A Clean, Custom
Readers, we’re gathered together to remember an iconic truck: this 1992 Toyota Hilux extra cab. It saw new purpose after a complete restoration by owner Chad Cooper and his crew of auto aficionados. The legacy it leaves behind is the comradery formed while finishing it before a tight deadline.
This Toyota Hilux was born in 1992, and it sports the fifth-generation redesign of the Hilux pickup truck series—and the last one imported in the United States. The Hilux was completely discontinued in the US and replaced by the Tacoma for the 1995 model year.
The legacy it leaves behind is the comradery formed while finishing it before a tight deadline.
That’s one reason why Chad, a member of No Regrets living in Magnolia, Texas, chose it. “I built this truck to restore an iconic truck,” he says simply.
Throughout the truck’s lifetime, it underwent a series of upgrades and mods by Chad and its previous owners. While under Chad’s care, however, it became the slammed stunner you see before you. He had a goal—debut this Hilux at SEMA—and he gave himself one year to do it. He knew it wasn’t going to be easy.
“I don’t know if ‘easy’ is a word any builder would use trying to debut a vehicle at SEMA for a booth,” he says with a laugh.
For the exterior mods, Chad added a grille and bumpers from a Toyota 4Runner and rebuilt fenders with flares from Grant Fabrication and Welding. It’s painted an almost iridescent Lexus Pearl White with Spirited Green PPG graphics, both of which were expertly applied by Matt Hutchinson from Riverside, California.
Under the hood, a 1992 Toyota 4-cylinder 22RE engine made this truck go, and it was built, balanced and blueprinted by LC Engineering out of Lake Havasu, Arizona. The crew there added a stage three turbo setup along with a full standalone Haltech computer and wire harnesses. Chad controlled the truck’s go via its stock 1992 transmission and Wilwood brakes front and back.
The Hilux’s chassis—specifically its front end—really made the truck special, Chad says. The custom frame came from metal fabricator Supreme Rod & Customs in Sacramento, California. The crew there installed Cando Specialties upper and lower control arms in front, and a Supreme Rod & Customs 4-link, tabs and mounts. Connecting it all the ground were Toyo tires wrapped around 20-inch Intro Spyder wheels.
The hand-built interior made this truck special, too. It had stock instruments and gauges and an Alpine stereo, but it had custom everything else, thanks to Joel Sadenwasser at Extreme Audio and Kustoms in central California. He reupholstered the seats and crafted a handmade fiberglass center console and speaker pods. Chad also had Bill Flynn at DFM Car Audio in Ukiah, California, create a custom rear sub enclosure with JL Audio components.
As with just about any build, the crew faced their share of problems as they raced to beat the deadline.
“We had fitment issue, problems with available parts, wiring concerns, going up in wheel size from 18s to 20s,” Chad says. “But we made it through thanks to having some of the best friends in the automotive world! Guys like Bob, Grant, Mike Alexander, Paul Chen, Bill Flynn, Chad Pickering and Shawn Altermott to list a few who helped to get it done!”
In the end, the Hilux made it to the SEMA show floor and happily basked among a convention center full of top-quality builds.
“We learned that with the help of good friends, even the hardest build timelines can be achieved,” Chad says.
Sadly, this gorgeous truck fell victim to a shop fire not long after its ultimate Vegas adventure, but its legacy still lives on in the relationships it helped to create. Let’s all take a moment to remember our builds, past and present, and how they shaped our lives.