Even though Paul Baffino helps rid pests like mosquitoes from the Florida state, he has what it takes to stir things up in the truck scene. Different from the rest, Paul definitely has a mind set of his own when it comes to trucks. Being in contact with or near pesticides all day long may have influenced him to think outside of the box.
As a young tyke, Paul was introduced to the mechanical world, tagging along with his father to the local fix-it shop. While there at Tommy's Trailer & Auto, he was introduced to his dad's friends who had hot rods and other goodies. When he was 15, he gathered his own crowd of friends and went to his first show. The show wasn't really that great, but it captivated his interest.
Later on, when he got his driver's license, he needed a vehicle to get him around town. And since he was always around trucks, he wanted to buy a Chevy S-10. He failed to find one, and the only truck to be found in good condition was this '83 Dodge for $1,500. So, he bought it just as a daily driver and had no other plans for it. Over time, it gained more of his interest when he realized how different it was from the rest of the trucks in the scene. Paul couldn't help but to find himself sinking money into it.
Once again, he found himself hanging out at the shop, but this time not staring at other people's rides. He was there to continue the buildup of his own truck. As soon as he started on the truck, he found out that there were no aftermarket parts made for this bulky vehicle. Because there are no drop spindles to be found for this model, it made it hard to 'bag the front suspension. After some quick measurements, he decided to try a set made for a '95 Dakota. With some extra drilling done to make the tie rods mount to the spindles, he had a 'bagged system that would get the truck on the ground.
With the original engine pushing 175,000 miles on the odometer, it was time to pull it out. During the down time of the build, a newer 318 Dodge engine was dropped in to bring a new life to the old truck. The truck was then finished and painted when the newer engine decided to crap out after just 26,000 miles.
Now the truck was done but had a busted engine, it had to be fixed before it could be shown to the world. Paul found a 5.9L Magnum engine from an '01 Dodge Ram, so he planted it in, with a revamped TCI tranny. The problem with the new engine in the old truck was that it was difficult getting the fuel injection properly wired up. Instead, it was switched to work with an Edelbrock carburetor. It fired up and the job was finished.
Now, it is a crazy-cool truck that is unlike any other. Although it started out as a random pick, Paul's truck truly stands out without being over the top. As a daily driver, it turns heads, even our own.
Owner/hometown: Paul Baffino / Vero Beach, Florida
Year/make/model: '83 Dodge D100
Engine/drivetrain: '01 5.9L 360 Magnum V-8 from a Dodge Ram / Mopar dual-plane intake manifold / 600-cfm Edelbrock Performer carburetor / Hedman headers / K&N air filter / Flowmaster muffler / '83 Mopar TorqueFlight 727 transmission with TCI shifter, torque converter, and manual valvebody / B&M Shift Improver Kit
Installer: Tommy's Trailer & Auto, of Vero Beach, Florida
Wheels/tires: 20x8.5- and 20x10-inch Intro Vistas / 245/35R20 and 275/30R20 Nitto 555
Suspension: (Front) DJM '95 Dakota 2-inch drop spindles / Firestone airbags / (Rear) Cando Customs C-notch / 31-inch ladder bars / Firestone airbags
Fabricator: Tommy's Trailer & Auto, of Vero Beach, Florida
Body Mods: Shaved emblems and door handles / Caddy-style taillights by Cando Customs / tailgate smoothed on both sides / sheetmetal inner bed Custom Paint: Electric Green Metallic / Silver Metallic
Paint/Bodywork By: Darrel's Paint & Body, of Vero Beach, Florida
Interior: Bucket seats from a '72 Dodge van conversion / Intro Vista steering wheel / custom tweed work
Upholsterer: Dale Moyer Enterprises, of Vero Beach, Florida
Audio/video: Pioneer head unit and speakers / JBL 360-watt amp / two Audiobahn 10-inch subwoofers
Installer: Xtreme Performance & Car Audio, of Vero Beach, Florida