Kory Mackenzie is a man on a mission. The 22 year-old Palmdale, California, resident is presently self-employed, which is impressive in itself, but he’s also in the process of becoming an air traffic controller.
To do a job like that takes intense concentration and focus—two traits he used when he built this ’00 Tacoma in his Palmdale, California, garage. Yep, this capable and fun prerunner was garage built and has seen plenty of use in the surrounding desert.
Mackenzie tubed the front and rear together and caged the interior before he installed custom-made and home-built billet stamped upper control arms and equally home-built spindles. A trio of King products, 10-inch 2.5 coilovers and 2.5 external bypass shocks are joined with 3.0 bumpstops to put big hits in their place. A long arm three-link setup anchors the rearend and again it’s King 2.5 coilovers with external 2.5 triple bypasses shocks, though this time they’re 16 inches long. That rearend is a Currie 9-inch that features a Spartan locker, Yukon 4:86 gears, and 32-spline, 4130 axles.
A set of 17-inch Center Line RT2 alloy wheels attach to the six-lug hubs and are encircled with Atturo Trail Blade tires.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and make do with what you have are two phrases Mackenzie seems to embrace as the exterior is an eclectic mix. The fiberglass consists of a Fiberwerx Xtreme one-piece conversion and McNeil bedsides that now adorn the Tundra, while the paint is Rust-Oleum that was applied by Mac too. Dr. Pepper Burgundy Rust-Oleum to be exact. All quality products in themselves, and AT Control classes aren’t free. The stock cab has a few dings in it too, but who cares?
Besides, Mackenzie had other things to spend money on and spend on lighting he did. There are five Xprite 9-inch round spots hovering over the windshield and four per side Rigid Industries LED lightbar and pods, some covered in amber lenses and some in pure, white light.
The bed area is all tubed too, but a fuel cell has been added, as has a spare tire, a couple of fire extinguishers, and a cooler for those hot desert days.
There’s not much room left inside after the cage was installed, but Mackenzie installed the good stuff with Beard seats and PRP harnesses, a quick-release–equipped Grant steering wheel and a Parker Pumper fresh air system.
A custom aluminum dash is packed with all kinds of Auto Meter Phantom gauges, switches, stereo, Rand McNally GPS unit, and intercom.
Power comes from the Toyota 3.4 V-6 engine. It’s been upgraded with TRD injectors, a K&N air cleaner, a set of TRD headers and MagnaFlow exhaust tubes and mufflers. The five-speed manual transmission gets the ponies to the rearend.
“This truck has taken a lot of Harbor Freight flap disks and cutoff wheels to build,” says Mackenzie. “I haven’t had a lot of money to put into this build or into buying the proper tools. Yet I put everything I have into building and taking my truck out with my desert family.”
This Tacoma may not be a “luxury” prerunner, but we still think that it represents what’s good in off-roading. It’s capable, it’s fun to drive, and—maybe best of all—it was built by a guy in his garage who had more moxie than money and who’s working hard to ensure that his future takes off.