A Deeply Personal Toyota Tacoma Build
Tragedy is an inevitable part of the human experience. At some point, we all experience hardship and loss. While it is often difficult to see through the struggle in the moment, human resiliency in the midst of life’s challenges is one of the most inspiring aspects of lived experience, both collectively and deeply personally.
This is where our story starts today. I had the opportunity to talk to Brian and take a look at his 2021 Tacoma TRD Pro at SEMA 2021, and the story behind the build is as inspiring as a story can be. Of course, the truck itself is amazing, as well, so without further adieu, let’s get into it!
Brian comes from a family of vehicle enthusiasts. He and his dad loved cars and working on builds together. So, when Brian’s dad passed away before they could take on the latest project they were planning, Brian was understandably devastated yet inspired.
This Tacoma build is, as Brian explains it, a tribute to his dad. To honor his father, Brian decided to opt for the best when modifying the Tacoma, and after seeing the truck in person, we have no doubt that his dad would be proud of the amazing vehicle his son has built.
As if the tribute to his dad isn’t inspiring enough, Brian has an even greater purpose for this particular Tacoma. After almost dying of dysentery during a trip to Africa, Brian found himself compelled to help the children in the area. A shocking 37% of children in the area die before age five due to waterborne illnesses.
In the 12 years since, Brian and some close friends have been helping bring clean drinking water to regions of Africa that desperately need it. Over 1.5 million people have since benefitted from sustainable clean water.
So, not only is Brian remembering his dad by building this gorgeous Toyota Tacoma, but he is also using it to raise awareness for the work he is doing in Africa. Through this increased awareness and the accompanying 4xFor Challenge, Brian hopes to raise $1 million, 100% of which will go toward providing clean drinking water to even more areas.
It is a truly inspirational story that will bring about even more life changing good to those in need.
Starting with a 2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro was a no-brainer for Brian; after all, he wanted to build the best truck possible. This same mindset extended to the modifications Brian made to the Tacoma, making this one of the most impressive builds we have seen.
In the front, Brian’s Toyota Tacoma features the Hybrid Front Bumper from C4 Fabrication—a brand that receives a lot of recognition with this build. Also protecting this incredible build are rock sliders, the Overland Series High Clearance Rear Bumper with a single swing-out, custom one-off skid plates from C4 Fabrication. As Brian puts it, “Anything that is armor on this truck is from C4.”
Recovery Gear and Lighting
Up top, Brian has a roof rack from the Sherpa Equipment Company. This rack has multiple mounts for lights, and Brian is using Baja Designs S2 lights, rock lights, and two S8 Light Bars to provide 360-degree lighting.
Suspension, Wheels, and Tires
No build is complete without a thorough revamping of the suspension, and Brian’s Tacoma is no different. He swapped the factory lower control arms for Performance Lower Control Arms from Dirt King. The lowers are paired with Icon Vehicle Dynamics upper control arms, creating a really durable front suspension setup.
Also in the front are Fox 2.5 Adjustable Coilover Reservoir Shocks. These are complemented by Deaver Expedition Series Leaf Springs, which do an excellent job supporting the approximately 1000 pounds Brian has added to the rear of the truck.
The wheels on this Tacoma are from Stealth Custom wrapped in Yokohama Geolander M/Ts. The combination complements the gunmetal color scheme of the custom wrap.
One of the key additions to Brian’s Toyota Tacoma overland build is the Alu-Cab Explorer Canopy with a CVT Mt. Hood rooftop tent affixed to the top. Nestled in the side cabinets is one of the most impressive parts of this amazing Tacoma—Brian’s electrical system.
Designed for long-term travel, there are 200-amp hours of power provided by Battle Born lithium batteries. These are managed by a REDARC system paired with the Garmin Powerswitch, giving Brian the ability to control every accessory and the key aspects of the truck from his phone or tablet.
In the bed is an organizer’s dream—a TruckVault system with easy-to-access drawers. Brian also has the Mountain Hatch tailgate insert, effectively converting his tailgate into a function food prep surface.
Custom Grille Insert
One of the modifications to this Toyota Tacoma that stands out is the custom grille that mimics the original TRD Pro design. On Brian’s truck, the Toyota branding is gone and replaced by a clean, factory-style “HerschX.”
Brian explains that his dad’s name was Hersch, and the X stands for “expedition.” Adding even more intrigue to this custom touch is the fact that one of Brian’s former students, who now works for renowned car companies, designed it. The personalized emblem even features LED lighting, making it stand out even more at night.
We hope you enjoyed this build breakdown and perhaps came away with some inspiration for your own Toyota Tacoma project. Be sure to check out the video walk-around of this epic truck by visiting our YouTube channel, as well.
If you want to learn more about Brian’s mission or want to contribute to the cause, be sure to check out the 4xFor Challenge. All contributions go directly toward the goal of providing clean drinking water to those who need it.
For all your Tacoma needs, visit TacomaBeast. With experts ready to answer all of your questions, a great selection of parts to make your dream build a reality, and a wealth of Toyota information at your disposal, TacomaBeast is your one-stop-shop for all things Tacoma!