Last Minute



An ’88 Toy­ota Taco in­spired by two Tacos

Deer Park, Texas, res­i­dent Chris Mal­one found his niche when he was in­tro­duced to Toy­ota Ta­coma brothers Cody and Bobby Reynolds. “I was walk­ing around a lo­cal car hang­out when I first saw their trucks,” Chris tells Truckin. “This was the first time I saw one of these minis body-dropped, and I just fell in love with the style.” Chris never owned any­thing with an ad­justable sus­pen­sion in the past, so this was out of his com­fort zone—but it felt so right to him. With the Reynolds brothers of­fer­ing guid­ance, Chris was on the hunt for his first Ta­coma.

His search came to an end when he found a ’98 Toy­ota Ta­coma on a used car lot and im­me­di­ately made ar­range­ments to take it home. The Taco had been sit­ting for quite some time, so the first item on the to-do list was restor­ing the en­gine to run­ning con­di­tion. Chris had his per­sonal me­chanic, Howard Wil­lis, change the in­jec­tors and make mi­nor ad­just­ments to get it run­ning. Chris made an ap­point­ment with Rocky Fox at Chaotic Cus­toms in Con­roe, Texas, to repli­cate the Reynolds’ Ta­co­mas by adding a stock floor body drop.

His good friend and Madd Con­cepts shop owner, Patrick Reid, started bug­ging him about let­ting him paint the Toy­ota. “I knew I wanted a clean paintjob,” Chris says. “But I also wanted to make this mini my daily driver.” Chris was hes­i­tant to add a full show-style paintjob, but he trusted Patrick to work his magic to make the Ta­coma unique. Chris dropped it off at Madd Con­cepts and ar­rived one week later to find Patrick had added a solid PPG White Di­a­mond paint along with full graph­ics. He re­it­er­ated to Patrick that he wasn’t look­ing for a show truck and wanted more of a daily driver, but Patrick in­sisted his Taco could check both boxes.

With the sus­pen­sion and paint work­ing to­gether co­he­sively, Chris turned his at­ten­tion to the in­te­rior. He found a set of ’98 Honda Civic bucket seats and brought them to Al­fredo at Ar­jona Up­hol­stery in Pasadena, Texas, where they were wrapped in old­school blue tweed and black Katzkin leather. Patrick painted the in­te­rior pieces to repli­cate the ex­te­rior. To try some­thing new, Chris found a full­size Chevy truck sun­roof and be­gan the cut­ting process, not know­ing if it would even fit. Chris reached out to Chris Cod­ding­ton at Hot Rods by Boyd for a cus­tom one-off steer­ing wheel and 18-inch Viper wheels to add to his Ta­coma. Once Chris’ truck was com­plete, he de­buted it at the Out­break show in Lufkin, Texas, clock­ing 200 miles round-trip for its maiden voy­age. The full build time from start to fin­ish came in at a lit­tle less than six months. Chris al­ways pushed him­self and the peo­ple build­ing for him, so he was able to do what takes most peo­ple years to ac­com­plish in half a year. With all the rush­ing around to meet dead­lines, it al­ways seemed like his de­ci­sions re­gard­ing what to do and the styles he se­lected were last minute. That feel­ing led to him nam­ing his cus­tom Taco Last Minute. Chris wishes to thank his lov­ing and sup­port­ive wife, Court­ney Car­roll. Her Ta­coma was fea­tured in Truckin just a few months back, and now the house­hold has two body-dropped Ta­co­mas. This should make award time not only ex­cit­ing but very com­pet­i­tive.

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