On the mini-truck scene, it’s hard to beat a ‘bagged and ‘bodied Toyota Tacoma—especially if every square inch of it has been cleaned up, polished, and painted. Ashley Wimmer of Princeton, West Virginia, debuted her 2000 Tacoma at the 2022 Southeast Minitruckin’ Nats show in Pigeon Valley, North Carolina, and it was most definitely among the top crowd favorites there.
Ashley is no stranger to the show scene, and this isn’t her first rodeo making it onto the pages of a truck magazine. She has previously built other feature-worthy pickups, and we don’t expect this one to be her last.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s give Ashley’s latest build its much-deserved time under the spotlight. In an estimated 18-month period, she, along with her husband Nathan, began doing what they could themselves before planning the steps the truck needed to take to turn out exactly how she imagined.
“I wanted to have a ‘bodied truck that I not only could make all the design choices on, but was also hands-on from start to finish,” Ashley states firmly.
Ashley is no stranger to the show scene, and this isn’t her first rodeo making it onto the pages of a truck magazine.
STEP 1: LAYIN’ IT LOW
To get started on the one facet of the build she was most dead set on, she reached out to Darrell Poe, another likeminded mini-truck aficionado and fellow Xtreme Lowz member, to get the Tacoma’s ride and park heights right where she wanted them. Darrell is a certified veteran in the fabrication game, and he knew exactly what needed to be done to give the truck the desired low ride. The factory frame was C-notched at the rear, and further alterations were made to give Ashley’s Tacoma a 3-inch bodydrop, which she was so looking forward to.
To finish off the Toyota’s newly altered chassis, Darrell then wired up a full air-ride suspension system featuring Air Lift ‘bags and KYB shocks at the rear. Once all that was taken care of, a new set of 18-inch Intro Twisted Vista billet wheels complete with Lexani rubber were mated to give the Tacoma a sporty, hot-rod-inspired appearance.
Alignment proved to be an issue after buttoning up the frontend, but after many careful inspections, along with a few realignments, the kinks were successfully worked out to give the truck smooth and straight cruising capabilities. The factory braking system was working well enough to bring the truck to a well-controlled halt, so it was left in place for the foreseeable future.
STEP 2: TLC FOR THE 2.4L
Under the hood, the factory four-banger was also left alone. These engines can take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’ for decades if treated right, and to ensure it was well equipped to go the distance, Ashley poured some much-needed TLC into the 2.4L.
A few additions were then made in the form of a polished Injen cold air intake system, a powdercoated valve cover, and custom inner fenders to keep the engine compartment clean and classy during the long haul. While the Tacoma’s factory-equipped powerplant wasn’t exactly broken, it was treated to all the fixins to allow it to continue chugging into the future.
STEP 3: EXTERIOR IMPROVEMENTS
With the build taking shape rather quickly, Ashley was looking to change up the Tacoma’s exterior landscape for the better. First, some necessary and extracurricular bodywork was in order before the finishing paint phase could be rolled out. The surface was smoothed and the antenna, hood squirters, and third brake light were all shaved clean. The bed floor was raised and treated to bead-rolled paneling, which were soon treated to a fashionable, protective coating.
Ashley was hoping to capitalize fully on the forward momentum of her truck’s body modifications, which is why she asked Adam Quesenberry to apply the House of Kolor Sunrise pearl paintjob to the exterior. The color is great and the quality of the work is nothing short of top-notch.
STEP 4: UNIFORM INTERIOR
To create a uniform appearance inside of the cab, the same HOK hue was applied to the fiberglassed dash and portions of the door panels as well. The sunny color gives the interior a happy-go-lucky demeanor that contrasts nicely with the distressed saddle leather skins used to recover the factory bench seat. The combined color and texture go a long way in transforming the Tacoma’s interior into a well-adorned, high-grade cabin space—especially with the soft glow from the BAD billet steering wheel and readout from the double-DIN receiver screen.
While Ashley is looking to upgrade the stereo system a little more with the inclusion of better-performing speakers and amps, she is more than happy with the outcome of her Toyota. The overall essence of the build places quality over quantity in terms of the number of obvious modifications inside and out, which was by design.
“Paying attention to functionality and detail is a big deal for me,” Ashley admits. “These types of projects require more patience, money, and dedication than you might think before starting. Once you recognize that fact and are fine with the sacrifices that come with it, you can successfully build a well-rounded custom vehicle of any kind.”
While that slice of helpful insight doesn’t solely apply to building show-worthy mini-trucks, it will most definitely help anyone out there with budgets of all sizes to carry their projects across the finish line. There’s a reason why Ashley has been able to continue knocking out one killer build after another, and it’s because of her willingness to stick to a proven game plan that has worked time and time again.
- 2000 Toyota Tacoma
- Princeton, WV
- Xtreme Lowz
- 2000 Toyota 2.4L 4-cylinder
- Injen cold air intake
- Powdercoated valve cover
- Factory transmission
- Shop: Chassis modifications by Darrell Poe
- Factory Toyota frame
- Rear C-notch in frame
- 3-inch bodydrop
- Front and rear Air Lift ‘bags
- KYB rear shocks
- Factory steering box, stabilizer, and fuel tank
WHEELS, TIRES & BRAKES
- 18-inch Intro Twisted Vista wheels
- 215/35/18 Lexani tires
- Stock brake components
EXTERIOR & PAINT
- Shop: Paint by Adam Quesenberry
- House of Kolor Sunrise pearl paint
- Shaved antenna, hood squirters, and third brake light
- Billet grille
- Custom front wheel tubs
- Stock headlights and bumpers
- Bead-rolled panels inside bed
INTERIOR & SOUND
- Shop: Upholstery by Kenny Franklin and owner
- Factory bench seat covered in distressed saddle leather
- BAD Mauler steering wheel
- Power Acoustics double-DIN head unit
- Fiberglass and painted dash
- Custom door panels and painted armrests