Toyota HiLux Video Review
1970 Toyota Hilux
Simi Valley, CA
"I wanted to build a minitruck because everyone tells me that I have little man syndrome," says Sean Ramage of Empire Fabrication in Simi Valley, California. Being an owner of beefy, jacked-up trucks and dogs the size of miniature horses, one could easily come to the conclusion that Sean, who is definitely not the biggest dude on the block, was using these things to make up for his lack of size. He shut those people up real fast with the debut of his chopped and shortened Toyota Hilux.
“I started making money working on rockcrawlers, but I found that there was more to be made with minis,” admits Sean. So, he naturally gravitated to the low side. The first modification made to the Hilux was cutting the bed and trimming down length by 23 inches, then the factory 3-inch rocker was removed and a 1-inch replacement, fabricated from 3/16-inch plate, was put into place. And to get the roof to look proportional to the Toyota’s lower, shorter physique, it was taken down a quarter of an inch at a time until it was perfect. To extend the metalwork involved, the door mirrors, marker lights, wipers and squirters were shaved clean, and front fenders and a valence were molded to the front clip, but due to an accidental drop from a trailer, it is in the middle of reconstruction.
This build still has a ways to go, but we just had to share it as it currently sits for the simple fact that it’s cool as hell! A new frame is also being constructed, but for now, the modified stock chassis will have to do.
Stock 14s with custom-painted caps
Slam Specialties ’bags
Shortened to fit under body
Doors, mirrors, cab vent, emblem holes, side markers, tailgate marker, gas door, hood squirters, windshield wipers, all body seams, rain gutter, lower front valence
Shortened bed 23 inches, chopped top 1 1/2 inches, custom 1-inch rocker
Custom-machined badges to match stock badges
Front fenders molded to front core support
Brand & Colors:
Custom sand job
Shaved stereo and ashtray in center section of dash
Special Thanks From Owner
"I would like to thank my loving wife for being patient while I worked long nights, Mike Romero and Nick Miserendino for help on the metalwork, and the Mohr family for the truck and the three years I lived with them during which I learned how to fabricate."