When you take the time and ask a person how they got into the mini-truckin' scene, the answer will vary for each individual. For Justin Smith of Webster, Florida, his passion is the norm in this industry when it comes to wanting a cool custom cruiser of his own. However, how he happened upon the idea of wanting a body-dragging ride isn't an everyday thing. Justin is fortunate enough to actually have had the mini-truckin' gene passed down from his father. Howard Smith, Justin's dad, works at a custom body shop called L.A. Kustoms and has had his son hooked on custom trucks since he can remember.
Justin received a stock '85 GMC S-15 from his dad for his 16th birthday and was told that if he wanted a custom ride, he would have to learn how to build one. So Justin began to visualize what his mini-truck would look like. He knew that he wanted his truck to lay hard on the ground, and that was all the encouragement he needed to get started. The S-15 was hauled into L.A. Kustoms, where it would eventually be transformed into what you see today.
The crew at L.A. Kustoms took Justin under its wing and taught him what it takes to build a ride he could really be proud of. The guys began with the suspension by installing DJM drop spindles up front and 'bagging the GMC all the way around using Firestone airbags, Herion valves, and a two-link rear setup. Once the truck was down to a respectable frame-dragging height, Justin decided to pick up some 18-inch chrome Enkei wheels. After the team had the rims bolted up and the truck was tucking the 18s, Justin knew he still wanted to go lower.
Justin, his dad, and the rest of the team tackled the body drop the same way they tackled the rest of the truck - no holds barred. They went all out and body-dropped it 3-3/4 inches to lay the rocker smack on the pavement. After the rocker-dragging treatment, it was time to show Justin what his dad was really made of. Together, they shaved out the entire truck, including capping the bed off with 16-gauge steel. After the truck was completely smooth, they sprayed it with House of Kolor's Tangelo Pearl to really draw attention to this ground- hugging beauty.
About the only thing Justin, his dad, and the crew at L.A. Kustoms didn't do was the interior. When it came time to have the Recaro bucket seats wrapped, along with a few other goodies, including the stereo system and custom center console that Justin and his dad installed, they left that up to the professionals at Linda's Upholstery. After all the time and money he's invested in his ride, Justin says that besides the skills he's picked up along the way, the most important thing he's learned is that patience really pays off.
The LowdownWheels/Tires 18x7-inch Enkei chrome AKA wheels wrapped with Nitto 450 215/35R17 rubber
Suspension/Chassis Suspension modifications by L.A. Kustoms in Bushnell, Florida [(323) 793-7780] / DJM 2-inch drop spindles / Firestone airbags all the way around / 1/2-inch Herion valves / KYB shocks / two-link rear suspension.
Body Modifications 19-bar phantom grille in chrome grille shell / chrome front bumper / Street Scene mirrors / 3-3/4-inch body drop / tailgate skin with flush-mounted LEDs installed / shaved door handles / shaved gas door / shaved antenna / 2-inch cowl-induction hood / bed welded shut with 16-gauge steel and smoothed / 35x35-inch Street Beat sliding ragtop / body modifications by Chris Sowell, Howard Smith, and Lee Krauss of L.A. Kustoms
Paint House of Kolor Tangelo Pearl by L.A. Kustoms
Interior Recaro bucket seats upholstered with tan tweed / dash wrapped in tweed and painted to match exterior / door panels covered with tweed and cheetah print / custom center console for TV and white-face air gauges / APC billet steering wheel / billet shifter and rearview mirror
Stereo Installation by owner and owner's father Howard Smith / Alpine CDA-9811 CD player / Icon 5.6-inch monitor / PlayStation 2 / two 10-inch MTX Thunder 6000 subwoofers powered by two MTX RT 2200X amplifiers / Polk Audio separates in door panels
Special Thanks L.A. Kustoms / Howard Smith / Lee Krauss / Chris Sowell / Linda's Upholstery / Acrophobia