July 1995 Volume 9 Number 7
A recent discussion came up between a friend and myself about fabrication versus details. Has one replaced the other? Are the details still as abundant as the extreme fabrication we see in current trends? Don’t get me wrong, details are abundant in many vehicle genres including minitruckin’, but are they as abundant as extreme engineering and fabrication? Maybe we can blame the insane price of raw materials used in the fabrication process for yielding to a broke ass builder, in return, not leaving much coin for those details. Anyone who has visited a chrome plating facility recently knows the insane cost for some of the details I mention. Same goes for a visit to the paint supplier; a few rolls of quality tape, body fillers, primers and sealers can leave a guy in the parking lot gasping for air after paying the bill. Have we, the custom enthusiast, decided to sacrifice some of the details or final touches for other things? Is this why banging audio systems have made their way to the wayside?
The thought of highly detailed minis took me to a pile of archives. I didn’t take long before I was reminded of a mini that blew most of us away in the mid-’90s. It had all the goods: fab work, paint, graphics, accessories, chrome, performance, modifications, and plenty of small details. This is one of those trucks that was built by a perfect, tasteful, punch-list. Matt Stevenson’s ’88 Toyota, “Too Many Mods”, was featured in July 1995, Volume 9, Number 7 (pages 54-58).
After reading the article and revisiting the spread, I got to thinking that maybe the truck should have been named “Too Many Details”. Can a truck really have too many details? Never! Stevenson’s Toyota was detailed from top to bottom, inside and out. Concepts handled the abundance of body mods including plenty of shaved goodies, suicide doors, side tilt hood, frenched antenna, shaved cowl, shaved tail lights and 4x4 front end, just to name a few. Some of the accessories on the punch-list include a Sprint shell, sliding rag, chrome tube grille and sunroof. Doug Starbuck and the guys at Starbuck’s handled the classic graphic-style heartbeat and stripes. Keeping the truck closer to the ground is a classic lowered suspension, Stillen ground effects, and 16-inch American Racing billet-style wheels.
Though the body mods and accessories are extreme with a modest look, the major aspect of detailing is hidden when the truck is closed up—places that seem to be a forgotten land of detail for many these days. Every nut, bolt, bracket, and gizmo was chrome-plated inside the engine bay and under the chassis, including a polished transmission. The frame was shaved then treated to color-matched paint. Brake lines, brackets, and suspension were either treated to a coat of paint or chrome. The underhood area was treated to plenty of chrome, paint, polishing, and performance goods, and the shaved firewall and sheetmetal fenders clean the engine bay’s appearance. Dual side-draft carbs, along with steel braided hoses, header, and chrome give the engine bay the sparkle of a jewelry-like luster. The interior boasts what seems to be miles of tweed and vinyl, and the walk-thru, custom bucket seats, along with a custom built shaved dash, and VDO gauges add class and simplicity that give Stevenson’s Toyota a simple, clean look.
After looking at the centerfold for quite a while, I was saddened that many of the details under the truck were never photographed. Many photos of the truck on display in adjacent years to the July 1995 issue give us hope that many folks were able to see this beautiful machine on display in person. While doing a bit of research on the truck, I was surprised to hear that it’s still around occupying some garage space. We would love to see the truck at a show. One could only hope that many more of these trucks are collecting dust somewhere, and one can only hope that the existence of these trucks isn’t a pipe dream or urban legend.
Until next time, build to be original, not acceptable!