There is a special bond between a father and a son. Maybe it's because the son will carry on the family name or because a father has someone who they can share hobbies with. Whatever the reason, that bond is there. Sharing your hobbies is a great way to connect and strengthen a father/son relationship, whether it is baseball, fishing, golf, or going to a truck show. Participating in a hobby that both of you love gives you common ground and a reason to spend time together.
For James and Ronald Penwell, they found that common ground in mini-truckin'. It all started with James inviting his dad to attend a show-a run, no less-and hang out with him and his truck-club friends. After that weekend, a whole new world opened up to his dad, and at the age of 46, he was hooked. The end result of the experience was not only a tighter bond between father and son but also a pair of really nice trucks.
When someone begins the quest to build a mini that is completely out of the norm and goes completely opposite of today's mini-trucker, they gain instant respect in our book. Mike Oxen of Las Vegas, Nevada, is just the type of mini-trucker we are describing. Starting out with a '93 Isuzu, Mike would have to be smarter than the average show-stopper.
Without a wad of cash at the ready, the clean and simple approach was the game plan for this buildup. For example, 18-inch wheels and a simple two-tone paintjob keep this mini grounded, but that's not where it gets its flavor. The slammed stance, plaid interior, and all-out cleanliness add to its appeal. Keep in mind, while Mike was building this low-roller, the only aftermarket product he could find was a roll pan and spindles-that's right, no cool taillights or grilles, not even a pair of Yosemite Sam mudflaps.
It took the better part of 14 years for the Isuzu to get to its current state. If persistence isn't the first thing that comes to your mind at this moment, then we're sure "holy crap" is. Do you remember what you were doing 14 years ago? We're fairly certain most of us we're playing video games and chasing girls at the local hangout.
After completion, Mike decided it was time to sell his achievement and move on to something different. In stepped longtime friend James Penwell, determined to take the truck to the next level. James was working on a '94 Toyota that would quickly turn into a learning experience. After six sets of wheels, three different suspension setups, and two beds, and nowhere near done, it was slowly becoming a nightmare, a bottomless money pit that became a constant source of frustration and disappointment. James was getting burned out; he was looking to off the truck and find something new.
He bought the truck from Mike in August of 2006 and has started the process of making this truck his own. We wish James well in his future adventures and offer this advice: Hard work, a well-thought-out plan, and a few friends are all it takes sometimes, and if you have a pocket full of cash that doesn't hurt, either.