- Doug and Brad DeBerti are well known for their unique automotive creations.
- What started life as a stock 2019 Toyota Tacoma has been transformed into a showstopping performer.
- Custom F1-style aero pieces, centerlock wheels, and its widebody kit were all part of DeBerti’s vision.
- A 900hp and 900 lb-ft torque TRD NASCAR V8 engine powers this one-of-a-kind truck.
Some builds make people say, “wow, that’s cool,” and then there are other builds like this Tacoma named The Performance Truck that make people try to wrap their head around it and say, “how?” The DeBerti team is known for coming up with some insane projects, but this one tops the charts by far.
THE PAST IS THE PAST
Those who dabbled in the mini-truck/slammed truck world back in the late-’90s might remember a company named Trenz, known for billet aluminum truck accessories; Doug DeBerti started that company. Brad DeBerti is Doug’s son, wheelman of The Performance Truck, and master of all things off-road racing. When I entered the DeBerti compound, I was amazed at all of the trophies in the front office. They’ve dominated classes from motocross to rally, and trophy truck-style racing since Brad started racing as a kid back home in California. Now, Brad follows his dad’s footsteps of building some radical one-off attention-grabbing vehicles.
NOTHING OFF THE SHELF
Outside of some materials and parts donated from high-end sponsors like TRD Performance, Advanced Fiberglass, Gibson Performance, BF Goodrich, and Forgeline, The Performance Truck was designed and built in-house by the DeBerti crew. They started with a brand new 2019 Toyota Tacoma, took some design cues from Formula 1 racecars, and worked from there. Almost nothing on this truck is off the shelf; mostly everything is handmade specifically for this truck. Front to rear, they designed the chassis, hand-bent, and welded it together out of choromly steel. In the back of the truck, their four-link suspension design holds a quick change rear end, while QA1 shocks keep the whole thing planted. The front suspension consists of a DeBerti-designed strut-style setup with Feal Suspension struts.
BUILT TO HANDLE
One of Brad’s goals was to drift the Tacoma, so they created the complete steering system to achieve 72 degrees of turning angle. Forgeline pitched in a custom-spec set of centerlock wheels, 19 inches up front and 20s in the rear. At the same time, BF Goodrich provided some of its Rival tires to wrap around them. Due to what Brad wanted out of the truck, braking needed to be top-notch, too. Alcon six-piston big brakes ride up front, and the company’s big four-piston models take care of the rear.
TRUST THE PROCESS
Before starting on the build process, Doug, Brad, and the crew spent six months designing the complete layout. Much of that time went into the body. The Tacoma’s track width grew substantially after combining the new suspension setup with the wide wheels. So, it’s easy to see where the time needed to be allotted. With Advanced Fiberworks and TRD on board, they also designed a wide body kit that not only grabs eyes but works where it counts — on the track. After the DeBerti-developed model made it to Advanced to be laid, it returned for machine work before going on the truck. It’s then finished off with a matte multi-colored wrap by CW Wraps.
10,000RPM NASCAR V8 POWER
My favorite part of the truck lies between the frame rails. Toyota Racing Development graciously handed over one of its 2020 NASCAR Cup series car engines for the build, and boy does it sing, all the way to 10,000rpm. TRD will not, under any circumstances, give out information about the motor other than a few details. But, we know the small block displaces 426ci and makes 900hp and torque at 7,000rpm. The wildest part? The DeBerti crew isn’t allowed to touch it. All engine maintenance has to go through TRD.
Gibson Performance gladly pitched in a custom-built 3-inch exhaust system with mufflers, but I will say they don’t silence much. With that motor, why would you? Behind the 426 sits an RTS 6XD sequential six-speed transmission. Power transfers from the TRD power plant to the six-speed through a 7.25 triple-disc clutch and then out through a QA1 carbon fiber driveshaft to the rear end.
FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
Brad’s got all the safety amenities a typical race car or truck would have on the inside. A carbon fiber dash from McNeil Racing adds a nice touch, while an AEM Performance Electronics CD7 LCD screen displays all the truck’s vitals. The whole Tacoma runs off AEM’s Infinity stand-alone ECU. Sparco seats and harnesses safely wrap Brad and his other two passengers tightly. Yes, two. One is his wife, and his little one even has a small safety seat in the rear. The truck is tagged and insured, although Brad doesn’t drive it on public roads often — for obvious reasons. A touch screen sits where the A/C controls would be for easy navigation in a central position.
Brad had many intentions for this Tacoma, hence naming it The Performance Truck. The entire build was inspired by Formula 1, hence the air inlets and center-lock wheels. Brad is a man of many talents and wanted his truck to be, too — from drifting to road racing, rallycross, rally, and even drag racing. They built air jacks into the truck to help quickly make chassis, suspension, and drivetrain adjustments throughout such a wide range of activities.
After six months of design work, they spent numerous 20-hour days at the shop to complete this project in only three months. It’s an impressive feat and one of the most unbelievable things I learned from them. There’s a massive following for this truck, too. So big, in fact, it’s in the Forza Horizon 5 video game! Keep your eyes out for more from these guys; they’ve got some killer stuff coming up, and you don’t want to miss it.