Well, the time has finally come! We've been putting this off, wondering where the industry was going, but it's officially time to evolve and adapt to this new breed of truck and stay the leading, cutting-edge custom truck publication. Yup, the midsize truck is among us, and they're already being cut up like there's no tomorrow! We're here to embrace the fairly larger versions of the minis we've all come to know and love, and show you that there's still going to be the same crazy-ass mini-truckers out there that are willing to buy a brand new '06 truck and cut it up still sporting the window sticker! So no more crying about how the sport of mini-truckin' is dying because the manufacturers have moved to meet the needs of "normal" society by enlarging their compact pickup lines. Let's grow with the rest of the world and continue to be the first to take a vehicle and make it our own.
We've compiled this Midsize Special Issue to show you what's out there and what's been going on with these new trucks over the last year or two. Obviously, this month's cover truck built by Cool Cars/CCE and the Autocore Colorado feature are two perfect examples of the Colorado (Chevy's new compact pickup that replaced the S-10). However, some of the other models haven't quite gained the popularity for customization as fast as the Colorado. But have no fear. There are the few, the proud, and the brave that have stepped into the dark and cut up some of the other midsize models. So here's a sneak peak at what to expect from these new model trucks from the one and only magazine dedicated to the custom compact pickup!
Project Flat Rocker
We didn't want to get left behind on all these new trucks coming out without having a little fun ourselves, so when we first laid eyes on the new Frontiers we knew that was the truck we had to get. As luck would have it, Nick Crouch over at Surface Art designed exactly what we envisioned, and once all thoughts were on paper, all we needed to find was the lucky bastard that would get to cut her up! Well, unfortunately this part of the equation wasn't as easy as we originally thought, with the list of trustworthy shops dwindling. But have no fear. Jeff Davey over at Devious Customs has vowed that these rockers will soon taste pavement. We should be bringing this beauty closer to completion by SEMA '07. Stay tuned and see for yourselves that this thing will lay FLAT ROCKER!
Northwest Breaks the Ice
Photography: Jacob Carroll
The very first new-body Frontier that had the pleasure of seeing the fate that only a Sawzall and welder in the hands of a mini-trucker can bring was Ron Perkins' '05 Frontier. His Frontier was 'bagged, body dropped, and given a complete shave by one of the Northwest's premier custom shops, Dawg House Kustomz in Portland, OR. The bed was sheetmetaled and completely smoothed, and with a touch of class, they even housed an umbrella in the tailgate Rolls Royce Phantom-style. Once all the bodywork was complete the Frontier received some fresh color from Liquid Innovations. Currently, Ron is reworking the whole truck over to include full interior and assures us he has plenty more tricks up his sleeve. Many companies pulled through to make this virgin metal platform what it is today, including Auto Loc, BASF, Borla Exhaust, Boyd Coddington Wheels, E Valves, Gem Top, Inalfa Sunroofs, Liquid Innovations, Mac's Springs, Nitto Tire, Oil Filter Service, PIAA Corp., Suicidedoors.com, T-Rex, and Viair. Ron also wanted to give a special thanks to Kelly and Ashley for all their support. Look for more of Ron's Frontier to hit these pages after its completion.
Bobby Martins from Hesperia, California, and owner of Sadistic Iron Werks, popped the brand new Tacoma's cherry by being the very first to put the rocker on the ground. Bobby is building the truck for his wife, Sarah Martins, to drive on a daily basis. He brought it home with the window sticker on it, pulled it into the garage, and said, "Hey, honey. Come look at your new ride!" as he took a Sawzall to the pinch molding! Now, if that's not hardcore, we don't know what is. First Blood features a full 4-inch body drop, custom built Sadistic Iron Werks upper control arms utilizing 1-inch uniballs, and airbags mounted above the upper control arm. For the rear, Bobby built a reverse wishbone link, boxed the frame, shortened the rearend, and notched the framerails to fit the massive DUB 22-inch wheels with a 4-inch lip, wrapped in Nitto 420S tires. Stopping power to slow down the 22s will consist of a custom Baer Brake system. Since the truck will still be a driver, Bobby still used the stock composite bed floor with some modifications and kept the AC/heater and other stock commodities. Branden Smith will be enlisted to build the custom stereo. With help from some of his closest Severed Ties brothers (including paint by Josh "LoLo" Freeman) First Blood will have already hit the Forbidden Fantasy show by the time you read this. You'll soon see much more on this Taco here in the pages of MT.
Gumby DiFrancesca from Columbus, Ohio, is representing Art of Noize with his '05 Toyota Tacoma X-Runner. Gumby's X-runner will feature a supercharger by Boosted Tundras along with a full DynoMax exhaust and a few other engine goodies. Seriously Insane Auto Concepts will be tackling the task of laying the Taco out with a stock floor body drop and 'bags on 20-inch Vault wheels at all four corners. The stereo will be bumpin' thanks to a full Rockford Fosgate sound system, with custom fiberglass work and installation done by Gumby himself. Urban Works will be laying down the blue and green to blind any bystander within eyeshot. Be on the lookout for Gumby's truck to hit SEMA '06 in Toyota's booth and to be featured right here, along with an appearance in an upcoming Lowlife video.
Photography: Wes Allison
Mitsubishi turned a lot of heads at the 2005 SEMA show with their bold Street Raider styling concept. All of the design work was carried out by Mitsubishi at their Cypress, California, design studio, where a crew of designers mixed classic hot-rod styling with a little import flash. Once they'd ironed out all of their ideas, the crew of talented builders at Aria Group in Irvine, California, brought the sketches to life. Beginning with a clay buck shaped over the factory sheet metal, the front air dam was formed out of fiberglass and matches the rocker panel ground effects to create an aggressive look. Also, to smooth out the lines the crew ditched the fuel door and the door handles, and reduced the offset between the body and the front bumper. The Air Ride suspension that brings the Street Raider down to earth combines with the custom air dam, and lower rocker panels stretch the body to the ground, while the matching tonneau cover raises the body line. The interior was kept simple and tasteful, as a majority of the factory Raider pieces remain but with added luxury. Brown leather upholstery with white-pearl leather accents cover factory seats, and a white Alcantara headliner adds an upscale touch. Music duties are handled by Rockford Fosgate components, with a single RF subwoofer mounted prominently in the center of the cab. All of the metal trim on the truck (save for the Mitsubishi tri-diamond logo) was treated to black chrome, which provides a nice contrast to the White Tech Pearl PPG paint that covers the smoothed body. Rolling stock consists of Bonspeed-built, Mitsubishi-designed 22-inch wheels with 265/40/R22 Toyo Proxes up front. Huge 305/40/R22 Proxes are stuffed under the bed thanks to shortened rear axles. The other major addition to performance comes from Brembo 6-piston calipers in front and 4-pistons in the rear. The Street Raider you see here might be a peek at a future appearance and luxury package from Mitsubishi, so all of you import fans out there, keep your fingers crossed.
Ernie Macias (King Mitsu) knew that if anyone was going to cut up the new Mitsubishi that it would have to be him. But it didn't start out that way. He actually pre-ordered the truck from the dealer and planned on just driving it for a year or two. Haha...yeah, right! That didn't last long before he was scouting out the perfect shop to lay out his brand new ride. As of right now he's hooked up with Jeff Davey at Devious Customs and plans to have the Raider 'bagged and stock floored on 22-inch Devious wheels. Nick Crouch at Surface (dang, that guy's getting around) came up with this concept for Ernie to motivate him in his latest project. If all goes well, definitely keep an eye out for this bad boy in a future issue of Mini Truckin'.