Tanoshi is a Japanese expression that means happiness doing something one enjoys or looks forward to. To set the '51's stance, Tak poured a tremendous number of hours into the truck's body modifications. Instead of lowering the El Camino chassis, Tak channeled the '51's cab over the frame-rails six inches and sectioned it five inches. Looking at the '51's sides, you'll notice its profile tapers in a wedge shape toward the nose. Tak had to pancake the hood to maintain this look as well as section the front and rear fenders to match the cab. To allow the bed to drop five inches, enabling it to line up with the body lowering (channeling), Tak raised the bed floor. All these procedures required an immense amount of man-hours, but Tak wasn't even halfway through at this stage of the game. Once the major cuts were behind him, Tak handformed sheetmetal to mold in the bed rails, running boards, and dual side-mount spare tires. At the bed's rear, he contoured the tailgate into a custom-made roll pan housing a recessed license plate box. For taillights, the '51 sports a pair of N.O.S. '56 F-100 units flanking the shaved tailgate. Tak got so carried away doing what he enjoys that he ended up molding the running boards into the front and rear fenders, not stopping until he blended the gap between the sectioned cab and the lower bedsides.

Utilizing the El Camino's SS396 package provided the '51 with a readymade high-performance platform. After January '70, SS396 El Caminos switched from 396-inch powerplants to 402-inch units. Tak's donor was an early example sporting a 396 with 350 horsepower. Tak turned to Reed Retroworks in Long Beach, California, to rebuild the smallest Rat motor GM produced. Richard Reed punched the block 30-over and dropped in high-compression slugs. For cam and carburetion, Richard slid in a mild Engle cam with an Edelbrock intake topped with a Holley quad. The Rat's power is transmitted to the 12-bolt Chevelle rearend via a beefed Turbo 400 controlled with a floor-mounted Lokar shifter. Big-block Chevy motors are famous for running a little hot. To handle the additional strain placed on the cooling system from the sectioned frontend's confined quarters restricting airflow, Tak mocked up a 3D template out of cardboard. The full-scale template was then handed over to Mattson Radiator in Stanton, California, which constructed a custom aluminum cross-flow four-row radiator.

Tak Okamoto started on his radical '51 custom in his early 70s. When asked at age 75 about how he viewed the project in retrospect, he said, "Well, after many ruined bifocal glasses, T-shirts, pants, and socks riddled with holes from the die grinder, MIG welder and cutting torch, not to mention many cuts, abrasions, burns, and smashed fingers, what do I have to say? Now that I can drive and enjoy it, it was worth every bit of it." In closing, Tak would like to thank Richard Reed, Marty Swerter, Chuck Wade, and Richard Garver for their help.