When your hometown is Moab, Utah, arguably the largest off-road Mecca in the world, you are bound to drive a 4x4 with a few unique features. It never fails. Every time we wheel there we see trucks with new ideas from all over the country. We see what works, what breaks, what's scary, and what people just plain like to drive.
Like us, Joe West has been studying the scene in Moab for years. He runs his own repair shop there and has firsthand knowledge of what it takes to wheel Moab and how to do it as cheaply as possible. The secret to Joe's '84 Toyota has been to collect cheap parts and then find a way to make them work on his truck. Joe did the entire buildup himself and must have begged, borrowed, or stolen some of the parts on his rig, as he said he only laid out about a grand to build what you see here.
The buildup goals were simple: Build something fun that "looks good, runs good, and climbs like hell." Joe went with the fat and low stance, keeping lift to a minimum and moving and cutting off anything that got in the way of the 35s. The factory bed lost out to a custom flatbed that mounts a nonmatching spare and all the trail tools Joe could ever need. An exo-cage was built to protect the Toy if it ever turned turtle, and the paint of choice was simple, flat black everything. Hey, turtles ain't flashy.