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1982 Toyota Pickup & 1990 Chevy S10 - Garage-Built Heros

Posted in News on December 1, 2001 Comment (0)
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Photographers: John Cappa

We know you hate it when you see super-flash rigs in magazines that cost more to build than a small apartment building. Sure, we've run them in the past and we will run them again in the future. But we never pretend that building such a vehicle is within the realm of possibility for every Joe-lunchbox. Rather, we often highlight these vehicles to show you the innovative tech and attention to craftsmanship that goes into making them. Then, if you feel inspired, you can take whatever information you gleaned from "big-daddy-dollar" and apply it to your own project.

What follows on these pages are three such projects. They were all built on a budget, in a garage, and by regular, ordinary people. These guys drooled over high-dollar, technically intensive rigs, aspired to have one themselves, and then made it happen. There were no plasma cutters, TIG welders, or components of unobtainium. Just good, solid real-world stuff like hand- operated tube benders, 110-volt MIG welders, and a whole lot of grinding and hacking on D.O.M. and welded-seam tubing.

Just the Facts
Planning on building a similar project? Here's a list of tools you'll need to keep from going insane as you make it happen. The costs are an estimate, but if you figure that time at a good fabrication shop is considered cheap at $60 an hour, it makes sense to buy what you need and learn how to do it yourself.

tubing bender $700
Tubing notcher $175
Angle grinder $20
11/42-inch drill $40
Basic handtool set $150
110-volt welder with
tank, helmet, and cart $750
Floor jack $50
Jackstands $40
Chopsaw ${{{100}}}
Sawzall or jigsaw $100
Total $2,125

The Machine
Booger Welds and Bilsteins for an '82 ToyotaHe built it in his mom's garage, next to the Beemer. The only tools used were a hand-operated tubing bender with one 111/42-inch die, a tubing notcher, a cutoff saw, an acetylene torch, a grinder, a drill, and a 110-volt Hobart welder. With these, Nick Cappa of Carlsbad built what we refer to as the machine.

What started out as an '82 Toyota pickup is now a piece of welded-seam art. Sure, D.O.M. or chrome-moly tubing is a lot stronger, but after watching Nick air the machine out near the Salton Sea in California, we've got a whole new respect for regular old welded seam. Nick removed the bed, torched off the frame behind the cab, gutted the interior, and started from scratch.

Want to see more of this tiny monstrosity? Check out to watch the madness.

It's pure entertainment.

Badass S-10 Cab Truck
Cabin Man
Brian Boyd of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, has about $4,500 in his '90 Chevy S-10. That's right-for the price of a down payment on a Mazda Miata, Brian has something that will spank the stank off of any snot-slick hillside, claw its way halfway up the nearest tree, or launch off the rev limiter through a 4-foot-deep mudhole. We don't think any foreign convertible can match that fun.

Brian got tired of destroying his other vehicle's cab and frames, so he did what many in the southeast have done before him: He bolted a late-model mini-truck cab onto a '78 Chevy fullsize frame, added a hot motor and 1-ton axles, and stood on it.

North Of The Border
A Baja'd-out Toyota
Dave Dinsmore of San Marcos, California, has owned this '85 Toyota for seven years. In fact, it's his first vehicle and he threw his first weld beads on it. Year after year the modifications followed with bumpers, hoops, and bars being bent, rebent, and changed time and time again. It looks like it paid off. After all that time fabricating in the back of his home garage, Dave developed a reputation as a pretty killer fabricator. Although he's now part owner of JD Fabrications in San Marcos, the Toyota was built while he still maintained his amateur status.

Dave kept the interior somewhat close to stock, only replacing the seats with a pair of Beards so his spine didn't shoot out the top of his head after a big air jump. The springs and shocks were kept in somewhat stock configuration as well because, for a time, Dave raced the truck in the stock-modified 7S class of desert racing. The rear frame was boxed at the spring mounting points and the hangers were gusseted, but other than that, it's a dirt-simple suspension that works killer and actually rides really nice.

After 200,000 miles, the tired 22RE engine was shipped off to D.O.A. Racing for a refresh, and a Centerforce clutch was thrown in to keep the five-speed and stock transfer case turning the same rate as the engine.

If you ever get to Glamis, keep an eye out for Dave's Toyota. By then it should be sporting a new fiberglass Tacoma front clip to go along with the Tacoma bedsides. You'll be sure to know it. It'll be the one flying 10 feet off the ground.


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