The last time a static drop truck was featured on the cover of Mini Truckin' was in June of 1998.
The Gaylord's SEMA build Ranger that was featured takes us back to more simple times when a SEMA truck could actually be built RIGHT in just a week or two. Trucks were already being 'bagged and body-dropped in 1998 but the early '90s definitely remain as the "hay-day" of minitruckin'. Back then anyone could afford a weekend buildup truck to cruise to the abundance of shows around with their buddies and just enjoy what it was all about.
However, progression is not a bad thing at all, as our sport has turned out some of the most innovative customs ever built, but taking a step back every now and again helps us appreciate where we all started. Our current economy has left us with little to be optimistic about, yet these simple daily driven joys can instantly put a smile on anyone's face! I had to test it out for myself and take this "High School Mini" for a spin. With my foot on the gas and hand on the shifter I was instantly taken back more than a decade ago to when me and my buddies cut the coils in our first trucks and gave them the old "Home Depot" rear 'bag job with ball valves and the Wal-Mart air tank, man those were the days!
Every minitruck worth its...
Every minitruck worth its weight in the early '90s had a pager on the visor and a cupholder for the truck runs.
In the spirit of those exact days, Ernie Macias decided to recreate his first minitruck from high school. Not just to relive the glory days, but also because it was wallet conscious and could be done in a short amount of time. He needed something to cruise around from day to day while they were working on his STK TRUK build, but he also had another motive. Ernie wanted to give his little brother an insight into the minitruck world, a world that has made a huge impact in Ernie's own life, and a world that he wanted to share with his little brother. Ernie promised his brother that if he maintained a 3.0 GPA that he could have this Mitsu. How's that for positive reinforcement!
While Ernie's crazy Mitsu build dubbed "Bring It On" (the one pictured here being built at Bio Kustumz) has been put on hold until he can save up some more coin, Ernie scratched his custom itch by staying focused on his STK TRUK project and this "High School Mini". The STK TRUK project you guys might remember as one of our Weekend Warrior projects where Ernie wanted to build a budget body-dropped daily that still remained fairly stock. This truck allows him to get in and get his switch fix, while still being reliable enough to drive to shows near and far. With this trifecta of minitruck heaven in his garage, Ernie is able to stare at his crazy ridiculous project and daydream about the most insane mods imaginable, yet he can still hop in his body-dropped STK TRUK and go pick up some parts at the steel yard. Yeah we know; it must be rough right! Haha, yes even we're a little jealous. But none the less, the main focus here is the "High School Mini" so let's get back to that.
Ernie began this buildup with a budget around $4K and immediately found a good shape 1992 Mistu truck for the build. He was dead set on the early to late '90s style, not the '80s style so it would be like the new old school. To make the build as authentic as possible he hunted for '90s era parts like the old PPI amp, pull-out CD player, pager, and cup holder, online at Craigslist.org and eBay. He came up on some great deals including the wheels and tires which he got for $300 almost brand new. From start to finish the entire build only took him about a month of spare time with the help of a few friends. This back to the basics approach to building a clean little daily shows us all that we can still enjoy what we love, even when times are rough. The lesson is to keep it simple, make a plan and stick to it, build a cheap daily driver that you can still enjoy at shows, and most of all HAVE FUN! Lesson definitely learned, and we hope that this helps you get out and have some fun on a budget. For more information on the mods check out the Lowdown.
OWNER: Ernie Macias
RIDE: 1992 Mitsubishi Mighty Max
HOMETOWN: Nuevo, CA
CLUB: No Regrets
Wheels: 16x7-inch Center Line Tornados
STK Truk will remain in Ernie's...
STK Truk will remain in Ernie's fleet as his daily driver after he rewards his little brother with the "High School Mini".
Yup, an original PPI amp and...
Yup, an original PPI amp and MTX Road Thunder subs.
Suspension Front: AIM drop spindles and cut factory coils
Suspension Rear: 4-inch angle blocks and two removed leaf springs
Shocks: air shocks in the back with 1/8-inch air line with filler at the license plate
Misc.: It's so low it scared Mike Alexander when he first drove it
Performed by: Ezra Strom at Abstract Customs in San Bernardino, CA
Bolt-ons: Front billet insert
Misc.: Clear corners, bumper lights, diamond cut headlights, eBay taillights from Thailand, bedliner by Painter Shak Mike
Performed by: Owner and Mike Eshelman
"Bring It On" will be slowly...
"Bring It On" will be slowly but surely seeing some progress when things pick back up and Ernie can spare some coin to continue the badass mods.
Tweed ruled the streets in...
Tweed ruled the streets in the '90s and is still a cheap and easy way to go.
Both the "Zach Morris" cell...
Both the "Zach Morris" cell phone and the first Alpine "Pull Out" CD players were the high-tech gadgets of the '90s.
Brand and colors: Custom mixed PPG red
Performed by: Ezra Strom Abstract Customs in San Bernardino, CA
Seats: Factory Mighty Max seats
Dash: Factory dash with a custom tweed dash mat by E-ron
Misc.: I went with all tweed to keep it OG because I like the way it makes me itch
Performed by: Eron Leader and Adam "Handmade" from Extreme Audio
Did you say $300 wheels? That's...
Did you say $300 wheels? That's right, 16s are back!
Ernie lives, eats, and sleeps...
Ernie lives, eats, and sleeps minitrucks but he also has time for his family and involves his sons in everything. They will definitely be the next generation minitruckers.
Head unit: Alpine 7915 pullout CD player, that's right I said pullout, mid '90s
Subwoofers: 10-inch MTX Pro Thunders in custom-built box, circa 1994
Amplifiers: PPI Art Series, circa 1995
Misc.: cool pager and cup holder to add to the 90s feel
Performed by: Adam "Handmade" at Extreme Audio
Special Thanks From Owner
The OG minitruckers who brought us our hobby/lifestyle. No Regrets WorldWide, Mini Truckin' Magazine, Ezra Strom Abstract Customs, mightyd50.com, maxd50scene.com, Steve Wilk, Painter Shack Mike, Adam "Handmade", Mike Alexander, and most importantly my wife Melissa and our two sons.