Tats And Dats
I enjoy two major hobbies: custom trucks and tattoos. I was thinking recently that I might be able to combine the two. I own a vintage '82 Datsun (the last year of true Datsuns before they changed their name to Nissan) King Cab. It's been a custom mini-truck since day one, so it's been through lots of changes.

The last paintjob is on its way out, so I was thinking maybe I could incorporate some tattoo designs in a new paint scheme. Specifically, I'd like to copy some of my personal tats onto the truck. I'm not sure how to go about doing this, so I was hoping you guys could help. The truck is currently bright (well, actually somewhat faded) orange, but I'm open to any colors. I've done complete color changes two times before.

I'd appreciate any ideas you could give me. Thanks.
Ron Abrahamson
via e-mail

Truck tattoos could be thought of as elaborate pinstriping. the cool part where this deviates from striping is that most tats are far more colorful than traditional pinstriping. the colors and designs of your tattoos will dictate the best color for your truck. if you left it orange it might look like one of those people who spend too much time at fake-'n'-bake tanning salons.

Most tattoos that we've seen tend to be shades of black, blue, red, green, and yellow. therefore, a color other than those would be a good idea. White would be too plain, and it would make the tats too obvious. Beige or light tan might be too much like real skin, but maybe that would work. if it were our truck, we'd consider bright silver with lots of metallic in it or maybe high-metallic titanium. German luxury cars seem to have a good variety of silvers.

Our thought behind the high-metallic silver is that it might offset the tattoos a little so they aren't overly obvious, but they'd still be easy to see. it would be wise to shoot a couple of test panels before committing to a total repaint.

As for transferring the tattoos, you need some decent digital photos taken of the tats you want to copy. Find someone who's computer savvy and get him or her to scan the images. a custom painter with access to an artograph image projector could project the tats onto body panels to use as a guide. another possibility is to give the scans to a vinyl sign shop and have a vinyl mask made.

We could see representations of your arm tattoos running along the outer edges of the hood (left arm on the driver side and right arm on the passenger side). anything on your chest could go on the roof and any back tats could adorn a hard tonneau cover.

We might leave the artwork off the sides of the truck, so the truck could have a dual personality depending on the angle of view. that would be sort of like the difference between wearing a long-sleeve shirt or a muscle shirt.

An idea that could relate to any truck whether the owner is inked or inkless is to incorporate some of the bold, traditional tattoos favored by South Seas islanders.

Billet Conspiracy
I used to belong to The Wheel of the Month Club, but I got tired and broke trying to keep up with the latest styles. The more fashionable and trendy a wheel is/was, the more it cost. It also seemed like the more I paid, the less the wheels were worth a year or two later. That's why I switched to a set of 18x8 and 18x10 Torq-Thrusts. The cost was reasonable, and the look is timeless. I'll never be cutting-edge, but I'll never look like a billet dork with some three-spoke Renault Le Car-inspired wheels either.

I'm a die-hard Chevy guy, so I kept the wheels and tires when I sold one truck and have put them on the next truck. In fact, I usually advertise a truck with the Torq-Thrusts on so it looks good in photos. Then I boost the price a little, and if someone wants to pay full price (it hasn't happened so far) I'll include the wheels. If they want to negotiate, I put the factory rally wheels back on.

I think the ever-changing customwheel styles and sizes is the auto aftermarket version of women's clothing. I think they change things just so they'll have something new to sell to our consumption-crazy society. I don't blame companies for doing this, but, to paraphrase Damon Wayans, "This homie don't play that game anymore."
Jim Edwards
via e-mail