Much like neon spandex, mullets, loud eyeshadow, and acid washed jeans, mini trucks remain a polarizing trend that emerged from the raddest decade in American history. And while street trucks seem to be making a more refined comeback these days, the jury’s still out whether we’ll see another full-blown wacky mini truck revolution. Although, if we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times: Everything old becomes new again.
Regardless of your feelings about mini trucks, here are some of the wildest, wackiest, and (depending on perspective) worst builds we could dredge up on the interwebs. You’re welcome.
You couldn’t have a list that features some of the wackiest builds in the automotive world without talking about Roadkill. The Mazdarati is a Mazda pickup fitted with an Oldsmobile 455. Of course, the engine was mounted in the bed of the truck and customized with boat headers. The truck wasn’t built by David Freiburger or Mike Finnegan, rather something they purchased as-is for the Optima Ultimate Street Car Competition. But that doesn’t mean the vehicle went untouched. They visited Westech Performance to squeeze every ounce of power they could out of the Oldsmobile power plant. And as Freiburger points out, the radiator was positioned just behind the cab of the truck where no air could reach it. Their solution? Fitting air vents to the roof. There’s no denying the ridiculousness of this mini truck.
Diesel Powered 1986-Suzuki Samurai
The Suzuki Samurai in stock form is on the short list of dangerous vehicles from the 1980s. They’re known for tipping over, as mentioned in The Engine Block feature Easter Jeep Safari: Off Beat Off-Road at MOAB. How do you solve this problem? First, by slamming it, of course. But why stop there? David Taylor sure didn’t. In fact, he took his 1986 Samurai and did all sorts of custom work to it, including dropping in a 3.9L 4BT Cummins engine in the bay of a Samurai on an S10 Chassis.
2001 Isuzu Mini Semi
Mini and Semi are two words that are far from synonymous. An S10, or something of that nature, probably comes to mind when thinking about a mini truck. Similarly, an Isuzu NPR is unlikely to resemble a Semi…or is it? Gabriel Culp embarked on the ultimate conquest when he was dreaming up the ultimate work truck. He already had an F-150, so naturally he needed to break the norm. The result? The most beautifully whacked-out crossbreed between mini trucking and hauling. After a serious over-haul, the Mini Semi NPR was born.
1963 International Travelette
If someone isn’t forced to ask, “What is it?” then can it really be labeled unique? Here we find yet another hauler on our mini-truck list. Only this time we find a Cummins diesel engine doing the job. This truck was put together by Rob Vanluik for carting around the family on all sorts of adventures. Not only is it beefed up underneath, but it looks like a half-sized hauler from the 1960’s. When you combine innovation, work ethic, and a traveling Canadian, you wind up with what is likely the craziest mini truck we’ve ever seen.
Half Dead’s 1990 Toyota Pickup
The mini truck world is one of many unique trends and styles. One of the most notable is the outlandish paint jobs. Richard “Half Dead” Knipp put together a 1990 Toyota pickup that certainly takes the cake for one of the most distinguished styles we’ve ever seen. The interior is dressed with custom horror-inspired décor. The exterior showcases a paint job that consists of over 31 colors. A crazed artist, but we certainly applaud the gruesome design.
Don’t worry, we’ve got more where that came from. So bust out your mixtapes, brush up on your John Hughes movies, and get ready for five more of the craziest mini truck builds. Stay tuned.