Continuing with the success of our multi-vehicle-themed issues, we decided that the dedication to go tandem or even "trandem" deserved this month's cover spot.
If you were lucky enough to make it out to SEMA (or even browse the SEMA coverage in the mag and online) then you might have come across what's been dubbed as "Project 6-Pack." What some don't know is that Project 6-Pack is the very same Mini Truckin' cover truck pictured here from the April 2000 issue (over a decade ago).
Both Jonn Far and Steve Francis go way back in the truck scene and remember what it was like before airbags and bodydrops. Reminiscing, "Back then, the single hardest mod that put you over the top was the tandem axle." Both of these truck owners have had a hand in these builds for the last 20 years! So what better way to pay homage to one of the first mods that started it all than to take a couple iconic minis and turn them into modern customs with a classic twist? Jonn and Steve paired all the hardcore modern-build mods with an old-school historic minitruck twist. To give you an idea of how long both these trucks and the owners have been around, check out all of these preview pics of what these trucks looked like throughout the years!
Owner: John "Jahfar" Far
Ride: 1980 Dodge D-50 Pickup
Hometown: Indianapolis, IN
The Rebirth Of The Ramster
A great thing about being in a scene that has 20 years under its belt is we're at a point now where we have iconic people, iconic shops, and of course, iconic trucks.
To some of the new minitruckers, these things might seem like they're old and outdated, but for the rest of us these iconic minis conjure up memories of years past. The very first time that your mind was blown away by a truck or a particular modification, your brain holds on to that moment and files it away into the "badass" folder and never lets it go. This is the reason that many of us are here today! Some particular truck or mod really grabbed us and pulled us in.
Jonn Far, known to friends as Jahfar, has had a long- standing affair with a very iconic truck, known to most of us as the Ramster. This tandem-axle roadster was the brainchild of Todd Wilt and first graced the cover of Mini Truckin' in April 2000, a little more than a decade ago. But before we explore that in more detail, we wanted to know how he acquired the nickname, Jahfar. His answer is actually quite simple: "After about a case of beer, when you say my name, Jonn Far, real fast, it sort of sounds like Jahfar." OK, fair enough. Moving on.
When Jonn first saw the D-50 Ramster it was while Todd Wilt, the original builder, was in the process of finishing it after working on it for quite a few years. This very unique Dodge was sprayed with a bright yellow and broken up with green zebra stripes over gray negative flames. Jonn offered up his beach cruiser to be painted to match as an extra cool detail for the original cover-shoot build. Jonn was also at the cover shoot for the Ramster, helping to push the non-running truck from position to position for that perfect shot.
Over time, things changed as the truck was sold a few times and it was forgotten by many in the scene. As if by fate, Jonn stumbled upon the truck in northern Indiana while it was getting a new motor. It had been over a decade since he had even thought about the truck, but this chance reunion reignited his interest and he immediately made an offer to buy the truck. Initially the offer was rejected, but then a few days later the owner changed his mind on one condition: the truck had to be picked up that day. And right away, Jonn knew this build was not going to be easy. On the way home from picking up the Dodge, the truck literally fell off the trailer, mangling the front bumper, tailgate, and lower bedsides. After getting it home and into his garage, he began to realize just how much of a project this was going to be. Nearly everything on the truck would need to be remade, rebuilt, and redone.
Together with his buddy Bobby Leek, an old hot-rod guy, the duo started crossing off items on the to-do list from within Jonn's two-car garage. They cut off all the old hydraulics and ordered up two four-link kits from the Gauge store. Once Donnie Babb, an old-school minitrucker himself, got wind of the old Ramster being resurrected, he encouraged Jonn to finish it for a SEMA debut. Jonn enlisted his boys Derrick Leaf and Dave Elza to help ramp up efforts in order to make it to the Vegas show in time. The team thrashed in the garage for months with the suspension, wiring, plumbing, and mechanicals. A new firewall, floors and body mounts were all fabricated, the bodydrop was reworked so the truck actually laid body, the mangled sheetmetal was repaired, the doors were shaved, and all of the mechanicals were sorted out. Once that was done, Jonn rolled it around his neighborhood for about a week to make sure everything was working properly and not binding up. Remember, this truck hadn't been driven since the early '90s before Todd had originally turned it into a tandem.
Next, Main Street Body Werks roughed in all of the bodywork and primed and blocked it two or three times before taking it to John Arnold in Louisville to get the Kicker stereo installed. Dave had the bright idea to put the amps inside the doors, which proved to be a major pain in the ass and drove Derrick crazy, but according to Jonn, "It looks gangster!"
The last crazy finishing touches in this whirlwind buildup included one last serious mod. They had to make sure everything in the engine bay was relocated for easy access from the hole in the hood or the wheelwells after the hood was welded shut. Two Bud Light kegs were cut, powdercoated, and then wrapped by Trent's Trick Upholstery in Ohio. The base color went down along with the flames and tikis, which stretch from nose to tail. Finally, Jonn drove Project 6-Pack into the trailer and hit the road for Las Vegas and the SEMA Show, where he made quite a few heads turn.
Jonn is very happy with the result and is proud to be able to bring this iconic mini back to life for the next minitruckin' generation to enjoy. This very special multi-wheel issue pays homage to these iconic trucks, builders, and shops from yesteryear. They sparked the imaginations of minitruckers for years to come, proving that there's nothing that can't be done! With a little thought, determination, and help from good friends, who knows, you might be the one who creates that next crazy mod that we will write about for the next 20 years.
Wheels: Lorenzo WL21 Super Lips 20x8.5
Tires: Hankook Ventus V4ES 225/30/ZR20
Front Suspension: Custom Mustang II crossmember, RE7s, tubular Mustang II upper and lower A-arms with drop spindles
Rear Suspension: Custom eight-link setup with four sleeve-bags
Steering: Polished righthand-drive rack-and-pinion from a rear-steer 4x4
Air Management: Four Air-Zenith 200PSI OB2 compressors mounted in bed, eight SMC 3/8-inch valves plumbed into a five-gallon tank
Frame Mods: New frame from doors forward and 1-inch stock-floor bodydrop, double rear notches, smoothed and powdercoated black
Brakes: Front are powdercoated with 11-inch rotors, all four rear drums are functional with stainless lines, Corvette master cylinder mounted under dash
Performed By: Derrick Leaf, Dave Elza, Bobby Leek, and owner
Shaved: Firewall, door handles, doors, top of doors, dash, interior door panels, cowl, hood, fenders, lower bedside seams, tailgate, taillights, front marker lights, and fuel door
Bodydrop: Stock-floor and traditional
Body Mods: Tandem-axle bed, permanent convertible, flush mount 31-inch LED brake light, Grant Kustoms Cali combo, heavily modified Grant Kustoms Toyota/Nissan hybrid front bumper, cut down and painted C10 billet grille
Performed By: Derrick Leaf, Dave Elza, John Arnold, and owner
Brand & Color: BASF Foose Huntington Blue Pearl base with Foose Hemisfear green flames, six coats of BASF Glamour clear
Performed By: Bob McClure, Derrick Leaf, and Lit'l Bill
Dash: All metal dash with Dakota Digital gauge cluster and Kicker tweeters
Center Console: Fiberglass with Lokar shifter, Air-Zenith gauges, air controls, and head unit
Steering: Righthand-drive, polished Flaming River steering column, and Banjo steering wheel
Seats: Bud Light beer-keg seats with alligator padding
Performed by: Derrick Leaf, Dave Elza, John Arnold, Trent's Trick Upholstery, and owner
Head Unit: Pioneer P5100DVD
Amps: Two Kicker 850.4 amps mounted in doors, Kicker 2500.1 and two Kicker 850.4 amps flush-mounted in bed
Components: Three Kicker RS 65.2 component sets in cab, and two sets in bed
Subwoofers: Six Kicker 10-inch solo classic subs in fiberglass bed enclosure
Batteries: Four Kinetik HC1400 power cells
Performed By: Derrick Leaf, Dave Elza, John Arnold, and owner
Engine: 1996 Chevy LT1 carbureted with an Edelbrock 750 carb and MSD distributor
Details: Motor and Turbo 350 trans are painted black with all hoses and accessories blacked out
Air Cleaner: '50s Caddy air cleaner
Header/Exhaust: Ceramic-coated Hooker headers with dual Thrush mufflers
Performed by: Booby Leek, Derrick Leaf, Dave Elza, and owner
Special Thanks From Owner
"To my dad, Mike Far and the rest of my family for understanding this illness! Donnie and the crew at the Gauge store, Discount Audio in Louisville, Gary at Main Street Body Werks, Railin' Dually, Trent, Grasshopper, Lunchbox, Mike, Sandwich, MPH, Matt Mason, Todd Wilt, Bob, Bud Light and all the women who kept dinner in the microwave waiting for us to get done with this thing. Also very special thanks to Air-Zenith, Kicker, BASF, Hankook tires, Wheel Pros, Dakota Digital, Kinetik, Viteck, Eye Kandy Designs, Mini Truckin' magazine, and anyone else who supported this project that I forgot."