Joseph "Lil' Joey" Murphy • San Antonio, Texas
'91 Mitsubishi Mighty Max
Joseph "Lil' Joey" Murphy of San Antonio, Texas, likes his trucks a little bit different than everyone else seems to. He's not a Nissan guy, or a Toyota guy—he's one of the few dedicated Mitsubishi guys out there who loves the Mighty Max and doppleganger D-50. So much so, that at one point he owned a website named Mightyd50.com, one of the premier sites out there for custom minitruckers.
When Joey decided to sell his last truck, a '93 Mighty Max, he decided to go out on the hunt and find another Mitsu', this time a '91 that he was going to build into a reliable daily driver. Lower it on some rims, do a five-lug conversion—all the basics, with nothing too fancy. As is the case with most of these builds, things got a little out of hand and the next thing he knows, Joey is dropping the truck off at B&C Offroad in Pasadena, Texas.
Really, the big impetus for this build was the discovery that one of Joey's favorite mini-truck builders, Rob Rodell, was back and building trucks again. In the late '90s, Rob was known for building a body-dropped Isuzu Amigo that graced the cover of our sister publication, Mini Truckin'. For a long time, he was building custom rides, but then he disappeared for a bit, just to reappear at B&C Offroad, as one of their fabricators. Joey decided to drop the truck off at the shop so that Rob could 'bag the truck and put his special touch onto the Mitsu', and that's exactly what he did.
Things started by 'bagging the truck with Firestone airbags. A reverse four-link was fabricated and installed on the truck, and the frame was notched so the newly installed Toyota axle could gain some needed clearance. Using influences from the off-road world, Rob built custom shock mounts and incorporated a set of chromed shocks typically found on pre-runner trucks, and made some fancy gussets to keep things strong. Up front, a set of Chassis Tech spindles and re-drilled hubs were installed to give the truck a five-lug conversion, allowing Joey to run a set of 18x7.5 KMC Units that he had in his possession before he bought the '91.
Once the truck was 'bagged, it was all downhill from there. Joey ended up having Trevor Knapp shave the door handles, bed light, bed seams, tailgate handle, and antenna, and then he took the truck to Brent Sharp where it was covered with a silver base and True Blue candy. The result is a killer looking paintjob that really stands out in a crowd.
The project really snowballed at this point, so it was time for the interior. The doors, seats, and headliner were wrapped in blue vinyl and black ostrich, making for a clean interior to match the exterior. A huge stereo wasn't in the works, so instead Joey had Chris "Bean" Stevens install a simple system with a JVC in-dash monitor and custom kick panel and speakers.
It takes a special kind of person to build a truck that's difficult to find parts for, and Joey is that guy. Sure, building a Mitsu' can be a difficult path, what with digging in junkyards for parts and trying to find parts at retailers, but the result is that much more satisfying, something Joey knows all too well.