Most mini-truckers who have been in the sport long enough can usually contribute something to the buildup of their projects. Everyone has his or her own specialty or niche. Some do paint and body, some do suspension, others are excellent with metal and fabrication, and some specialize in audio or interior upgrades. Sometimes, you're fortunate enough to possess more than one skill, or can compile the skills you don't possess with the help of your closest buddies. However, a few out there can build an entire truck from start to finish with their own hands.

Most mini-truckers think these guys are the luckiest and envy the fact that they can make a living working on trucks. There's one major drawback, though, for anyone who works on trucks full-time: They never have time to build something for themselves. Just look at most major shops. You'll see all kinds of badass customer's rides come out of the shop, but very few of the guys will ever have a completed project of their own.

Tom Tremper happens to be one of the few who possess the talent to build a truck from the ground up. He spends most of his days hooking up Northwest rides at Kustom Rides Inc. This leaves him very little time to work on his own projects, much less enough time to actually finish a full buildup to the extent he would like to see. Yet Tom would not give up, and proceeded to spend a total of nine years slowly turning his '94 Mazda into the slammed mini he'd envisioned when he first purchased it.

Every spare hour of Tom's was used to take the Mazda from a stock ride to the body-draggin' cruiser you see here. He began by slowly piecing together the parts to 'bag his truck and lay the frame to the pavement. Up front, he used lowered I-beams in conjunction with Firestone 'bags to lay the front down. Next, he four-linked the rear and used another pair of Firestone 'bags coupled with electric valves for instant adjustability. To smooth out the bumpy ride down the freeway, Tom relocated Doetsch Tech shocks all the way around. He bolted up a set of Alba 17s and cruised his 'bagged ride around for a while until he could find the time and energy to finish what he'd started.

Tom eventually had a chance to put his Mazda down long enough to lay the body flat to the ground with a 3-1/2-inch body drop. After working on others' rides all day long, Tom would spend many nights cutting on his truck until the wee hours of the morning. This is the kind of commitment Tom had to seeing his own Mazda drag rockers like so many trucks he'd worked on for other people. Slowly but surely, he was able to put his truck back together and enjoy the fruits of his labors after a few draggin' sessions down the interstate.

Tom was not ready to throw in the towel yet, and even though his progress was slow, he decided he would see his Mazda through until he was completely satisfied. He shaved out the exterior, suicided the doors, and fully molded the fenders to the cab to really up the bar for his ride.

After he was content with the exterior, the truck was sprayed with a DuPont Green base and handed over to Tom's buddy Chris "Billy Bob" Mull for a crazy multicolored graphic scheme. With the Mazda sporting a super-slammed stance, crazy body mods, and a cool paintjob, Tom attended to the rest of the details by finishing off the interior and cleaning up the engine bay. Once again, every spare moment was dedicated to wrapping his seats, dash, and door panels, and adding the final touches to his ride.

After nine long years of working on his own truck, Tom never gave up. Now his dream is a reality, and he can drag the streets with a super-modified mini, just like his customers.

The Lowdown

Wheels/Tires 17x7-1/2-inch Albas wrapped with 225/45R17 Goodyear rubber

Suspension/Chassis Suspension modifications by Kustom Rides Inc. [(503) 760-6733, www.kustomridesinc.com] in Portland, Oregon
Front: Belltech 3-inch lowered I-beams / 2,500-pound Firestone airbags / relocated Doetsch Tech shocks
Rear: TCI chrome triangulated four-link / bridge notch / 2,600-pound Firestone airbags / Doetsch Tech shocks

Body Modifications/Paint Body mods by Kustom Rides Inc. / body-dropped 3-1/2 inches / shaved emblems, antenna, cowl, rain gutters, body line, bed stake holes / smoothed and molded tailgate and bed floor / molded fenders to cab and smoothed doorjambs / suicide doors / chrome front bumper / AIM grille shell / dual 8-inch Hagen light strips

Interior Interior by Kustom Rides Inc. / smoothed and wrapped dash with green tweed / Ford Escort bucket seats wrapped with black and green tweed and stitched with flames / black-tweed carpet / 15-inch Grant Boomerang steering wheel

Stereo Stereo by Joel Lundeen / Clarion head unit / custom enclosure built to house four 12-inch Soundstream SPLs / Soundstream 500SX amplifier to power the mids and highs / Soundstream 1000SX to power the four 12s

Engine/Performance K&N air filter with custom intake / two Optima Red Top batteries mounted under speaker box

Special Thanks Tom wants to thank his wife Irene and all the cool people he's met at the shows and partied it up with

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