team of fabricators and painters behind him, John started looking into his financial obligations to get the refurbishment started. John's the type of guy who has a few cars in his stable at any given time—except the present. In order to pay for the refurbishment, a few adjustments to the fleet had to be made, "I had to sell all of my other rides (and soul) to pay for this rebuild." No man really needs more than a few vehicles in his possession, and in this case, there were no other options other than dumping everything into one basket. "Once we started with the bodywork, paint, and graphics, it set the one for what else had to be done. When one thing changed, I decided to change another. When we quit, there was a completely different truck sitting there before us."
John was able to maneuver around a few obstacles in the road over the 5 months he spent frantically scrambling to reach his route to the success, but he also smacked into a couple head-on. That much was inevitable. Luckily, we have the opportunity to report yet another happy ending and predict that the coasting will be clear for Mr. Miller from here on out.
… I knew it had to be redone. It was only a matter of time.
1999 Toyota 4Runner
John Miller • Sedalia, MO • No Regrets
Wheels: 20-inch Bonspeed Quasar
Suspension (front): '93 Toyota drop spindle, Slam Specialties SS6 'bags
Suspension (rear): Texas two-link, Slam Specialties SS6 'bags
Control Arms: Custom tubular upper and lowers
Compressor(s): Two Air Zenith
Frame Mods: Full 2x3 frame
Brakes: Slotted and drilled
Misc.: Custom steering linkage
Performed By: Rocky Fox, Kenneth Richard, owner
Shaved: Door handles, license plate box, roof rack, gas door, running boards
Body Mods: '04 Toyota front clip and license plate box built into rear bumper
Suicide Doors: Never on a first date
Bolt-ons: Clear headlights, corner, and bumper lights, billet grille insert
Misc.: Gas door relocated behind taillight
Performed By: Tweez and Chico Shaw
Brand & Colors: Standox base and BMW Pewter
Misc.: Gold and copper leaf, and tons of graphics
Performed By: Chico and the Men Kustoms, Sprengel's Innovative Kustoms
Seats: Stock fronts cut down, handbuilt rears, all wrapped in leather and suede
Dash: Painted to match
Misc.: Dash pieces, top of console dipped to look like wood grain
Performed By: A&B Auto Trim, Liquid Designs, owner
Head Unit: Kenwood
Mids & Highs: Orion XTR components
Subwoofers: 12-inch Orion XTR Pro
Amplifiers: Orion XTR 1500, Orion XTR 2504
Misc.: Rockford Fosgate 3Sixty digital processor for sound management
Performed By: NW Audio, Billy Albin, owner
Intake: Cold air
Rearend Type: '93 Toyota pickup
Detail Work: Painted and detailed
Misc.: Intake adapter to reverse plenum for hood clearance
Performed By: Kenneth Richard, Chico Shaw, owner
Special Thanks From Owner
"Thanks to my kids Keelan and Alyssa for giving up so much during this build and never complaining, my parents for helping with the kids and loaning me their truck whenever I needed it, Chico Shaw for being such an amazing painter and a better friend, thanks to Billy Albin for sticking with me on every single project, thanks to my club No Regrets, John Mata for motivating me even when I'm running late, thanks to Jason and the guys at Sprengel's Innovative Kustoms for going above and beyond to make this truck a work of art, thanks to Keith at Liquid Designs for all the late nights, Jerad Redders (RIP) for being there almost to the end helping me with new ideas and calling daily to push me harder, and to all the new friends I've made along the way."