Brad Blair is one of the many die-hard mini-truckers who take up residence in the Midwest. An inhabitant of Seymour, Indiana, Brad spends most of his free time going to custom-truck shows and keeping the rain off of his '94 Toyota Hilux. Brad has been addicted to the mini-truckin' lifestyle since the first day he saw a mini laid out on the ground. A few years later, he decided that he'd build his own version of a custom truck with a style that is all its own.
The first thing that had to be taken care of was the distance between the ground and the frame that all stock trucks possess. To remedy this situation, Gerry Rose cut the frame on each side of the A-arms and raised it up a total of 2 inches. Combined with the custom 'bag mounts, Firestone 'bags, and drop spindles, this truck lays out harder than a Ronnie Lott tackle. The rear suspension was made adjustable using a Pete & Jake's triangulated four-link and another pair of Firestone 'bags. With a brand-new set of 17x7-inch Enkei wheels and the 'Yota aired out on the ground, Brad's truck was that much closer to becoming the mini-truck he was after.
The fresh frame-laying stance gave Brad the confidence to drag the streets of Seymour unashamed as he plotted the next phase of the buildup. When Brad decided to go the whole 9 yards and paint his truck, he went in a direction that would stir up a lot of talk. However, before painting the old-school mini with the Hot Rod Black and Merlot Red, the truck received the royal shave treatment. Everything from the door handles to the gas door and taillights was stripped and shaved smooth. To complement the truck's smooth appearance, a custom roll pan and Caddy taillights were welded in place before the final bodywork and paint were finished. After the truck's exterior was completely remade to match Eric's vision, it was time to do the same thing to the interior.
Brad was the man for the job when it came to redoing the interior. He yanked out the dash, the stock seats, and the rest of the interior, and went to town. With the dash as the center point setting the tone for the theme of the truck, Brad spent numerous hours hand-forming the new dash to look just like a coffin, with side handles and painted to match the exterior of the truck. The stock bench was pulled in favor of Paseo buckets and wrapped in black tweed. The headliner received the same tweed, and the gray carpet was replaced with black to keep the feeling going. To add that last final piece to the interior, the door panels were covered in black silk, so when you sit inside you feel as though you are taking that last ride. You will also notice that there is no stereo anywhere to be found, emphasizing the theme further. There are no speakers in the doors and no amps or subs stuffed behind the seats. It really adds to the ambience as you sit there in silence driving down the highway. Talk about a mind job.
Barely completed in time to be at the Import and Truck Bash of 2006, the truck has been making the Southern shows and gathering attention everywhere it shows up. With its hammered stance and clean lines, it proves that a little can go a long way.
Brad Blair / Seymour, Indiana
'94 Toyota Hilux
2.4L 22R-E SOHC FI I-4 / manual five-speed transmission / K&N FIPK
BY: Brad Blair
Front & Rear: 17x7-inch Enkei Showguns with painted lip
Front & Rear: Kumho 205/40R17 ECSTA MX
Front: 2-inch drop spindles / modified A-arms / Firestone 255 air springs
Rear: Pete & Jake's four-link / Firestone 224 air spring
Accessories: 3/8-inch Air Ride Technologies manual air valves / 3/8-inch DOT air line / two 3-gallon air tanks / two Firestone 337 air compressors
Chassis: Z'd frame / step notch / custom transmission crossmember / rear frame modified for the stock gas tank
BY: Gerry Rose in Cincinnati, Ohio
Shaved door handles, gas door, antenna, air vents and body seams on back of cab, inner door-lock pulls, tailgate, taillights, tailgate handle, wiper cowl / molded roll pan and Cadillac taillights / 3-1/2-inch body drop / 4x4 front fenders, bumper, and valance / custom-made 34x23-inch sliding rag top
BY: Brad Blair / Josh Bryant / Josh Alvey
PPG Hot Hues Hot Rod Black / DuPont '07 Ford Merlot Red / House of Kolor Red Metalflake
BY: Josh Bryant
Toyota Paseo bucket seats covered in black tweed / custom-made casket dash and center console, color-matched to exterior / door panels wrapped in black silk / black loop carpet / custom-made chain steering wheel and shifter / Faze temp and fuel gauges
BY: Brad Blair
Josh Bryant for the long hours spent in getting the body straight and painting it, Brad's wife, Beth, for the support and kindness letting him spend two months in the garage working on his truck