Scott Rupp is no miracle-worker. He's just an ordinary guy who was smart enough to learn some useful skills when he had the chance and apply them to his hobby of making trucks low and clean. Scott first picked up on welding and fabrication via a past job building equipment for oil rigs. Later on, he worked for friend Cory Scott of Kustom Werx Autobody and added painting and bodywork to his skill set.
With the determination to his put mind to fabrication and finish it, Scott has had his hand in several projects. One of his greatest accomplishments is completing a fully custom '64 Datsun, which graced the pages of our Nov. '07 issue. After building that unique mini-truck, Scott had pretty much outdone himself and was left with nothing else to work on. With all the free time on his hands, he needed a new project.
He found his next build sitting in his friend Radar's backyard. It was a truck that had seen better days: It was trashed and had been traded around for quite some time. Radar had acquired it to use as a donor for parts on his project Toyota, and it was left with just a chassis, cab, blown motor, and a smashed front end.
Even though the pickup was in rough shape, Scott had a vision of salvaging what was left to make himself a budget cruiser. After forking over $250, he took possession and trailered the Toyota to his garage. He immediately got going on step-notching the rear of the frame and mocking up a triangulated four-link. An Internet search netted all of the airbag parts needed to complete the job for under $800. During the same search, Scott also found a set of four 19-inch Giovanna Sabina wheels for $660 and a set of 35-series Wanli tires for only $300.
Two weeks after the truck was purchased, it was laying frame on Scott's garage floor and ready for more. It was at this time Scott found out that the original motor was inoperable and needed to be swapped out for something that ran. Through another online search, he found a rebuilt replacement engine for $1,500. Once he dropped in the motor, Scott started to fix the wrecked front end by straightening the core support, replacing all of the sheetmetal pieces, and attaching a 4Runner chrome grille and bumper. He also bought a bed from a junkyard, which brought the total to $500 for completing the body.
Next, Scott shaved the fuel-door lock, tailgate handle, and bed floor. He then bodyworked and painted the truck right in his home garage. After the paint was color-sanded and buffed to a shine, all that was left was the interior. This involved getting a dash, seats, carpet, and floor mats. With all that in, Scott made a console of wood and fiberglass to hold two JL Audio 8-inch subwoofers. Since the cab of this truck is small, a custom rack was made to hold the stereo amplifiers over the back glass. To finish it off, Scott added a few billet pieces to make every small detail shine.
From start to finish, it took approximately 90 days to complete this truck, and it only cost Scott around $7,000 for all parts and materials. He was able to do most of the work in his own garage, and that saved him big-time. Although we don't necessarily recommend everyone just jump into working on a truck by himself or herself, Scott's finished ride is proof that with enough know-how it's not impossible to build a show-worthy truck for less.