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1997 Toyota Tacoma: Legacy

Brand Loyalty to a Whole New Level

Phil Gordon
Apr 12, 2019
Photographers: Phil Gordon
There is one man who has infinite knowledge and recollection regarding anything Toyota. That man is Nick Guillory (or Nick John, which he goes by on social media). If you ask “Where did this Tacoma come from?” or “Who built this Toyota 4Runner?” Nick knows the answer. He’s been involved with Toyota trucks his entire life. “My entire family owned Toyotas growing up,” he tells Truckin. “At family gatherings, it looked like a Toyota dealership.” When Nick was 10 years old, his older brother put him behind the wheel of his ’86 Toyota pickup, and the rest was history. He was set to carry on that tradition.
At 16, Nick purchased his first vehicle, an ’86 like his brother’s pickup, and his mechanical knowledge and expertise began there. “They were simple, yet somewhat complicated,” Nick adds. “It was a great learning experience for me.” The durability and longevity of the Toyota brand wasn’t the only thing Nick admired, it was the shape and lines of the pickups that stood out to him. To date, he has owned 17 Toyota vehicles and has yet to purchase anything different.
Photo 2/14   |   Legacy 1997 Toyota Tacoma Rear 3q
When it came time for him to break into the show scene, Nick began searching for a truck that would stand out among the others. With knowledge of virtually every Tacoma and 4Runner throughout the country, he found a Tacoma in California he wanted. The owner, Brian Arnold, was honored to sell the ’97 Toyota Tacoma to Nick knowing it would be cared for. Overall, the Tacoma was in good condition but needed some definite upgrades to keep it modern.
Nick ordered new headlights and corner lights that arrived long before the new mini. Once he finally got his new pickup, it went straight to the paint shop for correction. Don Plumer and Jeffrey Brignac at Extreme Liners and Customs fixed the cracked roll pan and handled all the paint defects and dings. Nick’s good friend Chad Loque overhauled the entire air-ride system by removing all the old wiring, replaced the compressors with newer-style Viair compressors, and added new air bags.
Photo 3/14   |   Legacy 1997 Toyota Tacoma Engine
Photo 4/14   |   Legacy 1997 Toyota Tacoma Devious Customs Wishbone
The Toyota had been submerged in water and sustained extreme damage to the wheels and undercarriage due to flooding in Louisiana. Nick’s friend Alex Holder transported the Tacoma to Baton Rouge, where he jacked it up, pulled the wheels off, and ceramic coated the paint to protect it from the elements. The wheels were polished and the water marks were removed. Under the hood, Nick replaced the radiator and upgraded the alternator to handle the additional drain of the new air-ride system.
Nick is considered the Toyota guru through the mini-truck scene and runs several social media groups focusing on the culture. When his wife started looking for a show vehicle, he found her a body-dropped 4Runner. His daily driver is a ’15 Tacoma, which brings his household Toyota count to seven. Nick wishes to thank his wife and partner, Amanda, for her constant pushing to be better and achieve greater success in their lives. Their children Laine, Will, and Lilly have already expressed interest in owning their first Toyota and continuing the legacy.
Photo 5/14   |   Legacy 1997 Toyota Tacoma Interior
Photo 6/14   |   Legacy 1997 Toyota Tacoma Audio

Inside the Build

Year/Make/Model: 1997 Toyota Tacoma
Owner and City/State: Nick Guillory (Nick John); Lafayette, Louisiana
Club Affiliation: Sunset
Front Suspension: Bio Kustomz drop spindles, tubbed to lay on 20s, relocated clutch master, Bilstein shocks, Slam Specialties RE-5 airbags
Rear Suspension: Custom back half, forward four-link, Devious Customs wishbone, Bilstein shocks, Slam Specialties RE-7 airbags, Viair 380s, Accuair VU4
Engine: 2.4L TRD Performance, K&N intake, chrome and painted engine pieces, Devious Customs fuel cell
Transmission: Five-speed transmission
Rearend: ’94 Toyota axle
Body/Paint: Body-dropped 3 ½ inches; Color Horizons custom finishes by Matt Hutchinson at Extreme Audio & Kustoms; ceramic coated by Alex Holder; purple airbrush; powdercoated and painted by R.W. Little; shaved door handles, squirters, gas door, third brake light, antenna, and tailgate; aftermarket blacked headlights; clear corners; ’04 Tacoma taillights; OEM bumper with license plate insert; 35x40 sliding ragtop
Interior: Custom Grommit Industries seats, smoothed and painted dash, molded TV screen, Dakota Digital and Cyberdyne gauges, Adam “Handmade” Radiovich handbuilt custom door panels, Toyota custom steering wheel, custom-built gauge cluster, custom center console, shaved and molded interior done by Extreme Audio & Kustoms
Stereo: JVC KD-AVX11 EXAD head unit, Rockford Fosgate components in custom door panel pods, four 10-inch Rockford Fosgate P3S subwoofers, Rockford Fosgate 1,600-watt mono amplifier, Rockford Fosgate 1,400-watt amplifier, XS Power batteries all done by Adam “Handmade” at Extreme Audio & Kustoms
Wheels & Tires:
Wheels: 20x7.5; MSR model 85
Tires: 215/30ZR/20; Nankang Noble Sport