About seven years ago at one of the very first shows I went to, I came across a mini-trucker from Canada. His name was Devin Morgan. He had a great passion for mini-trucks, even back then. The truck he had, a raspberry-hued Mazda was clean, but it lacked the visual punch needed to score a photo shoot and a feature. Throughout the years, Devin has slowly refined that daily driven clean ride of his, polishing it into a prime example of top-shelf show machinery. Today, that same Mazda has become the finest mini to be found anywhere in British Columbia, along the western province of Canada, if not even further south into the northernmost parts of the United States. As it turned out, Devin's main goal along the way was to help mini-trucks gain the respect of our forebears, also known as street rodders. Follow along as we dig into Devin's head to find out just where seven years went, and what it did to a man who always loved the pastime, but finally got serious enough about it to take it to a whole new level.
MT: Good evening! You down to chat with me for a while?
Devin: Yeah, I have time. My kids just went to bed. How does the feature look so far?
MT: It looks spectacular. I want to start back when we first met each other. Can you tell me about how the truck started, and what made you go this crazy on it?
Devin: Well, I got the truck in 1993, used. It was black with a shell and vinyl sticker graphics. It had 15-inch Prime five-star wheels and cranked torsion bars.
MT: Oh, it must have been one sweet ride, rollin' 15s, huh? It didn't look that way when I saw it for the first time.
Devin: Two weeks after I bought it, I cut a walk-through, and then the roof came off a few months later and the big stereo system went in the back.
MT: And then you painted it soon after, didn't you?
Devin: In June of 1994 it got a few things shaved and was painted raspberry.
MT: And I met you during the show season of 1995, so by the time I saw it, it was already pretty clean.
Devin: I've had four interiors, four suspensions, three sets of wheels, and three paintjobs on it so far.
MT: Sounds like you had a tough time deciding what direction you wanted to take the truck. Ah, a blossoming mini-trucker.
Devin: It wasn't that I had a hard time deciding what to build, I just had to stay ahead of everyone else around here.
MT: So, how long did you show it with some shaving and the other mods before you starting in on it again?
Devin: I showed it from 1994 to 1997 in its purple form. From 1997 until 1999, I showed it with primer. In September of 1999, I took it off the road to finish it once and for all. Almost all the mods and suspension work were done by me at home.
MT: Really? I thought that WesWorks did a lot of your work. It's awesome to find guys who do most of their own work, but not for a living.
Devin: WesWorks did a few of the mods and all the Bondo and painting work. I just don't have enough patience to sand Bondo all day. I would have done all the mods, but I worked on the truck so much that whenever I turned my welder on it made me start to feel ill. I got a little burned out on it.
MT: Let me say that on behalf of mini-truckers everywhere this month, we're all glad you didn't get burned out.
Devin: I was picking away at it until one day there was nothing left to do that wouldn't cost money. So, my wife Elvina and I decided to get a loan and finish it.
MT: So, after WesWorks was done with its work, what did you have left to do?
Devin: Just the interior and getting it clean enough for show.
MT: Who did all of your painting?
Devin: Wes McLean at WesWorks did all the painting, too. The frame and suspension were powdercoated by Duncan Powdercoating. Did I tell you I'm planning a rebuild already?
MT: Really? Tell me about that.
Devin: I'm thinking a 300ZX rearend, tube frame, and a Ford 302 motor to go with the Mustang dash. Oh, and some 20s if someone wants to give them up (laughs)! Either that or I might just build a new truck if I can find something I like.
MT: Really? You're that fired up again over this? That's awesome, bro.
Devin: I gotta' beat Billy Bob (Chris Mull MT Cover, May '02) at least once. I've never had a chance to show against him yet.
MT: I hear he's going nuts on his again, too. Scary; you'd think you two were neighbors.
Devin: I'm not going to start a new project or rebuild until summer. I need a breakand I want to 'bag the Suburban for my wife.
MT: I think if his truck was the same as it was on his cover, right now you'd beat him.
Devin: We'll be completing against each other all summer - should be interesting! I can't believe he's redoing it.
MT: I only know bits and pieces of what he's up to now. He's said he's going after Charles Armstrong's Toyota and his frame is already done. He's really a jack-of-all-trades, and very good.
Devin: I can do some things, but I have no idea about painting.
MT: Devin, I hope we did a good job of representing your Mazda here in Mini Truckin'. Your tech sheet was about as long as a phone book.
Devin: I made a mess of the tech sheet at the shoot; my hands were shaking so much. That's why most of it was hand-written.
MT: That's funny. You were shakin' like a leaf at the shoot; I just figured you were cold. You were pretty jumpy, though. I tried to calm you down, but you were wired at Reso'.
Devin: I didn't relax much at Reso'. The truck wasn't even driven before that show. I had to tune it in the trailer!
MT: Talk about cutting it close, huh? I'll bet you were relieved that it ran so well at the shoot. Is there anyone you'd especially like to thank for help they gave you in building the truck?
Devin: Most of all, I thank my wife Elvina and daughters Natasha and Lauryn for being so understanding when I was in the garage all night. I'd also like to thank WesWorks, Buckets and Benches for the great interior work, Duncan Powdercoating, Brislands Custom Shop, Jim from DuPont, Mark from Acklands, and everyone else that has ever come over to help me move truck parts around. And also to you for the shoot. Thanks.
MT: There's no need to thank me, bro. My job is to find the baddest rides out there and show everyone what mini-truckin' is all about.
Devin: Being the first Canadian on the cover really got me nervous. Everything went so well with the buildup; I was waiting for something to go wrong at the show, or at the photo shoot.
MT: Thanks for letting us be the first to show the world what our brothers to the north are capable of. I think you've done your country and your fellow Canadian mini-truckers a great service by building such a high-quality ride!
Devin: Thanks again.
MT: See you on the newsstand, brotha'.
The Low DownWheels/Tires 18x7-inch Colorado Custom Wild Horse billet wheels with 215/40R18 Dunlop tires.
Suspension Front: 6-inch hydraulic cylinders with stainless lines. Rear: 8-inch hydraulic cylinders with stainless lines, lifting the truck via a T.C.I. triangulated four-link into a 6-inch bridge-notch. Additionally, the suspension system is powered by a three-battery, two-pump hydraulic system installed by Devin.
Body Mods The truck's buildup included body-dropping it a total of 3 inches, cutting off the roof, and chopping the windshield pillars 4 inches and installing a Lexan windshield. Besides these major modifications, the truck was also completely shaved, including: rain gutters, wiper cowl, antenna, emblems, corner lights, lower fenders, door handles, door locks, gas door, rock guards, taillights, capped doors, pinch moldings, and all body seams. Devin and WesWorks even went as far as to smooth the underside of the cab. The inside of the bed is truly a work of art, with plenty of custom sheetmetal surrounding the rear seats, a pair of access doors get to the suspension, and batteries for the hydraulic system simple. Additionally, the truck was given custom taillights and a molded-in third brake light, as well as a smoothed hood underside and a smoothed and tubbed firewall.
Interior The interior of the truck includes a re-worked Mustang dash, wrapped in tweed, with a matching center console installed by Devin. Buckets & Benches in Colwood, British Columbia, reupholstered the rest of the interior using cream leather and tweed for a truly street rod-inspired look over the top of handmade seats built by Perry Cosgrove. Because the top of the truck has been permanently removed, the interior was made safer with the installation of a roll bar assembly entirely built by Devin. The truck's owner made all of the aluminum interior parts found within the upholstered area of the truck as well.
Stereo Inside the cab, a Pioneer CD head unit directs Rockford Fosgate speakers installed in custom kick panels.
Paint Wes McLean at WesWorks in Campbell River, British Columbia, performed the final bodywork on the Mazda and sprayed the truck using factory '02 Subaru WRX Dupont Blue.
Engine The '90 2.2L Mazda four-cylinder was left stock internally, but given a Weber carburetor, Jacobs plug wires, and a Pacesetter header for added performance. Devin worked hard to make it a show-winner externally. Show-readiness was achieved by smoothing the transmission and painting it silver, painting the block to match the truck, and adding custom touches such as ghosted airbrushing to the oil pan and oil filter. The truck's exhaust system is made from 2-1/2-inch tubing with a Magnaflow stainless muffler.
Detailing The truck was built as a total frame-off. Everything that could be unbolted was either powdercoated or chromed and reassembled in true full-show fashion. The frame was also shaved to make it totally smooth and to get rid of all unneeded holes for an incredible show-winning finish.
Special Thanks To Devin's wife Elvina, daughters Natasha and Lauryn, WesWorks, Buckets and Benches, Duncan Powdercoating, Brislands Custom Shop, Jim from Dupont, and Mark from Acklands.