Our sweepstakes truck gets a whole new look
For the past two months we've been at work building a Toyota Tacoma TRD 4x4 that we're going to give to the lucky reader who wins Four Wheeler's 40th Anniversary Sweepstakes. And we've been keeping Four Wheeler readers up to speed on our progress.
About this special truck: Not only will the winner and a friend come to Los Angeles to pick up the keys to this baby, but they will also have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to join the Groff Motorsports team at the 2002 SCORE Baja 1000. Our lucky winner will join one of our staffers to chase the Baja 1000 in this trick Toyota. The winner also will have the opportunity to jump in the BFGoodrich Toyota-powered Class 1 car as a co-driver in the race itself. All you need to do is fill out the sweepstakes card found on page 55 in this issue. Do it, because you can't win if you don't enter.
Now, about that Sweepstakes Tacoma: In our first two installments we concentrated on the mechanical upgrades we wanted to add to the truck. The first round saw us install a TRD power package that included TRD's stainless-steel header and exhaust system, along with the company's popular supercharger package. These parts really added some life to the Four Wheeler Sweepstakes Tacoma. The next area to be massaged was the truck's suspension, where a new ProComp Explorer 4-inch lift was installed, along with the company's trick new coilover shocks up front and MX-6 shocks in the rear. All of these additions came together well, and the combination of more power and a better suspension really got us excited about our progress.
But that was all function. The Tacoma's form remained stock. Not that that's a bad thing, but we needed to do better than that. We wanted the Tacoma to look just as good as it ran.
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For help, we turned to legendary graphic artist and paint wizard Molly Sanders. An institution in Southern California automotive and motorcycle circles, Molly has provided the vision behind some of the most widely recognized graphics and colors in the industry. His resum includes work on the Toyota Motorsports/PPI racing trucks of Ivan "Ironman" Stewart, the Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix celebrity cars, the famous yellow, black and white design of Yamaha, the green made famous by Kawasaki-heck, he even invented the Lexus logo. Perhaps more important for our story, he created the striking BFGoodrich/Toyota Motorsports paint scheme used by the Groff Motorsports Class 1 car that's such an exciting part of our 40th Anniversary sweepstakes.
During our initial planning session, Molly suggested that instead of copying the race car and painting the front of the Tacoma yellow and keeping the back of the truck's stock metallic black, as is shown on our artist's rendering, we should think about painting the back yellow and adding a bottom stripe of silver. He mentioned something about the truck's flowing lines, and discussed other artistic stuff we didn't really understand. But it sounded good to us.
A week after our first meeting, we were called down to Molly's Huntington Beach facility to see for ourselves. Molly's talented crew had just finished applying the yellow color and adding the silver base along the bottom sill of the Tacoma. The effect was simple but striking. We sat down and laid out the truck's graphics, including the special Four Wheeler 40th Anniversary logo for the hood. A couple of days later, the truck was delivered to our offices. Wow, with the graphics all in place, our Tacoma is a showpiece. Molly had even taken the time to apply several layers of clear-coat over the vinyl decals to finish off the job in style.
The problem now was that the stock wheel and BFGoodrich tire combination was not in keeping with our Toyota's hot new looks. The addition of the ProComp lift kit made that even more obvious. So we ordered a new set of 32-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain tires to outfit the rig, along with a brand-new set of Colorado Custom's new Slickrock off-road alloy wheels. Everyone knows about the off-road performance of the BFGoodrich Mud-Terrains, but folks might not be up to speed on Colorado Custom's new wheels. The fit and finish were first rate, and the styling was a nice departure for the dirt crowd. But after mounting and balancing, we bolted on the set only to find out that the front-wheel studs were too short. A quick trip to a dealership later for a new set of the longer rear studs solved that problem, and the installation was complete. The combination really set off the paint, and the new wheels actually look like the ones used on the Groff Class 1 machine. Perfect.
The final step was to finish the bed with an application of Line-X bedliner. Not only would it quiet the truck thanks to its thick material, but it also would protect the bed's finish. The whole operation only took a couple of hours, and the results were the ideal finishing touch.
But hold on, we aren't done yet. In next month's final installment, we'll add some front and rear tube bumpers, a set of KC lights, a trick rear spare tire mount and a specially made set of Beard seats to finish off the interior. We'll also put the truck through a complete chassis dyno and driving test to let you know how it all works. Then it's on to the 2002 SEMA show in Las Vegas before we turn it over to one of our fortunate readers-who might be you. After that, it's time to head south for the SCORE Baja 1000.
Sound like fun? Be sure to enter our Four Wheeler 40th Anniversary Sweepstakes today.