F-BOMB | 1988 Toyota Mini Truck on 20″ Billet Specialties wheels

An Apt Name for This Project Truck

 As with many of us in the automotive scene, the love for custom cars and trucks started at an early age. This was definitely the case for John Byrne of Surprise, Arizona. John and his wife Denise are the owners of this stunning 1988 Toyota pickup, which has quite an amazing story.

“The whole build started off with me wanting to build the truck that I have always wanted when I got into the scene back in the late 1980s,” John says. “Then, well, it turned into us wanting to build a show-worthy truck out of a garage.”

It’s not what you can buy. It’s what you can build.  

John and his friends did just that.

John had huge plans for the Toyota pickup, so he decided it would require a frame-off restoration to build the truck of his dreams. Luckily for John, he has some amazing friends who were right there to help him throughout the process.

“The Toyota was built by six people, and four out of the six are my next-door neighbors,” he says.


One of the neighbors, Ryan Johnston, immediately got the truck stripped all the way down to the frame.

“Ryan completely designed and engineered the frame from the ground up along with the suspension,” John says. “The truck would not be what it is without him.”

Once they developed the general idea for the frame, the sparks started flying as they welded everything together. Ryan created the custom front bag mounts along with the bag-on-bar-triangulated 4-link in the rear. He also designed and built a custom transmission crossmember. They then made custom-mounted battery boxes so they could relocate the battery and gas tank.

When the frame was complete, Rob Olin stepped up to paint the frame. Rob laid down the bright Starfire Orange paint to really showcase the overall design. Ryan Barnes was also part of the team in helping to put together the suspension components. They installed Slam Specialties SS6s in the front and Slam Specialties SS7s in the rear. John upgraded to Fox Ridetech shocks in the front and KYB shocks in the rear.

Once the bags were in place, they routed the air lines for the Accuair E-Level kit. John was able to keep the stock Toyota 22R straight-four motor under the hood. He did have to narrow the rear drive axle 1 inch. They upgraded the front and rear brakes to Wilwood and installed 11.56-inch drilled and slotted rotors. John also upgraded to a Toyota 4Runner master cylinder.

John and his friends spent many long nights in the garage building the truck of his dreams. As for the name, well John explains it best.

“We initially tossed around a few different names, but they were more of a joke,” he says. “With that being said, my wife had gone to a local craft show and found a raw steel ‘F-Bomb’ bottle opener that she gave to me and said that’s what I should name the truck. She had ‘a few’ times during the build referred to the truck as that f-ing truck. OK, maybe it was more than a few times, but after thinking about it, it just seemed to fit. I took the bottle opener to Kenny and he painted the F-Bomb bottle opener the same color as the truck, and the rest is history.”


With the framework done, John and his friends could finally start putting the exterior parts back together. They installed a ’88-’91 Isuzu pickup bumper to really give the truck a completely different look. Ryan Johnston and Ryan Barnes created custom-fabricated inner fenders for the front and rear. Once the fenders were installed, they started working on the body lines of the truck.

They shaved the windshield washer nozzles, door handles, gas tank filler, and the tailgate. They were then able to raise the bed floor so they could fabricate the custom inner bedsides and hatch.

With the exterior moving right along, it was time for a new set of wheels for the truck. John decided on a set of 20-inch Billet Specialties BLVD 87 wheels wrapped in Neuton NT5000s, and man, do they look good! Kenny Leoni of Phoenix completed all of the bodywork necessary for a perfectly smooth paint job.

Speaking of paint, the paintwork on the F-Bomb stands out in the crowd! Kenny worked his magic and painted the truck with Toyota Super White paint. Once painted, he sprayed PPG 2021 clearcoat down and added a special-formula flake that really made the truck shine. Under the hood, Rob painted the engine accessories in Starfire Orange to match the frame.

Once the paint was completed, the crew moved to the interior. With the drastic changes John and his friends made on the exterior, he knew he had to bring his A-game with the interior design. John called up Domonic Dominguez to complete the overhaul on the interior.

“Domonic is a one-man show and works out of his garage at his house,” John says. “He was able to transform the interior into a masterpiece!”

We couldn’t have said it better! He started by removing all of the interior components so that he could start with a blank canvas. He decided to swap the seats for Toyota 4Runner seats. Domonic then wrapped the seats in mango Morbern Allante vinyl with gray inserts to really stand out from the white paintjob.

With the seats bolted back up, he moved on to the dash. Domonic wrapped the dash and center console to match the seats. The console had been custom built to house the Accuair E-Level controller and cup holders.

Next up were the door panels, which show off Domonic’s true talent. The panels were custom built and wrapped to match the rest of the interior. The gray vinyl and metal inserts were then added to really bring depth to the panels. The billet window cranks were installed to finish off the door panels. He installed a Boyd Rogue steering wheel to finish off the dash.

“The F-Bomb theme is carried throughout the truck from the shifter to the door props and the actual bomb,” John says.


Domonic was then able to focus all of his attention to the audio system. He first installed a Pioneer AVH-X4800BS double-din radio and then installed the Polk Audio component speakers in the doors. Domonic drew out and built the custom subwoofer box for the two JL 10W3 subwoofers. The box was also designed so that the Rockford Fosgate amps could be showcased on the box. With the box completed, he was able to draw up a design for two additional speaker pods on the back of the cab.

John was now ready to rock out to music while cruising the highways and skatin’ the ground!

After 2.5 years, the build was finally finished.

“This was truly a frame-off restoration custom build and every nut and bolt was touched in some way (cleaned, painted, or chromed),” John says. “The entire truck was built out of a garage, from the fabrication to the body and paint and upholstery.”

John and his family travel across the United States to show off the F-Bomb. After being in the scene since the 1980s, John’s love for the truck scene runs deep.

“I learned that my friends and I have a true passion for the custom truck scene, especially when you know that you will never get a return on your investment, but you have the satisfaction of knowing that you hand built an amazing truck,” John says. “It’s not what you can buy. It’s what you can build.”

In the end, it really is all about the F-Bomb details!


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