A custom mini-truck is all about style: clean and smooth body lines, tons of body modifications, a slammed stance, some bitchin' paint, and killer wheels. However, a license plate box molded into the tailgate or roll pan interrupts most trucks' smooth rear flow. Another annoying problem is a license plate that hangs well below the roll pan, which any mini-trucker can tell you doesn't last very long. Our project Toyota was one of these minis. We dragged holes in our license plate and tore off roll pans time after time.
Silver Star Customs (SSC) has the answer to these problems. Whether you want to clean up the rear of your truck, or just want an excuse to hit another switch, this kit is what you've been waiting for. The crew at Silver Star Customs now offers the Hidden Plate, a universal actuated license plate kit that can be mounted wherever you're bold enough to install it. Constructed from heavy-duty laser-cut 14-gauge steel and machined square tubing for the side rails, it uses an Autoloc actuator to raise or lower your license plate at the flip of a switch. For those of you who really like to show off, you can even wire it up to a spare channel of your alarm remote.
We jumped right in by tearing off our old roll pan that housed the license plate and replaced it with a smooth roll pan from FBI. This instantly gave us 3 more inches of ground clearance for those steep driveways, speed bumps, and dips that have claimed many a roll-pan victim. Instead of doing things the easy way and flush-mounting the Hidden Plate kit in the tailgate, we decided to install it in the back wall of the bed. There wasn't enough room in the back-wall rail for the kit, so we did what any mini-trucker would do: grabbed a grinder equipped with a cut-off wheel and went to town.
We used 2x1-inch square tubing to build a frame for our new back wall and license plate housing. George Wilson, our sheetmetal expert, then measured 16-gauge sheetmetal front and rear panels and broke the top edge to match the line of our bedrail. Once everything was triple-checked, we began welding it all in place. After Joe Nunez got down on the bodywork, we wet-sanded and sprayed some primer. In the end, we had a clean license plate, an extra 3 inches of ground clearance, and one more body modification to be proud of. For more information, contact the companies listed in the source box.