Two Years of Work and Three Feet of Framerail
We remember the printed ad as if it had jumped off the press yesterday. "If we've heard it once, we've heard it a thousand times," went the first page. We had no choice but to investigate further. The next page read, "If only Toyota made a bigger truck." With those two lines, Toyota jumped into the fullsize truck market more than a decade ago. Looking back was not an option.
The new-for-'93 T-100 held big potential. Generous cab space replaced the compact surroundings Toyota pickup owners were used to. Hauling a full 4x8 sheet of plywood in the bed was at last a reality for T-100 owners. Finally, the T-100 was built with the same commitment to quality that has earned Toyota a reputation for longevity and reliability.
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On paper, it was a match made in automotive heaven. On terra firma, the T-100's 3.0L V-6 was a lukewarm performer, and the truck's dimensions were more Dakota-size than fullsize. Before it was replaced by the Tundra, the T-100 saw a progression of intelligent, functional improvements that made it more of a contender. The T-100 and the Tundra passed each other in the hallway in 1998.
For the right off-roader, the T-100 can still be a heavenly choice. Since the newest T-100 is 7 years old, they're attractively priced in the used market. The not-quite-fullsize dimensions mean better ability on tight trails compared with fullsize, full-blood-American heavy metal. Although suspension kits are not plentiful, long-travel suspension kits from Total Chaos can be bolted onto T-100 4x4 frontends.
For Curtis Guise, a T-100 was the only way to go. "I have always wanted a fullsize race truck, but didn't have the money, so I bought a T-100 to build as a prerunner. I did most of the work myself to save as much money as possible."
Did we mention that Guise is a terminal Toyota fan? His first 'Yota was an '83 straight-axle 4x4, followed by a '90 pickup equipped with a T.C. front suspension. Other Toys in the lineup have included an '85 4Runner built for 'crawling and an '82 2WD pickup built to race Class 7. The '82 Class 7 fabrication was the perfect segue into the T-100 buildup: Curtis designed and built the rollcage and front coilover suspension. The '82 Guise-built was raced in MDR and VORRA for about two seasons. "The '82 was pretty compact inside, and it was still leaf-sprung in the rear. I was able to sell my old race truck and use the proceeds to buy the T-100 and some of the parts for the build."