Looking at Eli Griffin's resume of previous customs built, it's hard to believe that he is only 22 years old. Eli began customizing at the age of 14 - and has never looked back. He quickly fell in love with the body style of the Mazda and started with a '92 Mazda B2600i that he received from his brother as a birthday present. His goal was to build that truck and have it ready to drive to his junior/senior prom. Not only did he finish it in time to show off for his prom date, but Eli's Mazda was shot for the Aug. '01 issue of Mini Truckin'.

After being featured in MT and taking a few trips to Greenville, Mississippi, for Showfest and numerous other Southern shows, Eli was quickly transformed into a full-blown, hard-core mini-trucker. He decided that one feature was not enough, and rollin' with a Relaxed Atmosphere logo on the back window added fuel to the fire. Eli tore into his freshly featured mini and began to rebuild it. After completely transforming the Mazda, it was again feature-worthy. However, some time after that, the truck caught fire and Eli's dreams of building a cover truck diminished.

With a little off-time working on a '48 Chevy, Eli got the mini-truck itch again and decided that the only way to pay tribute to his fallen Mazda would be to build one even better, and he shot for nothing less than cover-truck quality. After a short hunt for the perfect platform, he came across a good deal by picking up where Chris Hanson left off. With killer suspension work performed by Kustom Werx, Eli could go nuts detailing the rest of the truck.

Eli decided he wanted to do something a little different with his Mazda, and began to plan a clean retro style - not quite white walls and flat black, but a combination of classic nostalgia coupled with a clean street-rod feel. To accomplish this, he began by building a one-of-a-kind interior. He used a '51 Ford dash and sectioned it to fit perfectly between the pillars of the Mazda. He carried the theme into the door panels with '51 Ford handles, armrests, window cranks, and chrome trim. The rest of the interior was kept simple with tan leather, so as not to distract from the classic look. With the interior coming out even better than Eli imagined, he got down to his area of expertise.

Eli and the crew at Twin States Customs began the grueling task of bodywork and paint. With everything clean-shaven, Eli opted to paint his truck a custom two-tone PPG Canteen on top and Graphite on bottom to finish off the classic retro theme. Then Eli went to work smoothing a Ford Courier rearend and painting, chroming, and detailing every single part on the truck right down to the hardware.

To see Eli's new creation in person is truly amazing. At 22 years old, Eli accomplished his dream of being on the cover, and did it in style. Building Reincarnation gave Eli the closure he needed on his previously featured Mazda. May it rest in peace.

The Lowdown

Wheels/Tires 18x7-inch Colorado Customs wrapped with Toyo rubber

Suspension/Chassis Suspension work done by Kustom Werks in Union City, Tennessee / the front features custom airbag mounts over the control arms with a bolt-in chromed center support / rear uses a custom four-link with the Air Lift 'bags mounted on rear link bars / Extreme 450 electric valves / back-halfed frame with 2x3-inch box tubing / narrowed, smoothed, and painted Ford Courier rearend / everything that could be painted was painted body color by owner / stainless-steel brake lines / all finish and detail work done by owner / chrome work by Gary Lofton

Body Modifications/Paint All body modifications and paint done by owner / Mazda B2600i hood with bubble / Crystal Eyes headlight conversion / billet grille inserts / shaved door handles, antenna, windshield wipers and squirters, gas door, and taillights / molded tailgate and roll pan / Hagan street rod flush taillights molded in roll pan / smooth bed floor with round wheeltubs / molded wheeltubs up front and smoothed out core support / custom two-tone PPG Canteen on top and Graphite on bottom

Interior/Stereo '51 Ford dash narrowed 4 inches to fit / custom steering column cover / shifter shortened 6 inches / custom shift knob / custom door panels with door handles, window cranks, armrests, and chrome trim from '51 Ford / Colorado Custom Slaytor billet steering wheel / upholstery by Southern Upholstery / seats wrapped in tan leather / new tan carpet / tan-leather headliner

Engine/Performance Upgraded cam / Weber carb / driveshaft shortened 2 inches / new battery tray built / jet-coated Pacesetter header / Borla exhaust / everything chromed and/or painted

Miscellaneous Eli has had two previous features with a Mazda he built, and after it burned to the ground, he figured the best tribute to his old truck would be to build one even better and aim for the cover of Mini Truckin'. Like our previous cover truck owner, this "third time's a charm" deal is really catching on.

Special Thanks Owner's parents / Phillip Slay of Slay Steel / owner's brother Justin / David Gardner / Trent Blocker / Alan Lightsy / Chris Hanson / Everyone at Twin States Customs / Mike Alexander from Mini Truckin' / Club Relaxed Atmosphere / anyone else accidently forgotten

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