Custom 2000 Toyota Tundra - Two Times Tundra
Scott McLaughlin's '00 Toyota Tundra
The story of Two Times begins in Texas with a previous owner. After a mishap with another vehicle, the truck made its way to Alabama, where Scott McLaughlin found it for sale online. He purchased the truck and drove it home to Minnesota with the intention of just a simple paintjob and some wheels. That conservative approach didn't last long, however. It was quickly cast aside, along with many of the Tundra's nonessentials such as the side trim, bumpers, mirrors, emblems, suspension, and more as Scott got serious about personalizing his truck. Scott has been involved with custom vehicles most of his life, inheriting the customizing gene from his father who loved modified vehicles of all kinds. At 44, Scott has owned customs that include a '64 Nova, a '68 Chevy van, a '71 Camaro, a '66 Ford pickup, and an '83 and '86 S-10. He also has an unusual combination of skills in that he is a licensed electrician and accomplished pinstriper. It was a given then, that the Tundra would not stay stock very long.
One of the first changes dealt with the front end. There was something about the Tundra grille that needed improvement. To Scott's eye, the shape was all wrong and it was one of his first modifications, reshaping the grille opening, creating a handmade chromed billet grille, and smoothing the front bumper. Once the new front end was complete, he began working his way toward the rear, shaving the factory antenna, creating handmade brackets to hold the new Chevy Beretta mirrors, fitting a new Lexan replacement lens over the cargo light/third brake light on the back of the cab, and eliminating all four door handles along with various factory emblems and the side trim.
As we all know, tires can make or break a truck, so the bed received considerable attention to accommodate the 10-inch-wide 295/45-ZR20 BFG rear rubber. Before the tires would fit properly, the sides of the bed needed to be widened by 7/8 inch. Scott accomplished this by cutting the inner wheelhouse and adding a thin strip of metal. Inside the bed, the wheeltubs were also widened an additional 2 inches. The changes were very subtle, but now the fat tires fit in the wheelwells without any problems. Continuing on with the bed mods, the tailgate handle was eliminated, the gas door was welded shut, and a clean, new chrome filler was positioned on top of the bedrail. All the stake pockets were filled, and a custom steel roll pan now wraps around the distinctive handcrafted exhaust tip, created by Scott in the shape of a Toyota emblem. Flip down the license plate and you will see the receiver hitch assembly, underscoring the fact that this unique custom truck is regularly called upon to do real-world work. The inside of the bed was sprayed with color-matched Line-X material for the same reasons. Car Wear taillights are the only bolt-on accessory installed on the exterior.
Once the bodywork was complete, Scott sprayed his own PPG Global Red Mica Pearl and Toner White, separating the two shades with an airbrushed black dividing strip. He created his own unique graphics and added subtle Pearl White ghost flames. After some red and gray pinstriping, Scott finished the job with several coats of PPG 890 clear. New Boyd Coddington Smoothie II rims (20x8.5 inches in front and 20x10 inches in the rear) and BFGoodrich Radial T/A tires got the freshly painted truck rolling in style.
With the external customizing attended to, Scott turned his attention to the suspension. The front uses Air Ride Technologies Shockwaves installed on custom-shortened spindles. Since aftermarket parts were not available, Scott accomplished his own changes, but his approach is not for the faint-hearted. He began by constructing a jig that held the Tundra spindle in place and removed 3 inches from the upper portion. The pieces were TIG-welded back together, and then a 3-inch block was machined to fit between the lower ball joint and the bottom of the spindle. He removed material from both upper A-arms to ensure proper wheel clearance, and the spring pockets were also trimmed. To locate the lower Shockwave mount out as far as possible, a special bracket for the lower A-arm was required. After designing and installing the bracket, he was finally able to mount the front Shockwaves in place. The same lack of aftermarket parts complicated the rear suspension, but, in true customizing fashion, Scott made his own. The rear uses Universal Air airbags installed above the rear axle. The factory leaf springs were removed and replaced with a custom-built two-link rear suspension and Panhard bar, created by Wuertz Brothers Racing. AFCO racing shocks control the bounce in the C-notched rear. With typical thoroughness, Scott followed the advice from the Toyota Racing Division, shortening the Tundra driveshaft, then welding it back together and balancing it. The mod prevents the 'shaft from going too deeply into the transmission when the truck is lowered.
After all the mechanical changes were in place, Scott installed the air suspension system, beginning with the Chassis Tech DC5000 compressor that fills a pair of 7-gallon aluminum tanks mounted where the spare tire used to be. The system uses 3/8-inch lines, four Ekstensive Metalworks valves, and a pair of Extensive switches with a dual-needle APC gauge mounted in the freshly modified Sequoia center console.
The tailored-to-fit, color-matched console has a factory look and was the first of many changes inside. Scott showed more of his fabrication skills by creating handmade door panel inserts that are painted to match the exterior paint scheme. The repainted instrument cluster looks like what the factory should have done in the first place. A Billet Specialties GT steering wheel adds a little sparkle inside. All the stereo additions were done with stealth in mind, beginning with Q-Pad sound-deadening panels installed in the floor, rear of the cab, and all four doors, minimizing unwanted sonic intrusion. A new Alpine AM/FM/XM/CD head unit replaced the factory sound setup with Scott adding a US Acoustics four-channel amplifier to drive the two 6-1/2-inch Boston Acoustic component sets in the rear door panels and the single 5-inch center channel surround-sound speaker. A second US Acoustics two-channel amplifier was bridged to supply 450 watts to the pair of Boston 8-inch subs mounted under the rear seat. The combination fills the cab with sound.
The last area of attention was the 4.7L V-8, now equipped with a K&N air tube and filter for deep breathing along with 2-1/4-inch dual exhausts and Flo Pro mufflers. An Optima battery powers both the truck and the stereo.
You might be wondering where the nickname Two Times came from. As you can probably tell, Scott is a perfectionist and, as a result, nearly everything was done twice. Since the truck had to remain functional, most of the modifications were done with daily driving in mind, but the dual-purpose truck is so successful that it now serves as a rolling calling card for his striping and graphics business.
Great trucks don't occur in a vacuum, and the truck benefitted from talented friends in Minnesota as well as his new home in Boca Raton, Florida. Scott would like to thank several of them for their help in creating his dream truck, beginning with Larry and Bob for their machine work; Dan for the rear suspension and welding; Steve at Jim's Auto Care in Rochester, Minnesota, for his help with the wheels and tires; Mike at C&M in Rochester for the use of his shop space; Ed's Super Secret workshop; Mike at South Florida Collision in Oakland Park, Florida; and Clint at The Shop in Deerfield Beach, Florida.