When Robert Perry decided it was time to get serious about building a custom ride, he made up his mind not to leave the truck's construction to a number of shops. He felt the only way to make sure his ride was built the way he envisioned was to build it himself in his own garage and backyard, provided his parents would allow him to use the garage for an extended period of time.
Robert lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, where there is no shortage of lifted trucks, but there are very few custom lowered rides, much less full-custom show trucks.
The truck was outfitted with air ride at all corners, using FBI's bolt-on, triangulated rear suspension setup, Chassis Tech bag cups, Firestone airbags front and rear, an Aim Industries engine-driven compressor, and 10 gallons of on-demand air stored in a pair of air tanks. Before long, Robert had a very low, bulletproof suspension, but the truck looked like a pile of crap: The '81 showed its years of abuse and was infested with body cancer. Robert recognized that much more was needed to make his truck stand out and be noticed.
After a couple of hot laps around the block to check out the new suspension gear, it was back to the shop (aka Robert's garage) for Robert to test his skills at repairing sheetmetal. His 8-to-5 is working with metal, forming and fabricating, building company booths and displays for trade shows. He figured that he would give it a shot. Just as soon as he started grinding into it, Robert found that the bed was in such bad shape that he would be better off scrapping it and finding a bed in better condition. He spent countless hours in the garage after work fabricating replacement pieces to repair the cancer that lived in the cab. Along with the repairs needed for the rust that the truck had developed, the passenger door was unbolted and the jamb reworked to allow it to swing suicide-style. The truck was also treated to a complete shave job and smoothed out in preparation for the eyeball-burning yellow paintjob Robert was about to lay down.
The fact that his truck was evolving before his eyes, in his own garage, was unbelievable for the young would-be custom-truck owner. But in order to complete the buildup, a slew of new tasks needed to be accomplished. Among these tasks was revamping the interior. Everything in the cab was removed, and Robert got busy building a new dash to house the Auto Meter gauges and a center console to hold the B&M shifter. These surfaces were then smoothed out and painted to match perfectly the exterior of the truck. Because the truck has a 4-1/2-inch body drop, the seats needed to be on the low-profile side. Robert found a set of clean, comfortable Mazda MX3 bucket seats for cheap, which fit the profile perfectly. The interior was finally treated to plenty of custom parts, including a billet-aluminum steering wheel, chrome diamond-plate accent pieces, and a few yards of new tan carpet.
The truck was ready to leave the garage in search of trophies all over the South. Clearly, Robert is 100-percent into the show scene. He loves to make the trek from his hometown to wherever enthusiasts are gathered to show off his handiwork.