Through the years, almost all of our conversion customers always start off with the same question: “how did you get into this?” so I finally bit the bullet and wrote it all down. My purpose in writing this was to give past and future customers an idea of who we are and where we come from.
I founded Diesel Toys almost by accident in late 2004. I had grown up working on cars with my wonderful grandpa and tinkering in his little garage-shop after school or whenever something needed repair. We would purchase everything from old VW’s with blown engines to Toyota trucks, even an old Corvair made the list. We would clean them up, get them running, and sell them in order to move onto a new project. After an ill-fated eBay purchase left us with a truck that was seemingly impossible to repair due to the vehicle being submerged in the ocean (literally), I began scouring the internet looking for anything to avoid scrapping the vehicle entirely. Having visited the UK a few years prior and noticing all the Toyota diesels over there, I began to look for a someone willing to help import a Toyota diesel engine. My thinking at the time was that since the diesel had less electronics etc. it would be easier to get the truck running…how wrong I was. Well, I finally found a guy willing to sell me a “half cut” and had it crated and shipped over here. We picked up the half cut and I spent the better part of a month dissecting it and absorbing the project as a whole.
I quickly came to understand that these modern diesel engines were almost completely electronically controlled and schematics/reference materials were simply non-existent online. So, I had to go through and reverse engineer the thing. By the time I got the truck running, I had a very advanced understanding of how these things operated. I had achieved what I had set out to do, but at considerable expense. I had learned so much during this project; I felt I could tackle any Toyota that was thrown at me. I think I actually memorized every Toyota wire used in those older trucks. I drove the truck for a few months and decided to put it on eBay. At my grandpa’s urging, I listed it for a substantial amount more than I ever thought it would fetch. I completed the listing, hit submit, and went out to dinner…
By the time I returned from dinner, my email inbox was buzzing with activity. There were people asking if I could convert their trucks, people complimenting on the factory appearance, people wanting to know how I did it, and most importantly, the Buy-It-Now had been hit! I remember thinking to myself “holy crap, I think I may have something here…” I booked my first three conversions within a week of that eBay auction and very quickly realized I could do this full time as my own business. I decided to call my company Diesel Toys® (the “toys” is a colloquialism for Toyotas) and spent the next several months building a website, registering my business with the state, and basically learning the ins and outs of starting and running my own business. Since then, Diesel Toys® has been featured in everything from Diesel Power ™, Peterson’s 4-Wheel Drive™ to Overland Journal ™, and countless internet forums. I have been privileged enough to stay booked 14-16 months out on all conversions since I opened my doors. I have expanded shops three times in 5 years and currently have plans to build a commercial large-scale building to house my business. I had continued my education during this time as well gaining my ASE certifications, 3G TIG, MIG welding, and designing and building our own parts working in a CNC-based fabrication shop.
Fast forward a few years and an associate came to me wanting me to take over his local TDI repair business for him. I initially declined citing timing constraints, but as his departure date closed in, I caved and began purchasing tools etc. to “gear up” to begin servicing TDI VW’s. Since then, we have been inundated with TDI service appointments. So much so, that I had to add employees that are strictly dedicated to TDI service appointments. We have become the South Texas diesel specialists with customers coming from all over the USA just to have us work on their vehicles. If you own a diesel vehicle in South Texas, odds are that you have either heard of us or we have already serviced your vehicle.
I have built my company into exactly the type of company I would want to do business with. Our attention to detail and integrity shows in our vehicles and the way we interact with our customers. Our focus is not on modifying everything that we can, but leaving as much of the factory vehicle as possible to retain the factory fit, finish, and functionality. We craft our conversions to the highest possible standards used in the automotive industry today. In closing, we are committed to maintaining our reputation and ethics with every customer we serve. From being BBB A+ certified to Angie’s List A+ rating, we take our reputation seriously. I hope that in finding our website, you are excited about finally having a company that can build your dream vehicle.