Cash is tight for many people out there, and as a result, building a minitruck isn’t quite as easy as it used to be. Sponsors aren’t kicking down as much as they used to, it’s harder to save up for parts, and overall, it’s just tougher to make that buck to begin with. Sometimes you have to make some magic happen to build the truck of your dreams.
Take Patrick Looney for example. He’s built quite a few trucks since he started at the tender age of 15. With the influence of his friend Jimmy Cox, Patrick tore into a ’92 Toyota and a few other trucks, learning a lot about how things work in the process. Unfortunately, Jimmy would die just after his own truck was bodydropped, leaving Patrick with a hole in his heart from the loss of his good friend. He knew he wanted to build something special that he could use to honor the passing of his buddy, but the S-10 he was driving at the time was just too common. He needed something different; something unlike anything seen around town. That’s where the horse-trading comes into play.
Sometimes you have to make some magic happen to build the truck of your dreams. "
One of Patrick’s friends, Justin Wyatt, had this ’88 Mitsubishi that he built with his father Tom. It was bridged and bagged—not too crazy, but it was a good start for sure. After doing some haggling back and forth, Patrick and Wyatt exchanged paperwork, leaving Wyatt with the S-10 and Patrick with a big grin on his face. After two weeks of driving the Mitsu around town, he tore it all down and started building it back up.
It started with the bodydrop, a simple 4-inch jobber that turned into a smoother firewall and a right-hand drive conversion. Wait—what? The snowball effect hit Patrick hard, and soon the truck also sported a longbed conversion (an option that Mitsubishi never offered here in the states), a dashboard from a ’55 Chevy and a ton of custom metal work. After a trip to Shroom’s Custom Air for a paint job that incorporated a ton of little custom nods to his friends, family, and of course, Jimmy Cox, the truck was good to go.
So what have we learned here today? Money’s tight, sure. But by making a few choice decisions, doing some of the work yourself, and picking a vehicle that demands attention, you can build yourself a pretty sweet ride just like Patrick’s. You just might have to trade a few horses to do it.
Wheels: 20x8.5-inch Pro Twisted Killer with push-on spike lug covers
Tires: 245/30ZR 20 Wanli
Suspension (front): Five-lug Toyota front hubs, steering swapped for right-hand drive conversion, Slam Specialties RE6 ’bags, 2-inch drop spindles
Suspension (rear): Five-lug Toyota axle swap, four-link, 2600 ContiTech ’bags
Control Arms: Pie-cut stock uppers, triangulated stock lowers
Shocks: GM Gasmatics
Compressor(s): Two Viair 380s
Air/hydro Accessories: Six 3/8-inch SMC valves, 3/8-inch nylon lines, eight-gallon aluminum tank, wireless pressure sending units for gauges
Frame Mods: Custom bridge notch with ’bag brackets and shocks extended for longbed conversion
Misc.: Spun aluminum gas tank, painted and polished accessories, spiked lug nut covers, tucked wiring
Performed By: Justin and Tom Wyatt from The Slam Shack in Bristol, VA
Shaved: Door handles, antenna, cargo light, gas door, tailgate handle
Bodydrop: 4-inch traditional
Bolt-ons: Phantom billet grille, clear corner and bumper lenses, ’94 Mistubishi front bumper, stock taillights with amber delete
Performed By: Owner, RJ Shelton, Dustin “Cheese” Vinson, and Jason Miles from Shroom’s Custom Air
Brand & Colors: Mitsubishi charcoal and silver, Ford Performance Red
Misc.: Molded roll pan, custom sheetmetal longbed, custom firewall, rolled pinch molding, custom airbrushing in stripe with the name and birthdate of owner’s daughter, scissors for his wife, cancer ribbon for his mother in law, and “In Memory of Jimmy Cox” in the tailgate with skulls
Performed By: Shroom’s Custom Air, Brad Vanover, and owner
Seats: Geo Storm seats with headrest delete wrapped in Allegro Garnet
Dash: ’55 Chevrolet Bel Air
Misc.: Sheetmetal console, black carpet, custom wrapped headliner, glow shift gauges with Jeg’s GPS speedometer sender, billet steering wheel, door handles, window cranks, grab bar, air ride switches, shift knob, and pedal covers, Lokar shift ring and boot, custom rear seat, and all pieces painted or wrapped
Performed By: Owner, RJ Shelton, Jason McCracken, and BJ Sams
Head Unit: 7-inch double-din in-dash screen mounted in custom console
Mids & Highs: 5x7 Scosche Industries
Performed By: Owner
Engine: ’88 Mitsubishi 2.0L four-banger
Header/Exhaust: Pace Setter header
Performed By: Owner
“Thanks to my wife—she has supported me in this game for close to seven years, to both our families, Jimmy Cox—fallen but not forgotten, RJ Shelton, Justin Wyatt, Jason McCracken, Brad Vanover, Dustin “Cheese” Vinson, Shroom’s Custom Air, Jonathan Stiltner, Chris Denton, Burrell Images, and anyone else who happened to touch this thing or listen to me rant over the last 1,095-ish days!”