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We remember the printed ad as if it had jumped off the press yesterday. "If we've heard it once, we've heard it a thousand times," went the first page. We had no choice but to investigate further. The next page read, "If only Toyota made a bigger truck." With those two lines, Toyota jumped into the fullsize truck market more than a decade ago. Looking back was not an option.
The new-for-'93 T-100 held big potential. Generous cab space replaced the compact surroundings Toyota pickup owners were used to. Hauling a full 4x8 sheet of plywood in the bed was at last a reality for T-100 owners. Finally, the T-100 was built with the same commitment to quality that has earned Toyota a reputation for longevity and reliability.
On paper, it was a match made in automotive heaven. On terra firma, the T-100's 3.0L V-6 was a lukewarm performer, and the truck's dimensions were more Dakota-size than fullsize. Before it was replaced by the Tundra, the T-100 saw a progression of intelligent, functional improvements that made it more of a contender. The T-100 and the Tundra passed each other in the hallway in 1998.
For the right off-roader, the T-100 can still be a heavenly choice. Since the newest T-100 is 7 years old, they're attractively priced in the used market. The not-quite-fullsize dimensions mean better ability on tight trails compared with fullsize, full-blood-American heavy metal. Although suspension kits are not plentiful, long-travel suspension kits from Total Chaos can be bolted onto T-100 4x4 frontends.
For Curtis Guise, a T-100 was the only way to go. "I have always wanted a fullsize race truck, but didn't have the money, so I bought a T-100 to build as a prerunner. I did most of the work myself to save as much money as possible."
Did we mention that Guise is a terminal Toyota fan? His first 'Yota was an '83 straight-axle 4x4, followed by a '90 pickup equipped with a T.C. front suspension. Other Toys in the lineup have included an '85 4Runner built for 'crawling and an '82 2WD pickup built to race Class 7. The '82 Class 7 fabrication was the perfect segue into the T-100 buildup: Curtis designed and built the rollcage and front coilover suspension. The '82 Guise-built was raced in MDR and VORRA for about two seasons. "The '82 was pretty compact inside, and it was still leaf-sprung in the rear. I was able to sell my old race truck and use the proceeds to buy the T-100 and some of the parts for the build."