Owner: Aaron Carlin
Model: '90 Isuzu P'Up
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Club Affiliation: Severed Ties
MT: Tell our readers a little bit about yourself. When and how did you get into mini-trucks?
AC: I went to school with Bill Carlton from Ekstensive Metalworks and Robert Swindle from Extreme Rides, and they got me into it. That was about 12 years ago.
MT: How long have you been working on your Isuzu?
AC: During those 12 years, I've redone the Isuzu several times. It's been this way for about three years now.
MT: There are so many different styles and ways to build a mini these days. What prompted you to build a pro-street P'Up?
AC: I've been into hot rods for a while. I wanted to back-half the truck, but then I found the pro-street frontend at a swap meet, so I just went from there.
MT: You have an extremely healthy V-6 under the hood of your truck. What made you build a six-cylinder motor instead of a small-block V-8?
AC: It was supposed to be a daily driver, and I wanted something that would fit inside the engine compartment easily. I already had the motor built before I decided to make the truck pro-street.
MT: I have to ask you why you haven't taken that bad boy down the quarter-mile? I've seen you get sideways in it before, so I know she runs.
AC: There is a couple of more things I need to do first. I need a torque converter for the tranny so that the truck will launch harder. I just put nitrous on it also, so that makes it fun.
MT: You don't have a speedometer, do you?
AC: No. The truck isn't really street legal. I don't have a real exhaust system, either. I suppose I could make it street legal. I guess it's just all about who you know.
MT: Do you find it tough to compete at shows because you built a truck that is not your typical mini, or is it easier because it's unique?
AC: I get a lot of attention because of the way it looks, and I know that there are cleaner trucks, but I don't really go to shows for the trophies. I get more satisfaction from seeing people trip out than I do from getting awards.
MT: Will your truck hook up and pop wheelies? I'd like to go for a ride in it one day if it does.
AC: No (laughing). Maybe down the quarter-mile. I'm only kidding. There isn't enough weight in the rearend to hook it up.
MT: Some of our readers are probably questioning our reasoning for putting your truck on the cover because it doesn't drag on the ground. Why don't you tell them why you think your truck deserves the cover.
AC: I did things different, and you're not looking at just another 'bagged and body-dropped truck.
MT: What has been the single best show you ever attended and why?
AC: It would have to be the Waco Mini Nats because they let you cruise a lot and there are all different types of trucks there to see. That was really the first time I got to cruise my truck, and it was cool because there were cops everywhere. MT: Is there anyone you'd like to thank before we get up out of here?
AC: I'd like to thank Loco Motive, Extreem Rides, Jerry Montgomery, Joe Garcia, my brother Donnie, and my wife Carrie. Also, Extensive Metalworks for hooking me up with the wheels and Elliot at Discount Tire for the tires.
MT: Have any words of wisdom for your fellow mini-truckers about building trucks, scoring trophies, and just being cool?
AC: Not really. It's a lot of work, though. I guess just try to do something different. Simple is better.
MT: All right Aaron, we're all finished. Do you have another project yet?
AC: Not yet, but I know it will be something old.
MT: Cool. Good luck with it.
AC: Thanks, Mike.
A GM 4.3L Vortec V-6 provides the get-up-and-go for Aaron's mini. The small-block was machined by Fairmans race engines in Houston, Texas where it was bored 0.40 over before being balanced and blueprinted. The bottom end was built with all the good stuff, such as forged pistons, and then it was assembled by Algeas Block and Head. Up top, a Crane Cams camshaft was installed and then topped off by a dual plane intake manifold. A Holley 750-cfm double pumper carb precisely meters the fuel consumption of the motor. This badass powerplant is coupled to a vintage Chevy two-speed Powerglide tranny, a custom driveshaft, and a narrowed Ford 9-inch rearend. The transmission was built using a B&M Shift Improver Kit, a trans brake, and custom gearing. The exhaust consists of nothing more than open headers that were assembled by Aaron.
A Chassis Engineering kit is the foundation for Aaron's mini. It consists of 2x3-inch square tube framerails, tubular upper and lower control arms, Wilwood 11-inch disc brakes, and Koni coilover shocks. A narrrowed Ford 9-inch rearend is suspended by ladder bars, and another set of coilovers damp the suspension.
Colorado Customs Carefree billet wheels are Aaron's roller of choice. Up front is a set of 18x7-inch rims that has a 4.5-inch backspacing stuffed into 225/40R18 Michelin Pilot tires. The back wheels measure a gigantic 18x12 inches and are enveloped by 345/35R18 Michelin Pilot tires.
Aaron shaved the Isuzu of its door handles, tailgate handle, body seams, antenna, wipers, and he added a roll pan. To spice up the front end, he switched the factory front fascia out and installed Isuzu Rodeo parts. He changed the headlights, the bumper, and the valance and added a Rodeo grille with a billet insert. Custom Paint/Graphics
Aaron's Isuzu is painted with a custom-mixed shade of PPG Green paint. Interior
Aaron built a smooth aluminum center console that makes a home for the cool B&M shifter. The polished center console sits underneath a custom-built steel dash that is covered in tweed and houses just enough gauges to monitor the motor's vital signs. RCI provided safe seating in the form of race buckets and harnesses hat are covered in matching tweed. A 2-inch-diameter full rollcage also protects Aaron during high-speed thrill rides.