When Andre Soto of San Diego, CA, got his 1996 Toyota Tacoma truck during his junior year of high school, he wanted to modify it and add some performance features, but wasn’t really sure how.
“I started going to car shows, and all I saw were all Hondas or Acuras,” Soto said. “I then decided to take my ‘96 Tacoma and build it as an import-style truck.”
Soto, who is enrolled in the Toyota T-Ten program at San Diego-based Miramar College, said he started to build the truck by re-doing the interior and getting a body kit. At the time, the truck body kit was only the third one made from Street Weapon Composites, though the business no longer exists.
“The next steps were getting it painted and getting some bigger wheels,” Soto said. “I started to do carbon fiber because I had never seen a truck with any carbon fiber at all,” he said. “This truck has taken me about two years to build and now I attend car shows all over California.”
Soto, who also works as an apprentice at Lexus Kearny Mesa in San Diego, said his future plans for his truck include a full air bag suspension system.
“I may re-build the motor or maybe even do a motor swap with a certain secret Japanese motor,” Soto explained. “Of course, with the rebuild of the motor, I will have to build a custom brake system so it can stop the power house.”
Soto described Miramar College’s Toyota T-Ten program as a great place to learn and said he hopes to open his own car customizing shop. “I have always dreamed about being able to build custom vehicles for your average income customers and your unlimited income customers.”