Richard “HalfDead” Knipp isn’t your everyday, “normal” minitrucker. And by “normal”, we mean a run-of-the-mill weirdo. (Don’t look offended; you know you’re strange too.) Rich is kooky, no doubt about that, but he’s a special kind of kook—the type that can be can be appreciated based on his degree of off-centeredness.

Just look at his truck. You can’t tell us that Leatherface skin inspired seats, a rib cage wrapped center console, and all sorts of biomechanical goodness spread across Toyota’s landscape aren’t all dead giveaways to this guy’s odd taste of the macabre. Don’t read these words wrong though, Rich’s creepy creation is bad as hell. From purchase date to completion, there are two years and bags of money invested in this piece. But aside from the obvious resources that have been poured into the build, there’s strong sentimental value surrounding it as well.

You see, just as show season kicked off last year, Rich had been checked into the hospital as he faced kidney and pancreas transplants. While others were finalizing last minute hotel reservations and making sure they had enough gas money to make it to their favorite minitruck show, Rich far from enjoying any part of his summer. Luckily, his friends proved to be the loyal type as they came together to help raise funds to help with medical expenses. A few buddies even kept the progress rolling on Rich’s truck, and when it was finished, it was taken to the shows he would’ve taken it to himself if he was physically able to.

Now that he’s back on his feet, Rich talked to us about the beginnings of this build. “After I drove 15 hours to get the truck, I got the truck home and noticed it was in worse condition than I thought. It had been ’bagged and bodied nearly to the doors already, but the blown motor, less than average body condition, and sad interior forced a full rebuild. A little bit of research revealed that this truck had a history. It was previously known as Wicked Toy when The Drop Shop in Pikesville, Kentucky, was building it, and when it changed hands to another owner was building it; it went by another name—Lost Souls. With my rebuild underway, I knew it needed a new name and persona.”

With a freshly completed truck and a new lease on life, Rich plans on making up for lost time this year. He’s been through hell and back, but with a ton of helping hands, he considers the trip conquered. “I am deeply indebted for everything everybody has done for me when I needed it the most.”

The Lowdown
1990 Toyota Pickup
Richard “HalfDead” Knipp • Mahomet, IL

Rolling Attire
Wheels: 18x7 Ultra Platinum Apex 200
Tires: 215/35ZR18 Haida HD921

Chassis Modifications
Suspension (front): 2500 Air Lift Dominator ’bags
Suspension (rear): 2600 Air Lift Dominator ’bags, custom reverse four-link
Control Arms: Custom uppers, modified lowers
Shocks: Custom
Compressor(s): Dual Viair 444 chrome
Air/Hydro Accessories: (6) SMC 3/8-inch valves
Frame Mods: Stock frame covered in bed liner, rear frame C-notch
Brakes: Stock
Misc.: 3/8-inch copper air lines
Performed By: Marty Ward at Marshall’s Shop

Body Modifications
Shaved: Door handles and locks, cowl, wipers, cab light, side view mirrors, emblems and trim, tailgate, roll pan, fuel door
Bodydrop: 4-inch traditional, additional inch cut off rockers
Body Mods: Sheetmetal bed, molded tailgate, one-piece bumper/valence
Performed By: Jody Hall at The Drop Shop, Marty Ward at Marshall’s Shop, John Wargo at The Custom Shop, Jake Martin, and Scott Summers

Paint
Brand & Colors: 31 colors using Pro-Spray, PPG, and House of Kolor
Misc.: Candy and pearl paint in graphics throughout
Performed By: John Wargo at The Custom Shop

Interior
Seats: Chevy Cavalier chopped and wrapped in tan leather and monster stitching, billet cup holders
Dash: Rolled steel shaved of vents, gauges, and controls
Misc.: Shaved and leather-wrapped door panels, custom center console, billet steering wheel, shifter, window cranks, rear view mirror, custom door pulls, sheetmetal floor pans
Performed By: Stitchwork by Bill Byrd at Byrdhouse Kustom Upholstery, fiberglass by Mike’s Kustom Shop, paint by John Wargo at The Custom Shop

Stereo
Head Unit: JVC KD-G340
Mids & Highs: 6½-inch Image Dynamics XS65
Subwoofers: 8-inch Bazooka passive tube
Amplifiers: Image Dynamics
Misc.: Kicker wiring
Performed By: Mike’s Kustom Shop

Engine/Performance
Engine: Stock 22R four-banger
Header/Exhaust: Hedman
Transmission: Stock four-speed
Rearend Type: Stock
Detail Work: Powdercoated and painted to match
Misc.: Oil pan sectioned ¾-inch
Performed By: Daniel Pacely at Fagen Truck ACC, Marty Ward at Marshall’s Shop, Danville Industrial Painting

Special Thanks From Owner
“To everyone who hand a hand in building this project with me, there’s too many to list but after many long nights, busted knuckles and strained friendships, we pulled it all together! Thanks to Fagen Truck Accessories, the guys at Gauge Magazine for the products and advice, my mechanic, and lastly my mom Carol C Henke. Without her support and guidance, Freakshow would not be here.”