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Custom 2000 Toyota Hi-Lux - Taco-Lux

This Japanese Hi-Lux Gets An American Twist

Ernie Macias
Feb 1, 2007
Photographers: Mike Alexander
Photo 2/8   |   Owner: Kousuke KatsumeRide: '00 Toyota Hi-LuxLocation: Kagoshima, JapanClub: Radical Ride Vehiclez
Kousuke is the kind of guy we like here at Mini Truckin'. That's because he's a convert. You see, Kousuke used to drive a Honda-eww, I know. But, now he's a full-fledged minitrucker from Japan, where the import-car movement, or domestic in its case, is so huge. It's awesome to see Japan still popping out new minitruckers even with influences from movies such as The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.
The scene in Japan is much smaller than in the United States. In Japan, you can only imagine the rarity of seeing a body-dropped and 'bagged mini cruising the streets. Every minitrucker out there dreams of cruising somewhere, maybe it's the Vegas Strip or a beach somewhere. But, to Kousuke, it was to cruise his hometown. When we asked him about it, this is what he said: "Kagoshima is very southern area of Japan, with lots of palm trees. It was my dream of cruisin' seaside with a cool minitruck."
Now that his truck is done, he gets to cruise it whenever he wants, and when he does he imagines himself cruising the West Coast in California. To accomplish this dream, however, was a long and hard road.
To start, he picked up a Toyota Hi-Lux, which is the Japanese version of a Tacoma. They look very similar but are completely different, and Kousuke wanted it to look more like a Taco than it already did. So, he decided to put a new face on his truck. He started out buying American Tacoma parts, but what he soon realized was that they didn't even come close to fitting. "Changing front face into Tacoma was much difficult than they thought first," Kousuke says. "Length of hood and fenders must be shortened; bumper must be shortened width-wise and extended at each side. Hinge of hood, wiper cowl was also different in shape."
So, basically, he learned he didn't have enough knowledge to do the job, and he had to learn the hard way. Eventually, after enough hours of work, they got it on and were pleased to have such a radical Tacoma in comparison to Japanese standards.
Now that Kousuke has had some time with his truck and got some well-needed cruising out of the way, you can definitely expect a rebuild. He plans on redoing the interior completely, repainting the body, and redoing the bed somehow. It's going to be really hard to top this build, but we can't wait to see what he comes up with next.
The Lowdown
Rolling Attire
Wheels (Front/Rear): 18x7.5-inch KMC Units
Tires (Front/Rear): 215/35ZR18 Pirelli

Chassis Modifications
Suspension type: Air, all four corners
Rear suspension: Custom-built four-link
Airbag type and size: Front: Firestone 2500; Rear: Firestone 2600
Spindles: 2-inch drop spindles
Shocks: Toxic shocks
Valves: Eight SMC valves
Compressor(s): Two Thomas 327s
Air line: 3/8-inch
Air accessories: 5-gallon aluminum tank, two dual-air gauges
Frame mods: Step notch
Detail work: Smoothed and painted frame
Performed By: Kar Kustoms
City/State: Kagoshima, Japan

Body Modifications
Shaved: Door handles, gas door, antenna, corner "renses"
Frenched: Gas cap
Body dropped: 3 inches
Front end: '01-'04 Tacoma front face and bumper
Back end: Smooth tailgate skin and license plate box
Taillights: '01-'04 Tacoma
Exterior bolt-ons: '98-'00 Tacoma mirrors, billet grille insert
Misc.: Utilized '01-'04 Tacoma bedside panels, "shortened front, extended back to get longer overhang for better looking!"
Performed by: Kolor Kreation
City/State: Kagoshima, Japan

Brand and colors: Candy white (genuine from Volkswagen), HOK Oriental Blue, cobalt blue, silver metallic
Style: Tribal graphics
Pinstriping: Outline on graphics
Airbrushing: Owner's nickname for truck, "New Face," is airbrushed on the back with some skulls
Performed by: Kolor Kreation
City/State: Kagoshima, Japan

Seats: Front seats from a Daihatsu Opti (Japanese micro car)
Material: Blue tweed
Dash: Smoothed and painted
Door panels: Smoothed and painted, tweed
Center console: Custom-made, two dual-air gauges and switch panel
Flooring: Tweed
Headliner: Tweed
Performed by: Kolor Kreation
City/State: Kagoshima, Japan

Head unit: Alpine

Special Thanks (from owner):
Parents, all the people who helped, and all the guys who show me cool mini-trucks through MT mag.


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