My plan is that in about a year or so, this will be one of the nicest 3rd gen 4Runners in the country. And I started with a good one, this thing is pretty clean. I have made the mistake in the past of taking on a custom project, but starting with a piece of shit and later realizing that it will never be what I want it to be. Pro tip: If you want a nice custom automobile, start with a nice automobile.

I bought it from a small dealership not far from home, which was a weird experience for me since I work at one. I paid right around $4400 plus tax for it, which I think was a good deal as these are getting hard to find in decent shape.

This is a 97, so pre “fat lip” front bumper, which I never thought looked right. Very low miles at only 132,000. The only rust is on the chrome of the rear bumper. Frame is solid. Everything works, engine smooth, trans shifts out, 4wd, low range, A/C, rear window, etc. The only things I’ve found in disrepair are the power antenna mast and a A/C vent that the little slider to shut off the air flow seems to be missing. Oh and I have some brake pedal fade that I’ll need to iron out. Interior is clean, though this “leather” is cheap as hell. One panel on the driver’s seat is worn through, but I might just replace all of the seat surfaces with something softer anyway.

I have big plans for this thing, but it will go in small steps. On day one, I removed the running boards, cheesy window vents, and all badging. I think it’s looking better already.