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SURE SHOT | Custom 1996 Toyota Tacoma Taco

Patrick Burns’s 1996 Toyota Tacoma

When you’re young, the phrase “…but all my friends are doing it!” didn’t get you very far with your parents. For Patrick Burns out of Imperial, Missouri, that happens to be one of the biggest reasons for getting immersed into the “scene” we all know and love.

THIS PIN-STRIPING BY GOOCH CUSTOMS WAS LAID ONLY HOURS BEFORE THIS SHOOT HAPPENED.

Spending time with your gearhead friends doing gearhead things on their unique projects is fun, but it’s way more exciting when you have one of your own to tinker with. Luckily, we all naturally grow older over time and end up with the freedom to do pretty much whatever we want, whenever we want. For truck enthusiasts like Patrick and me, that means having the capability to explore and create just about anything that our bank accounts (and spouses) will allow.

Patrick has a lot of friends who are into building cool custom trucks, and a large number of them build mini trucks. You know the saying, “When in Rome do as the Romans do?” We are not sure if that actually applies, but the overall vibe we get is “When in Missouri, build a minitruck.” Truck guys in this area just go for it to make sure they’re not left out. Whether it’s a product of peer pressure, or having an abundance of money, or maybe just the strong natural urge to enjoy a great hobby with the homies—Patrick ended up owning quite a cool Tacoma while building lifelong friendships with his wrench-turning friends.

ONE OF OUR FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT THIS TACOMA IS THE UNIQUE INNER BED SETUP.

At first glance, most people wouldn’t catch all the custom mods made to this ’96 Tacoma, so let’s cover the basics first. The chassis was built custom by Sparky’s Hardcore Customs in Central City, Kansas. The unique four-link setup with custom upper control arms allows this Japanese mini to not only lay flat while ensuring a ride quality that feels as good as it looks. Obviously, some of that is due to the Slam Specialties bags and support shocks that were installed to absorb the bumps in those Midwest roads. The chassis, which rolls on staggered polished 20-inch Boyd F22 billets, also has shortened front axles and a narrowed rear end.

The truck’s cab contains a full custom interior, a complete JL audio system, and a custom shaved and painted dash. The one-off interior has a ton of unique bits to it if you take the time to study it. On the outside, for example, this truck has a complete front-end swap utilizing parts from a Taco that is almost 10 years younger. The hood, fenders, grill, front bumper and headlights are from a 2001 Tacoma, which can really trick someone who is trying to lock down the specifics upon seeing this truck for the first time.

The hood, fenders, grill, front bumper and headlights are from a 2001 Tacoma, which can really trick someone who is trying to lock down the specifics upon seeing this truck for the first time.

Moving toward the back half, the first thing anyone will notice is the incredible bed that was hand-built for Patrick’s Taco. As if the perfect curves within the bed were not enough, one-off billet strips run the length of the floor, giving it a new age yet timeless feel. Below the bed sits a 12-gallon fuel cell as well as the 5-gallon air tank that is filled via two Viair 444c compressors, all powered by an Optima battery that is also tucked under the rear. Though Toyota has similar paint colors on the market these days, Porsche Grey was the color chosen for this truck during the re-sprayed color change. Additional dark gray center graphics as well as a freshly added set of pinstripes done the day of this shoot by Gooch Customs set Patrick’s ride apart from the rest.

Plans for the future include installing a custom-built motor and turbo setup, so keep an eye out for changes if you see this truck out in person. You can usually find Patrick hanging out with a group of friends under a tent behind a long row of parked Relaxed Atmosphere trucks enjoying time well spent.

SEEING NEAT AND TIDY ENGINE BAYS WITH SIMPLE CLEAN DETAILS IS REFRESHING, IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE COMPLICATED.

Patrick thanks first and foremost his wife and daughter for letting him have this great hobby. “Also, all of the great people in Relaxed Atmosphere and all the others I have met in this great group of people,” he says. “Big shout out to Proline Tint, Johns AutoBody and Paint, Sparky’s hardcore customs, and of course the rest of my family and friends.”

TRUCK Specs

owner

Patrick Burns  
Truck Name: Primo Taco
1996 Toyota Tacoma
Imperial, Missouri
Relaxed Atmosphere  

Engine

  • Factory 2rz 4 cylinder
  • Engine block painted black
  • Black powder-coated valve covers
  • K&N air cleaner
  • Tucked wiring

 Chassis

  • Narrowed rear end
  • Custom shortened axles
  • Panhard setup
  • Optima Battery under truck bed mount
  • Custom front control arms
  • Dual Viair 444c compressors
  • 5 gallon air tank
  • SMC valves w/ ½” lines
  • Shop:  Sparky’s Hardcore Custom

Front Suspension:

  • Cross drilled and slotted front rotors
  • Slam Specialties bags

Rear Suspension:

  • Custom 4 link setup
  • Factory Drum brakes
  • Slam Specialties bags
  • Zero-F Support Shocks
  • Shop: Sparky’s Hardcore Customs

 Transmission

  • Factory 5 speed manual
  • Centerforce clutch

Exhaust

  • Doug Thorley Header
  • Magnaflow exhaust

Wheels

  • Boyd F22
  • Finish: Polished Billet
  • Front: 20×8 front tires: Goodyear 225/30/20
  • Rear: 20×11   rear tires: Goodyear  255/35/20

Body  

  • 12 gallon fuel cell under bed w/ filler in bed
  • Body dropped
  • Cali combo rear bumper
  • Billet grille
  • 2001 Tacoma front bumper
  • 2001 Tacoma front fenders
  • 2001 Tacoma hood
  • 2001 Tacoma Grille
  • Full custom billet stripes in bed
  • 15% tint all around
  • Shop: Sparky’s Hardcore Customs

Paint

  • Pin-striping on front and rear by Gooch Customs
  • Porsche Grey body color w/ dark gray graphic
  • Shop:  Josh Jewell/JohnsAutobody

 Interior

  • Full custom interior
  • Gray vinyl seat
  • Gray Carpet kit
  • Custom headliner
  • Custom dash with shaved vents and controls
  • Shop: Swen Tight

 Stereo

  • FJVC head unit
  • JL Audio XD400 amp
  • JL Audio c2 series mids and highs 6.5” speakers
  • JL Audio 8” W3 subwoofer
  • Custom center console by Kambered Kreations
  • Shop: Proline Tint

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