Eric Rankins' midsize Toyota built in only six weeks
When you have a leased truck on your hands and you decide to cut it up to lay body over a set of 24s, you better make damn sure it's going to be done right. Luckily for Eric Rankins, this build was just up his alley. You see, he is the lead fabricator at Ekstensive Metalworks and is definitely no stranger when it comes to building an insane project like this one. Even though he's used to the idea of radically modifying a brand-new vehicle, it is still mind-boggling to the rest of us. There is always that voice in the back of your head that will question if you can accomplish this monumental task, and if you mess up, how will you explain to everyone that you screwed up a perfectly new vehicle?
With years of experience on his side, it wasn't a question whether it could be done, but could it be done in six weeks? Not only did Eric have a full plate, he had to do it fast and make it presentable for the '06 SEMA Show. It is one thing to leisurely push the limits of what you can do to a truck, but it is another thing to do it under a short deadline. This meant scheduling all of the segments of the project and hoping that nothing went wrong. With that level of stress on your shoulders, it is enough to make anyone go bald from pulling out hair under that pressure.
A funny fact about the whole deal is that Eric had no plans on building such a high-profile truck. At the time, his plan was to redo an '02 Tacoma for himself, while his wife was going to roll a stock '06 version of the truck. With the shimmer of her tempting new truck and a little nudge from his boss, Bill Carlton, Eric wound up getting himself a new Tacoma, instead of redoing the '02 Tacoma. Although, the big difference about his new Tacoma was the fact that it was going to be fully rebuilt from the frame up.
From that point on, it was a mad dash to get it all done, and it involved many different things going on at once. While Eric worked on building a body-drop-less frame to showcase a set of 24s, the body of the truck was at the body shop getting shaved. Also, the stereo and sub box were being put together while the seats were at the upholstery shop getting re-covered. It was a very hectic time, consisting of working 10 hours on customers' rides, and then spending another 4 to 8 hours of labor on this truck the same day.
It took a massive amount of dedication to get through every single restless night of wrenching. It all paid off when Eric was able to drive his finished truck into the Air-Zenith booth at the SEMA Show and watch everyone's jaw drop when it was laid out. It could also be stated that he is still enjoying the shock factor of this truck as he rolls it only inches off the pavement during his 70-mile round trip to work. We can only imagine how good it feels to have all the weight of the buildup off his shoulders and what it's like to reap the benefits daily.