You know who else drove a black Toyota 4X4? F*cking Marty McFly. Sure – he had to go back in time and tweak the past a little bit to make it happen, but Marty McFly said, “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”
We’ve all heard that line before. And unfortunately, corny advice-givers seem to have ill timing, as it usually comes when we’re neck deep in the struggle, while we’re feeling overwhelmed & frustrated… and we frankly don’t wanna hear that crap. That weapon is best given before battle… not in the thick of it. So we really need to pause for a second now – stop – and let it sink in.
Then we need to go further. We need to put it on repeat, beat it into our skull – not for days, but for years. We need to get to a point where it runs through our subconscious, we believe it with passion, we make it part of our DNA… and we fight for it because it’s true. If we REALLY put our mind to it, and commit to a cause, we can accomplish radical things. And that’s the point of it all, isn’t it? Not just to survive & ‘get by’ in this life, but also to challenge ourselves… triumph, and to grow from the experiences we have here.
Let me tell you about Joshua Steele. He was a pro windsurfer for 10 years. On the way to the beach one day, he passed a local drift event, and stopped in to see what they were doing. That stop changed his life. He bought a cosmetically rough 350Z, learned the ropes of drifting, and got pretty damn good at it… taking it all the way to a pro level in Formula D… even opening his own tuning shop/brand called NEVRSLO. Now – his interests have expanded to Baja trucks. So Joshua did what he does best, he went all-in again and spent the better part of a year researching the trucks. He talked to the professionals, learned the dynamics, and now he’s built his first custom truck.
When you talk to Joshua, you can feel his enthusiasm for life. It’s in the room and it’s infectious & energizing. You want to hang out with him longer and be inspired. He’s a natural born leader, not a fabricated one. Most sensible people on this planet will try to rationalize AWAY their impulsivity as a ‘slip’ in good judgment. Josh rationalizes it as a slip of genius. And that’s an important distinction. Society will try to pair impulsivity with rashness or immaturity. But Joshua’s impulsivity is extremely calculated… and might I remind you – successful.
So this is his first Baja build and the first of many in the NEVRSLO pipeline. It sparked when Josh was on one of his routine trips to Baja to windsurf. There’s a restaurant about 40 miles before the cut-off road to the camp where they stay on the beach… and the restaurant is actually the starting point for the Baja 1000. His exposure to that area/culture, combined with Josh’s love for lifted Yota 4X4s – led to this. It was a ludicrous concept from the start, but why not take it there. Drifting is an expensive addiction, but Baja can wipe you out.
Joshua started out simple (I guess), and bought a 2004 Tacoma Pre Runner. He swapped to a 2005 fiberglass front clip, giving the truck a late-model appearance. In the back, he used Engage rear fenders. I’m not sure if most people know this, but Baja trucks evolve as you build them. Meaning, you may envision one thing at the start of the build, but it changes every time you make a cut, weld, etc., always adapting. One of the most insane differences between building a drift car and a Baja truck is the suspension. Drift cars, for the most part, have to stay within the boundaries of their chassis design/setup. With Baja trucks – literally anything goes! It’s crazy how crazy you can get with the trucks – seriously. Josh spent months waiting on the perfect custom application from Fox Shocks. With Fox – every shock/coilover for these trucks is valved precisely for that specific build… with consideration for what & where you plan to drive the truck.
There are basically two types of rear end setups you can do with Baja. The first, being more affordable & more common, is the axle-over-leaf spring rear. That’s what this truck is running. The alternative option is the 4-link. It has a considerably higher cost (10k), but it also allows way more travel, and the ride is amazing. NEVRSLO’s next truck is being built with a 4-link right now, and a NEVERSLO Formula D livery to match. (see Issue 35)
Going back to the axle-over-leaf spring setup for a minute, stock Tacomas come with the rear axle mounted below the leaf springs, and the OEM leaf springs themselves are much shorter & straighter. When you go to a long-travel conversion, you upgrade to longer leaf springs, that when mounted, have much more ‘droop’. In other words, they have much more arch, like an upside-down rainbow. This droop is what allows the desired long travel. However, you have to visualize the travel in 2-parts: upward AND downward travel – compression when going over a rock/obstacle, and expansion when departing the obstacle & returning back to solid ground. So with the long-travel leaf springs, you relocate the axle above the leaf springs, so that the wheels can travel both upward & downward the same distance. 10-inches upward travel and 10-inches downward travel gives you a total of 20-inches.
With the amount of travel this truck has, the leading front tire will actually lift off the ground as you turn. It’s so much fun! This truck has the travel & reinforcements to handle 5-7ft jumps without hang-ups.
People dig seeing a drift car on the streets, but people honestly don’t even know how to react when you merge into traffic with this thing. They don’t know whether they should call the police… or whether you ARE the police. Imagine for a minute if you will, sitting at a red light waiting for it to change… and then seeing this truck blast out of nowhere, jump the intersection, and then casually lean into the Quicky Mart for a slurpy. It doesn’t make you less of a diehard ‘car’ guy to take fascination in a truck like this. If anything – it makes you more of one.
2004 Tacoma Pre Runner Long Travel Baja
2005+ front conversion 1-piece clip, Engage rear fenders, Engage long travel front end – upper & lower control arms, NEVRSLO cus- tom long travel rear end, Deaver 10 leaf pack; 62.5-inches long, Fox coilover 2.5 with Fox 2.5 rear, ATX 17-inch Chamber Pro 2 bead lock wheels, 35×12.50.17 General Grabber tires, BMW metal flake black paint, Rebuilt transmission, Built driveshaft with ex. Yoke, Rebuilt axles, bearings, seals, T-Spacer, 2008 radiator conversion, K&N intake, Magna Flow customized exhaust, Hawk front brake pads, Optima Battery