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.
James Penwell / Las Vegas, Nevada
'93 Isuzu TF PUP
2.3L 96hp I-4 / five-speed manual / Weber carburetor / Flowmaster exhaust
BY: Mike Oxen, of Las Vegas / Mark Johnson, of Las Vegas
Front & Rear: 18x8-inch Boyd Coddington Rodders
Front & Rear: 225/40R18 Toyo Proxes
Front: Belltech 2-inch drop spindles / 2,500-pound Firestone air springs / Toxic shocks
Rear: Triangulated four-link / 2,600-pound Firestone air springs / Toxic shocks
Accessories: Eight 1/2-inch SMC air valves / two Air-Zenith compressors / 5-gallon air tank
Chassis: Back-halved with 4x2-inch 0.250 wall box tube / relocated gas tank
BY: Zack Airth of Limitless Fabrication, of Las Vegas
Shaved hood squirters, antenna, door and tailgate handles, tailgate, and body seams / molded Toyota back window, with rear quarter panels from an Isuzu Amigo / 2-1/2-inch body drop / Amigo front fenders / Rodeo headlights / bed floor raised 5-1/2 inches / aftermarket clear taillights
BY: Fisher's Autobody, of Las Vegas / Ron Nelson of Lower Level Fabrication, of Las Vegas
Cadillac White Pearl / PPG Navy Blue and Baby Blue
BY: Fisher's Autobody
Modified Isuzu Rodeo bucket seats and door panels, wrapped in tan vinyl and green plaid / tan vinyl stretched over a custom-made dash and center console / navy-blue carpet / tan tweed headliner / Dakota Digital gauge cluster
BY: Steve Platt of Platinum Car Audio, of Las Vegas
Kenwood Excelon CD receiver / two Boston Acoustics Rally Series 6.5 components / Precision Power three-channel amplifier / one Rockford Fosgate 10-inch Punch subwoofer
BY: Steve Platt of Platinum Car Audio
Freaks of Nature