Steel Dash Conversions
A few years ago, mini-truckers got the itch to take their interiors to a whole new custom level and began to build steel and fiberglass dashes for their rides. Last year, we did a cool retro dash install in the Nov. '04 issue using a metal dash from a '60 Oldsmobile. As of late, we have seen more and more mini-trucks coming out using old steel dashes. For example, Eli Griffin's Mazda, our Retro Special cover truck, modified a '51 Ford dash to complement his classic theme. Gerber also went the old-school route with his first-generation S-10, sporting a dash and Dakota Digital setup from a '56 Chevy.
Bench Seats/Tuck-and-Roll Interior
Bench seats aren't just a way to get a little closer to your girl anymore - they can also be used to add old-school flava when upholstered in a vintage tuck-and-roll fashion. In the 1973 classic car movie American Graffiti, Terry gets out of his car to let Debbie feel his tuck-and-roll interior. Tuck-and-roll consists of the center section of the seats using vertically stitched channels, and the outside edge swoops completely around, unadulterated, for that truly classic look.
Big Steering Wheels
The big classic steering wheel addition is not necessarily fat-guy-approved, so some of us are out of luck on this one. However, if your truck is stock-floored or you can fit your skinny butt in there, many of the old steering wheels are very intricate and really complete the interior of any retro-style mini.
Larger-than-life shifters bejeweled with the craziest shift knobs or whatever attached to make people gawk has steadily become more apparent among the mini-trucker crowd. Shift knobs modeled after grenades, gun handles, skulls, beer taps, brass knuckles, and unexplainable creatures have been around for years, but are still very at home in the retro mini-truck market.
We say old-school insignia is definitely a little cooler than letting people know what rim size you have with a chrome 22-inch sticker on your fender. Classic car moldings, side trim, and badging, completely restored with colors accenting your ride, will add that classic look and feel to complement the old-school theme.
Classic gauges make for a killer look in any mini-truck interior. Whether you want to upgrade your stock dash, add flair to an old-school dash, or just want some cool-looking gauges, check out the following Web sites. Auto Meter (www.autometer.com) has everything, from old-school classic gauges to the company's brand-new Nexus line. If digital gauges are more your style, check out www.dakotadigital.com.
Whitewalls are timeless, and although 14-inch whites are easy to find, there are bigger, more hard-core alternatives. For years, whitewall tire makers (shops that essentially take standard tires and melt a white lining around them) had to make a living off classic car collectors going for that authentic look. But now, more and more mini-trucks seem to be catching that old-school retro bug. The original wheels customizers used to shine on the weekends were smoothies, rallies, and Lakesters. Companies such as Wheel Vintiques have a full line of old-school shoes as well as updated larger billet versions. Check 'em out at www.wheelvintiques.com.