We hear it all too often, "I'll never be able to build a cover truck without my daddy's trust fund..." But that, my friends, is a stereotype that has no bearing whatsoever! The majority of the cover trucks on this very magazine are the result of years of blood, sweat, tears, friends, and beers. Yes, some trucks are shop-built and cost an arm and a leg to build, and those trucks deserve just as much respect. But this story is all about one man's battle to the top. Kyle Bertsch is a North Dakota native, who has been unfortunate enough to fight off the elements year after year, while wrenching in his cold-ass garage, all to make his dream come true.

Kyle met his buddy, Trevor Anderson, about seven or eight years ago. It was Trevor who turned him on to the custom side of life. Since they were teenagers, they have cut stuff up together, grown their friendship, and others eventually joined their ranks.

After Kyle had his fair share of dilapidated projects, he turned his talents onto a '93 Toyota pickup. This would be the truck that would make his dreams come true. As he put it, "I just built it paycheck by paycheck until it was finished, 'cuz I'm broke!" This long haul took the majority of five years to complete. But the battle wasn't just one of time and money. Kyle assured us anything that could possibly go wrong did. He's even been lucky enough to be part of the cover-truck curse and smashed the whole back end of his truck just weeks after his photo shoot.

When we asked Kyle what was the best part about his build, he gave the answer every proud minitrucker would give: "Finally finishing it after more than five years-with everyone telling me it'll never ever be done-debuting it at the final Resolutions show, and winning Best Minitruck! Also, joining Severed Ties, and cruising the strip in Greenville in it!" Now, that's a great list of accomplishments.

But, there were also some sacrifices that came in the form of "All the money and ex-girlfriends I lost to it."

All in all, Kyle has accomplished what all of us dream of doing, and he did it with the help of a few close friends, and most importantly: perseverance. We can all take a page out of Kyle's book.

So, if you see him around the shows, shake his hand and congratulate him on a job well done. We're sure we haven't seen the last of Kyle and his love of the custom minitruck! For all the specs and info on the build, check out the Lowdown.

The Low Down
Rolling Attire

Wheels: 19x8-inch Boyd Coddington Rallye 2s, custom-painted
Backspace: +43mm
Tires: 215/35ZR19 Falken

Chassis Modifications
Suspension type: Air
Front suspension: 'Bags
Rear suspension: Chrome-plated four-link
Airbag type and size (Front): Slam RE-6
(Rear): Universal Air 14-inch lift 'bags
Control arms: BYC, chrome-plated
Spindles/springs: 2-inch drop spindles
Shocks: Chrome shocks in the rear
Valves: Four 3/8-inch GC 350 Extreme
Compressors: Two Viair 380s
Air line: 1/4 inch
Air accessories: Two 3-gallon air tanks , Dakota Digital air gauges
Frame mods: C-notch, custom-built bridge and back-half,custom control arm crossmember, and tranny crossmember
Frame material: Wood?
Gas tank: 10-gallon aluminum fuel cell with stock sending unit and pump
Brakes: Chrome-plated
Detail work: Every hole was welded shut and frame smoothed out and painted VW Crystal Silver, graphics flow into bridge, custom-made Severed Ties chrome logo in bridge
Misc.: Mindless Metalfab compressor brackets
Performed by: Owner Kyle Bertsch and Trevor Anderson
City/state: Bismarck, ND

Body Modifications
Shaved:
Everything but the bodyline, added that into the rear
Body-dropped: 4 inches, past flat rocker
Front end: '00 Tacoma front clip (headlights, corner lights, painted billet grille) '96 4x4 Tacoma bumper and valance, and all clear lenses
Back end: Grant Kustoms full skin with custom-made body line that wraps around the rear end of the truck
Taillights: Clear trailer lights frenched into skin
Suicide doors: Yup
Exterior bolt-ons: Shaved 4x4 fenders with Tacoma corner light openings
Misc.: Custom-built fiberglass hood tubbed out for wheels and smoothed, BMW M3 clear third brake light with LEDs frenched into roof, tubbed firewall, 20x35-inch ragtop with all new canvas, custom-built pop-up license plate in bedwall, smoothed diamond bed floor, wheeltubs modified to fit tire radius, smoothed front of bed and behind the cab, and radiused the four corners
Performed by: Owner Kyle Bertsch
City/state: Bismarck, ND

Paint
Brand and Colors:
DuPont VW Cyber Green
Pinstriping: Forest green and silver on the hood, tailgate, and dash
Airbrushing: Green wood-grain graphics with beveled edge, chrome trim
Misc.: Lots of cutting and buffing
Performed by: Paint by AJ Renner, airbrushing by Larson's Creative Concepts, cutting and buffing by Trevor Anderson
City/state: Mandan, ND

Interior
Seats:
'90 Honda Prelude with chopped headrests
Material: Charcoal suede with green leather inserts
Dash: Stock and completely shaved, smoothed, and painted
Door panels: Custom-built door panels with fiberglass inserts painted to match graphics
Center console: All steel console molded into the floor and cab wall with cup holders
Flooring: Bentley ultra-plush charcoal carpet with suede inserts and custom floor mats
Headliner: Custom built, formed headliner all suede
Gauges: Dakota Digital gauges
Misc.: Every plastic piece was smoothed and painted, custom-built smoothed cab wall with radiused corners, custom suede shiftboot, sectioned stock shifter, smoothed doorjambs with no wires, shaved door lock and seatbelt holes, and custom-built pedals
Billet: BAD steering wheel custom painted with one-off Severed Ties horn button, Lecarra adapter, cup holders, Kaik "Mike Alexander," Lokar shift ring, Lokar door handles, and shift knob
Performed by: Owner Kyle Bertsch, Larson's Creative Concepts, Ross Johns, and AJ Renner
City/state: Bismarck, ND

Stereo
Head unit:
Pioneer deck
Mids and highs: Audiobahn component set
Wiring/accessories: Pop-up plate, air switches, compressors, gauges, and lots of fun
Performed by: Owner Kyle Bertsch
City/state: Bismarck, ND

Engine/Performance
Intake:
Chromed, custom-built with Ricey filter
Header/exhaust: Custom-built from header back, new muffler, exhaust done in aluminum POR 15
Ignition: Relocated
Driveshaft: Smoothed and painted
Rearend type: Smoothed and painted
Battery: Optima with Cyber Green top
Inner fenders: Rolled fender lips for tires
Detail work: If it wasn't chrome-able, it was painted or polished. More than 60 pieces of chrome on engine and chassis, motor dropped 1.5 inches, sectioned stock oil pan, extended and relocated wiring harnesses, custom-built steering shaft, '82 4x4 Toyota clutch cylinder raised and relocated, relocated brake booster, shaved and tubbed firewall
Misc.: Stainless fuel and brake lines, and a billet wire loom holder and caps
Performed by: Owner Kyle Bertsch
City/state: Bismarck, ND

Special Thanks From Owner:
My mother, father, and sister Kayla for all their help, support, and dealing with my six years of neglecting them because of this truck! AJ Renner for all the help and the amazing paint, Val Renner for the shop space, John Larson from Larson's Creative Concepts for the airbrushing and interior work, Trevor Anderson, Grant Kustoms, Ross John's for doing the seats, Corey Hochhalter, Adam-Girth, Steve-O, Mike A., Chad, Grant, Shawn, Buck, Jamey Jordan, Seth from twistedminis.com, all of my ex-girlfriends who didn't stick around long enough to see this thing finished, my club Severed Ties, and anyone else who I forget to mention, thanks!

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