Text by Mike Self : Photos by Luke Munnell
Inspiration can take many forms and can sometimes come out of nowhere. Take Cesar Navarro and his ’16 Toyota Tacoma. Cesar had already built a rad Tundra a couple of years ago after getting bitten by the lifted truck bug, and he wanted to follow it up with a smaller, yet slightly wilder version by using a new Tacoma as a base. He really wanted a theme for the truck but was drawing a blank.
Then one day it hit him: Ever since he was a kid growing up in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, Cesar loved watching Mexican wrestling, known as Lucha Libre. His favorite luchador was always the legendary Demonio Azul, or “Blue Demon.” Known for being a strong and capable fighter, the Blue Demon was the perfect representation of what Cesar wanted his truck to be. And so, the Blue Demon truck was born.
Bulletproof Suspension’s big coil-over lift for Tacomas got Cesar’s truck way up in the air, and the optional Atlas Spring rear leaf springs offer plenty of travel
Cesar dove head-first into the build, bringing in some key players that lent their expertise. Roadwire Leather Interiors already had its seat upholstery patterns ready for the current generation Tacomas, but the company added some special touches for Cesar’s truck, including ostrich leather, diamond stitching and Blue Demon embroidery in the headrests. The rest of the interior got hooked up with plenty of painted accents, as well as an sPOD switch panel to control the Winjet LED lighting.
The exterior of the Tacoma was originally blue, so you’ll notice many of the Bulletproof and Atlas Spring suspension parts have been color-matched by Worldwide Auto Body to suit the original. A recent addition, however, is the 3M Chameleon vinyl wrap, which we honestly couldn’t tell from paint until Cesar mentioned it. As it so happens, the wrap flops to blue as you walk around it, so the blue is still a perfect complement to the new finish.
With the truck sitting tall over its 24x14-inch Grid Off-Road wheels and 37-inch Markma tires, Cesar needed a way to get into the truck that wouldn’t detract from the clean lines. The perfect solution came in the form of AMP Research motorized running boards, which tuck up neatly into the rocker panels when the doors are closed. The front and rear factory bumpers have been replaced with Fab Fours fabricated metal bumpers, and a DB Customz grille resides where the original Toyota grille once sat. Topping the truck off, literally, is a slick A.R.E. Z Serious shell, which adds plenty of cargo space and security.
To secure the best ride and look for David’s Viking 40, a custom air ride setup was built and installed to make sure it was capable of laying out on the pavement just as well as it could pull weight across it. Sponsor American Force Wheels sent a perfectly aggressive set of 24-inch Omen wheels to support the beast’s weight and look good doing it. Finished in Cadillac Gray, the wheels really set off the truck’s overall, brutish theme.
Once the custom-designed full chassis from Travis Ball at Ball Metal Fab was completed, he and his crew installed the 47-gallon saddlebag tanks on each side of the truck; however, the passenger-side tank now held a secret. Travis designed the tank on the right side of the truck to house the majority of the electrical components and parts to make it convenient to work on them and hidden away so they wouldn’t obscure the custom chassis he spent so much time designing.
Though the truck had been under the knife for nearly a year, the majority of the work—like many SEMA builds—happened in the final few months before it headed to Vegas. It’s safe to say that Travis didn’t get much sleep from July to October. If you missed this one-of-a-kind resto in Vegas, it will be hitting the eight biggest shows around the U.S. this year, so be on the lookout.
The 3.5L Toyota V-6 didn’t need much help in the performance department, as 278-horsepower is plenty for a mid-sized truck. However, it was a bit too quiet, so Cesar scooped up a set of Doug Thorley mid-pipes and a Doug Thorley cat-back exhaust. And hey, bonus: they added a decent amount of power and torque to the already mighty six-banger.
Cesar’s Tacoma was pretty much done with the major stuff, so he started focusing on some of the details that would help further distinguish his truck from the rest. Luckily for him, he knows some people, so he was able to get his hands on Husky Liners’ latest accessories, as well as a BedRug bed liner and a Pro Eagle off-road jack. And just in case someone, somehow, doesn’t notice Cesar’s Toyota rolling toward them, he has a potent Horn Blasters train horn kit tucked underneath the bed for the loudest wakeup call you’re likely to ever get.
Blue Demon has been a rolling billboard for the companies that have helped Cesar with the build since its inception, and we have no doubt that they made a great choice considering how jaw-dropping the truck is. Just like its namesake, we’re sure that it will always be remembered as El Campion.
Owner: Cesar Navarro
2016 Toyota Tacoma
West Covina, CA
3.5L Toyota V-6
Doug Thorley mid-pipes
Doug Thorley exhaust
Body & Paint
Work performed by Worldwide Auto Body
A.R.E. Z Serious cab-high shell
AMP Research running boards
3M Chameleon wrap
Fab Fours front and rear fabricated bumpers
DB Customz grille
BedRug bed liner
Winjet taillights and headlights
Winjet off-road LED light bar
Ekstrom Designs roof light mount
DUB IR tint
Pro Eagle off-road jack
Chassis & Suspension
Work performed by Worldwide Auto Body
Bulletproof front suspension lift with coil-overs
Atlas Spring rear leaf springs
Bulletproof reservoir shocks
Color-matched suspension components
Wheels & Tires
24×14 Grid Off-Road GF1 wheels
37×13.50R24LT Markma Dakar MT III tires
Spike Lugz lug nuts
Interior & Stereo
Roadwire Leather Interiors ostrich upholstery kit
Husky Liners floor liners
Horn Blasters air horn
PAPAGO dash cam
sPOD power distribution setup/switches
Special Thanks From the Owner: “My wife Rocio Carrillo, Jose Reyna at A.R.E., the Truck Hero family at A.R.E., BedRug and Husky Liners. I’d also like to thank Ricardo Calderon at World Wide Auto Body, Jesus Aguiniga, Bulletproof Suspensions, Atlas Suspension, Fab Fours, Roadwire Leather, Odyssey Batteries, Horn Blasters, AMP Research, 3M, Winjet Lights, Ekstrom Designs, DB Customz, Grid Off-Road, Spike Lugz, PAPAGO, sPOD, Pro Eagle and DUB IR.”