A few years back, we met Matt Hillis, an eager young mini-trucker who was into the pastime to do more than party and play. For the most part, Hillis was a typical young mini-trucker. He was the sort of enthusiast who couldn't wait to get to a show, set up his ride, and help others so he could begin to soak up anything and everything about building custom rides. What we learned, however, was that Matt was mature far beyond his age.

When he was 15, we had no idea what he'd achieve before he turned 20. He was and still is the type of person that will give himself to others until he has no more to give. His first ride, a '92 S-10, was a clean ride, but not much of a show-winner. Being from a tiny town in the Midwest also kept him from attending many of the huge shows where the top-rated customs were placed on display. After a few years of sponging up all of the information and knowledge he could,

Matt came to play during the 2001 show season. This time, he was playing with a clean, newly customized ride that gathered him the respect he'd longed for and plenty of the trophies he'd seen go to others in the years before his Sonoma was completed. Despite the winding and oftentimes confusing and twisty road that brought him to where he is today, Matt managed to make enough of the right decisions to get him where he wanted to be. Check out Matt's most recent accomplishment, and realize that good things still happen to good people.

The Lowdown

17x7-inch Center Line wheels with P205/40R17 tires neatly wrapped about them. Suspension Up front, Matt installed a pair of Ekstensive Metalworks 'bag brackets and painted his sway bar to match his color scheme. In the rear, Hillis relied on Ekstensive yet again for its cantilever three-link setup actuated by airbags pushed by 3/8-inch lines, which are routed to a single compressor, a 7-gallon air tank, and a pair of 3/8-inch electric valves.

Body Modifications:
All bodywork on Hillis' Sonoma was done by himself and included shaving the door handles, the antenna, the fuel door, the third brake light, the hood squirters, and the tailgate handle. A steel roll pan was then added. When he had finished smoothing out the body, he blocked it to near perfection and moved on to the paint phase of his buildup.

A custom mix of DuPont paint yielded an awesome shade of pastel purple that covers the whole body and several pieces of the truck's interior. Paint duties were handled by Matt Hillis himself.

Using the vast amount of knowledge that Matt has gleaned over the years, the interior of his Sonoma was reupholstered in the comfort of his own garage. He used tweed and leather to craft a custom interior that reflected his personal tastes and style. To polish off the interior enhancements, a billet shifter and window cranks complement the overall look.

Hillis bought and installed a Sport Truck Specialties chrome air intake to force feed cooler air into his engine. Additionally, he installed a set of 8mm plug wires and reworked the truck's exhaust system to include a Flowmaster muffler and larger 3-inch aluminized exhaust tubing.

Owner's Quote:
"Why do I build custom trucks? Because I love to do it, and I damn near live for it. I feel lucky to be a part of my club, SubCulture, because they are family to me. It pays to work hard for something."