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 DownRolling AttireWheels: 19x8-inch Boyd Coddington Rallye 2s, custom-paintedBackspace: +43mmTires: 215/35ZR19 Falken
Chassis ModificationsSuspension type: AirFront suspension: 'Bags Rear suspension: Chrome-plated four-linkAirbag type and size (Front): Slam RE-6(Rear): Universal Air 14-inch lift 'bags Control arms: BYC, chrome-platedSpindles/springs: 2-inch drop spindlesShocks: Chrome shocks in the rearValves: Four 3/8-inch GC 350 ExtremeCompressors: Two Viair 380sAir line: 1/4 inchAir accessories: Two 3-gallon air tanks , Dakota Digital air gaugesFrame mods: C-notch, custom-built bridge and back-half,custom control arm crossmember, and tranny crossmemberFrame material: Wood? Gas tank: 10-gallon aluminum fuel cell with stock sending unit and pumpBrakes: Chrome-platedDetail 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 bridgeMisc.: Mindless Metalfab compressor bracketsPerformed by: Owner Kyle Bertsch and Trevor AndersonCity/state: Bismarck, ND
Body ModificationsShaved: Everything but the bodyline, added that into the rearBody-dropped: 4 inches, past flat rockerFront end: '00 Tacoma front clip (headlights, corner lights, painted billet grille) '96 4x4 Tacoma bumper and valance, and all clear lensesBack end: Grant Kustoms full skin with custom-made body line that wraps around the rear end of the truckTaillights: Clear trailer lights frenched into skinSuicide doors: YupExterior bolt-ons: Shaved 4x4 fenders with Tacoma corner light openingsMisc.: 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 cornersPerformed by: Owner Kyle BertschCity/state: Bismarck, ND
PaintBrand and Colors: DuPont VW Cyber GreenPinstriping: Forest green and silver on the hood, tailgate, and dashAirbrushing: Green wood-grain graphics with beveled edge, chrome trimMisc.: Lots of cutting and buffingPerformed by: Paint by AJ Renner, airbrushing by Larson's Creative Concepts, cutting and buffing by Trevor AndersonCity/state: Mandan, ND
InteriorSeats: '90 Honda Prelude with chopped headrestsMaterial: Charcoal suede with green leather insertsDash: Stock and completely shaved, smoothed, and paintedDoor panels: Custom-built door panels with fiberglass inserts painted to match graphicsCenter console: All steel console molded into the floor and cab wall with cup holdersFlooring: Bentley ultra-plush charcoal carpet with suede inserts and custom floor matsHeadliner: Custom built, formed headliner all suedeGauges: Dakota Digital gaugesMisc.: 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 knobPerformed by: Owner Kyle Bertsch, Larson's Creative Concepts, Ross Johns, and AJ RennerCity/state: Bismarck, ND
StereoHead unit: Pioneer deckMids and highs: Audiobahn component setWiring/accessories: Pop-up plate, air switches, compressors, gauges, and lots of funPerformed by: Owner Kyle Bertsch City/state: Bismarck, ND
Engine/PerformanceIntake: Chromed, custom-built with Ricey filterHeader/exhaust: Custom-built from header back, new muffler, exhaust done in aluminum POR 15Ignition: RelocatedDriveshaft: Smoothed and painted Rearend type: Smoothed and paintedBattery: Optima with Cyber Green topInner fenders: Rolled fender lips for tiresDetail 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 firewallMisc.: Stainless fuel and brake lines, and a billet wire loom holder and capsPerformed by: Owner Kyle BertschCity/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!