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1986 Toyota Corolla - Baller Hauler & Co.

Rethinking the delivery truck by way of Toyota's AE86

Aaron Bonk
Jul 26, 2018
Photographer: Dan Coria

You think you defied the mainstream that time you painted your own valve cover, or later when you sticker bombed your rear windshield. It turns out you deviating from the herd is more difficult than any of that, and it'll take more than some used, Japanese-only armrest you scored to get noticed. Legitimate deviation, it seems, has less to do with an old armrest you and a couple thousand rare parts aficionados all think is cool and more to do with you being more like Miles Shinneman. And by being more like Miles Shinneman, we're talking about you going out and putting that armrest money toward something like a 25-year-old delivery truck.

1993 isuzu NPR 1986 toyota corolla Photo 2/53   |   1993 Isuzu NPR 1986 Toyota Corolla

Commuting around in a wheeled box designed for transporting things like loaves of sourdough will never make you cool and Miles has the answer. Cool points are instead awarded by way of lopping off and chucking that roof and four walls and turning that one-bedroom apartment mover into an AE86 Corolla-hauler with livery to match.

It's the two-vehicle arrangement that makes Miles' situation work, and it starts with that early-'90s Isuzu mover. "I kept seeing these Isuzu NPR box trucks [showing] up for cheap," Miles says about his tow vehicle search that went from diesel trucks to enclosed mattress haulers. "I figured I could build a ramp truck and fund the whole thing by selling my trailer," he reasoned. "[But] when I got the truck, I went a little wild and decided it needed to look cool as well as function, so the teardown and rebuild started." According to Miles, that AE86 of his and that box truck were never supposed to coordinate with one another like they have, but by his account "the lines matched up and it all just happened to come together."

1993 isuzu NPR custom tilt deck Photo 6/53   |   1993 Isuzu NPR Custom Tilt Deck

About that AE86; Miles will be the first to tell you of the condition he found it in and how he rescued the $500 Toyota from a creek bed and filled with some 50 pounds worth of mud. Junking the Corolla's original carbureted four-cylinder for the elusive 3S-GE BEAMS engine and Alteeza gearbox he swapped in was the obvious decision. The not-so-obvious move was Miles' fabricating all of its aero from steel instead of the sort of composite materials you expect things like front spoilers and side skirts to be made from. "[I] was sick of fixing fiberglass on my last drift car," he puts it, "so I built the full metal body kit."

The metalwork makes its way onto that Isuzu box truck, too, and in a big way. Get past the hydraulically operated tilt deck Miles fashioned in his driveway with its remote-operated winch and you'll begin noticing details like the truck's chopped-down doors, its lopped cab, and those hand-made fender flares that've been molded into the body. Stare at the whole thing long enough and you just might make the mistake of thinking Miles does this sort of thing for a living and you'd be sorely mistaken. "[My grandpa] was always building or working on something," he says about the man he built a sand sailer from scratch with, and who he inherited his first fabricating tools from. "Those tools were the spark that got me moving on my own tool obsession that allowed me to start my fabrication life," Miles says. "If it wasn't for my grandpa, I wouldn't have ended up a fabricator."

1986 toyota corolla 3S GE BEAMs swap Photo 10/53   |   1986 Toyota Corolla 3S GE Beams Swap

Both the hauler's and the Corolla's talking points go beyond their custom-fabricated bits, though. Like the Isuzu's diesel engine, for example, that was ditched for one of GM's LS-based, small-block V8s, also known as the Vortec 6000. Even the truck's suspension was updated by way of air bags all around, all remotely controlled with Air Lift Performance's 3H air management system. The Corolla's underside has been shown love, too, with Megan Racing coilovers and Techno Toy Tuning knuckles, control arms, and the company's four-link conversion.

Talk with Miles and you'll know that something like that box truck conversion he calls the "Baller Hauler" was inevitable. "I've always customized my rides," he wants you to know. And by customized rides he's being modest. Miles' automotive archives are full of things like chopped Isuzu Rodeos and Toyota Tacomas on hydraulics as well as more drift-able specimens, like that AE86, and still more sedate varieties, like an Infiniti Q45 positioned on more than 16 degrees of negative camber. But something like that Baller Hauler, that was never meant to be. "The [Corolla] was for sure going to be a drift missile," Miles says. "The NPR was supposed to be a tow truck; it wasn't supposed to look all fancy—just beat-up and rusted...a POS that would haul things like my Rodeo."

1993 isuzu NPR custom cut cab Photo 20/53   |   1993 Isuzu NPR Custom Cut Cab
1993 isuzu NPR alcoa wheel Photo 30/53   |   1993 Isuzu NPR Alcoa Wheel
1986 toyota corolla custom side skirts Photo 37/53   |   1986 Toyota Corolla Custom Side Skirts
1993 isuzu NPR custom tilt deck Photo 47/53   |   1993 Isuzu NPR Custom Tilt Deck
By Aaron Bonk
411 Articles
1986 Toyota Corolla - Baller Hauler & Co.
Tuning Menu
'86 Toyota Corolla
Owner: Miles Shinneman
Hometown: Fair Oaks, CA
Occupation: LG Electronics regional sales engineer
Instagram: @shortrodeo
Engine: 3S-GE BEAMS engine swap; custom 2.5" exhaust; Magnaflow muffler; DeatschWerks DW350iL fuel pump
Drivetrain: Altezza J160 transmission; ORC clutch and lightweight flywheel; 4.30:1 gears and spool; Ford 8.8 rear end
Footwork & Chassis: Megan Racing coilovers (front); Techno Toy Tuning/KYB coilover conversion (rear); Whiteline front and rear adjustable sway bars; Techno Toy Tuning knuckles, GTX2 lower control arms, four-link suspension kit
Brakes: Mini Cooper rotors (front); Nissan S13 240SX rotors (rear); Hawk pads; Mazda FC RX-7/Techno Toy Tuning calipers (front); Wilwood dual calipers (rear); Earl's steel-braided lines; Wilwood master cylinder; Twisted Images hydraulic emergency brake
Wheels & Tires: 15x9" +15 Rota Grid wheels; 195/50R15 Zestino tires
Exterior: custom metal front lip, side skirts, and rear diffuser; RA Graphics/Avery/SFG wrap
Interior: Sparco Evo II seats; Crow five-point harness (driver); RJS five-point harness (passenger); stripped and clear-coated interior; Grip Royal steering wheel; Speedline steering column; Auto Meter gauges
'93 Isuzu NPR
Engine: GM LS engine swap; custom 4-into-1 long-tube headers, 3" exhaust, X-pipe, and electric cutouts; Magnaflow mufflers; Walbro 255lph fuel pump; MSD ignition wires
Drivetrain: custom clutch packs, torque converter, and shift kit; late-model 4.30:1 rear differential; B&M Pro Stick shifter
Footwork & Chassis: Slam Specialties RE-8 air bags (front); semi-truck air bags (rear); Air Lift Performance 3H air management system; FLO Airride tanks (2); Viair 444C air compressors (2); custom 4130 chromoly sway bars; leaf spring to multi-link conversion; 20" stretched wheelbase;
Wheels & Tires: 24" Alcoa wheels; 305/40-24 tires
Exterior: metal front bumper, lip, side skirts, vents, and fender flares; chopped doors and cut cab; custom hydraulic tilt deck and headache rack; Warn M8000 winch; RA Graphics/Avery/SFG wrap; wrap-around multi-color under-glow lighting
Interior: Acura Integra seats (3); custom perforated leather upholstery throughout; Baller Hauler/Ridiculous Fabwerx Grip Royal steering wheel; Speed Hut gauge package; suede-wrapped metal dash, door panels and suede headliner; Techno Toy Tuning GT3 door handles; Ford F150 A/C vents; JL Audio head unit; Alpine amp; MB Quartz speakers

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