This tough economy has left some folks with too little, some with too much, and a lucky few with bargain 4x4s to wheel and deal on. Great finds on trail rigs can be readily found in a neighbor's driveways, behind barns, and on Craigslist or eBay, trail rigs that can be had for cheap or possibly even for trade.
Recently we picked up an '87 Toyota Extra Cab for a little scratch and some horse trading. The battered truck was laid to rest in the dirt behind Overkill Engineering's shop in Nuevo, California. It's not that the guys at Overkill were in dire straits; in fact, they're doing quite well. But they had too many project rigs lying around so we struck one heck of a deal.
We're big fans of the early '80s Toyota mini-trucks because they're rugged, make great little wheelers, and are easily modified with an abundant supply of aftermarket parts. Our new project Toyota has been wheeled hard by seasoned four-wheelers over a number of trails across the country, making it feel like a great hand-me-down! We have to give the truck a name, so we'll keep the old alias the guys had for it at the shop and continue to call it Squishy (due to the old suspension).
There's already a lot of tube work on the truck, and it sports a nice exo-cage, which will make the build go quickly. However, given what we do for a living, the rig won't remain in its original state, so the rear tubing and exo-cage will be reworked and the tired 22RE will possibly be swapped for a junkyard engine with more power. Obviously there weren't any axles under the Toy, but a Dana 60 rear and 44 front axles that have been sort of lying around might do the trick. Stay tuned for more old-school Toyota tech.