I drive about 70 miles each way to work everyday, and with gas prices these days eventually my wallet was going to give. The Raider just wasn't cutting it as far as miles per gallon, or looks for that matter. So, I decided I wanted to buy a new project to get me to and from work. I wanted to buy something somebody had already 'bagged, to save some money on buying most parts. What I bought was a real beater. It was somebody else's project and had pretty much seen its good days already. It had a really crappy four-link that wasn't set up properly, the compressors were fried, the gas tank was strapped into the bed, and the valves and switches were disconnected. You had to air up each 'bag individually with an air chuck to air it up. What a pain!

So, we decided to build this truck in order to show a good example of some of the steps that will help you get into the pages of the magazine. The trick for me was I don't have a lot of time and too many projects already, so I laid out my plan, set up my budget, and gave myself a 90-day limit. Now, I wasn't going to try and tackle this thing at my house. I went to my buddies and close friends and we devised a plan to take it to other shops and get the work done as cheaply and quickly as possible.

So, here goes the break down:

1. What to Buy?
I knew I wanted to spend less than $4,000 on the ride, itself. I also knew I wanted a Tacoma. I had a Tacoma back in '99, when I had a love/hate relationship with Tacos. I loved how it looked, but I hated how it rode. It had a really crappy 'bag job. When I got the editor position here, at MT, I fell in love with a truck named Chump Change, so I knew a Tacoma was in order for me. I love those fat headlights and sultry curves.

2. The Plan
I would build this truck as a simple daily driver show truck. That's a lot of things all wrapped up in one tiny truck, trust me, I know. But, I wanted to build a feature-worthy truck that was also a reliable daily driver. I would need to be body dropped, painted, have a full interior, and a really clean motor. And yes, I know, a body-drop isn't a necessity, but it's something important as far as looks, and so I added that to the plan. I didn't want to fight stuffing big wheels into the truck, because I didn't want to lose the air conditioning. After all, this is Southern California, and we get some intense temperatures during the summer.

3. The Time Limit
I would build this truck in 90 days or fewer. The reason I gave myself a time limit was to prevent it from turning into one of those crazy projects that end up a full build. I've been down this path before, this time I wouldn't let myself slip up. I also really wanted to drive this truck and save some money on gas. So, I called a couple of shops I knew that could get this done in a timely manner.

4. First Things First
The truck was a disaster, as far as the rear suspension was concerned. It had a horrible pinion-angle problem and rode pretty crappy. Steve from Kant Trust Emz went with me to buy the truck. It was a good price, and had some good features to it. The best feature to me was it was already back-halved. Steve told me he could four-link the truck for me in three days. I would need to spend some money on steel, but I would save money on 'bags and shocks. The truck also had valves, but they were disconnected; nevertheless they were there, so they would also be used.