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1995 Toyota Tacoma - Spicy Taco

Posted in Features on July 21, 2014
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Turns out, that fact that it was built for hardcore trails but still looked like a Toyota Tacoma was no accident. “The truck was designed (the tube work and the suspension) and then fabricated by Jeff Stevens of Moab, Utah. The idea was, first, to make it able to climb, and second, stay looking like a Toyota Tacoma,” Crist says.

As you can imagine, the transition didn’t happen overnight. Crist purchased the Taco in bone-stock form and drove it that way for two days, but spent the next nine months modifying it. Yeah, there were challenges along the way. Crist says one of the biggest hurdles was figuring out how to fit the massive 42-inch tires under the truck. In the end, the design challenges were met, and today, the rig is a regular on Pritchett Canyon, Golden Spike, Metal Masher, Behind the Rocks, and the Rusty Nail trails around Moab, as well as 21 Road in Colorado. Crist admits he sometimes pushes the Tacoma too far. “I have had my share of mishaps. A backflip on the Rock Pile in Pritchett Canyon and a roll into a gully on Carnage Corner on 21 Road outside of Grand Junction, Colorado,” he says.

If the bed of the Tacoma looks a tad shorter than stock, that’s because it is. Ten inches was removed to eliminate overhang and improve the rig’s departure angle. Crist could’ve removed the bed entirely and replaced it with a custom flatbed or something similar, but keeping the factory bed helped achieve his goal of retaining the Tacoma’s factory look. Also noteworthy on the exterior are the custom fender flares that tie into the exocage and the rocker protection. The custom rocker protection is made from 2x4-inch, 0.188-inch-wall box tubing.

Ultimately, Crist’s Tacoma is a one-of-a-kind machine that works. In a world populated with Tacos, this one is clearly spicy.

We did a double take when we saw Larry Crist driving his ’95 Toyota Tacoma in Moab, Utah, and then we promptly chased him down. Trail-ready 4x4s are everywhere in Moab, but Crist’s pickup stood out from the masses because it was clearly heavily modified, yet it was still easily identifiable as a Tacoma. We wanted to know more.

Vehicle: ’95 Toyota Tacoma
Owner: Larry Crist, Littleton, Colorado
Engine: Toyota 3RZ-FE V-6
Transmission: Toyota A340F four-speed automatic
Transfer case(s)/ratio(s): Advance Adapters Atlas II/5:1
Front axle: Jeep Wrangler Rubicon JK Dana 44, RCV Performance axleshafts, Tru-Lok E-locker, 5.13 gears
Rear axle: Jeep Wrangler Rubicon JK Dana 44, Tru-Lok E-locker, 5.13 gears
Suspension (f/r): Four-link with spherical rod ends, Sway-A-Way Racerunner air shocks/four-link with Sway-A-Way air shocks, Currie Antirock
Steering: Custom with hydro-assist ram
Tires: 42x14.50R17LT Goodyear Wrangler MT/R
Wheels: 17x9.5 Allied beadlock
Armor: Custom exo-cage and bumpers
Cool extras: Tom Wood’s driveshafts, Optima RedTop battery, onboard air

PhotosView Slideshow
The ol’ reliable, tried and tested, factory 2.7-liter 3RZ-FE six-cylinder engine still resides under the hood. About the only modification you’ll find lurking in there is the red-capped PSC Motorsports power-steering reservoir.
PhotosView Slideshow

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