Photos Courtesy of Owners, Juan Trevino and John Llado
Rediscovering Iconic Trucks for Better or Worse
Ever wonder where a certain iconic truck disappeared to? Maybe it was the truck that got you into the custom truck scene or inspired your own build. The stories are as varied as the trucks themselves: some ended tragically, some end in rebirth.
When selling a well-known truck it can be tough to get away from its reputation. Many new owners teardown and rebuild the truck with their own vision, and the original condition is lost to the ages, but the truck lives on. Many enjoy or destroy the truck once it’s in their possession. And in the case of a few, accidents take iconic trucks to their grave, with no chance of resurrection.
The happier endings include original owners and builders who keep them for decades in pristine condition. Sure, they might not show their trucks often, but they take care of them with pride. Some well-known trucks have passed through several owners’ hands before landing with someone who appreciates their workmanship and history. These people have spent time and money fixing and restoring the trucks back to their original condition. And they continue to show them off for future generations to enjoy.
This month is the 12th anniversary of Street Trucks magazine, so we decided to take a look back through custom truck history to find some well-known trucks and their journey after they hit the shows and pages. Here are a couple of iconic trucks and their stories, including tragedy, trials, travels and tender loving care. We hope to continue this series so if you have any photos and information on where well-known trucks have ended up, please send them in to Jmulligan@beckett.com (Jmulligan null@null beckett NULL.com).
2000 Chevrolet S-10
Original Owner: Brian Hale, Los Alamitos, CA
Current Owner: Dustin Ford, Knoxville, TN
Flakenstein graced the cover of Street Trucks back in 2004. It helped start the trend of retro-inspired kustom trucks. The insane paint job, including bass boat metal flake, flames, pinstriping and airbrush work set the truck apart. Brian Hale kept it for several years before selling it off back east. Recently, it landed in the hands of Dustin Ford of Knoxville, Tennessee, who is the fourth owner. Dustin works at Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop and has always loved the truck. It had some road rash and minor damage when he got it due to years of driving. With the help of Bobby Alloway, Dustin matched the candy colors and repaired the damage. He also thoroughly cleaned and even bleached the white interior to bring it up to snuff. Dustin has a few other custom creations under his belt, and he has no plans to let go of the iconic Flakenstein S-10 any time soon.
1994 Chevrolet C/K
Original Owner: Mitch Henderson, Dallas, TX
Current Owner: Heaven
Not all tales have happy endings. Many a good truck has been brought down in its prime. Such is the case of Mitch Henderson’s C/K named Cha-Ching. The truck graced our cover in 2004 after a few different versions had already hit the scene. It was reworked once again with a redone stereo and interior. On its way to Scrapin’ the Coast in 2004, gas fumes ignited because of a loose battery cable arching inside of the enclosed trailer. It engulfed the truck in flames in the middle of Bunkee, Louisiana. After the destruction, Mitch took a break from trucks and built a few high-class street rods and cars before returning to the truck world with a clean C-10 dubbed Sexual Chocolate that you will soon be seeing right here in Street Trucks.
1984 Chevrolet C-10
Original Owner: Eric “Huggy Bear” Hancock, Tulsa, OK
Current Owner: Chad Isbell, Fort Worth, TX
One of the few crew cab square body C-10s built, it did not start life that way. Huggy’s Hauler, which graced the cover of Street Trucks back in 2005, used to be a regular cab short bed before it was stretched. Eric Hancock, who bought the stretched truck after a wreck, worked at Billet Accessories Direct, and it showed thanks to the many custom, one-off billet pieces throughout the truck. The truck is now in the hands of Chad Isbell, who picked it up when it was in its original configuration, although a little worse for wear. He traded second owner Jeff Jenkins for his ’98 dually. Some of the bodywork began to crack and small dents showed evidence of driving. The center console was cracked as well, but the most apparent damage was around the billet roof strips where water would collect. The rear suicide doors caused a dent and chip from being opened too hard and quickly on the side of the cab. Chad plans to use the truck as a base for a new build, making it his own in the process, taking the blue paint and turning it root beer brown and adding copper-plated accessories, Raceline wheels and an interior redo.
Billy Bob’s Bucket
Owner: Chris “Billy Bob” Mull, Aberdeen, WA
More than 10 years ago a peach Mazda hit the scene like a northern storm. Chris “Billy Bob” Mull, a custom painter by trade, finished his Mazda that was subsequently featured in several magazines. The body-dropped mini was fit with custom graphics and a detailed interior. A complete transformation was soon in the works and the roof was cut off, effectively turning the Mazda into a convertible. Then the peach paint morphed into flat black with flames, and the billets were traded for old school steelies and white walls. Most never knew that the two trucks were actually one and the same. Chris sold the truck after a few years, and recently he got a call from someone who inquiring if he would like to buy it back. He did, and then proceeded to completely tear it down since it was already in the process of being redone anyway. Chris has heard many stories about the truck being the reason someone got into mini-trucks or decided to buy a Mazda. Chris’ dad even has a tattoo of the truck on his chest! The Mazda is currently under the knife while Chris works to create its fourth incarnation.
1984 Toyota Pickup
Original Owner: Nathan Hall
Current Owner: Michael Cope, Hemet, CA
Another well-known mini-truck from back in the day, TUKLUGS was a detailed Toyota pickup with a hint of racing heritage. It lay dormant for a few years, rarely seeing shows. A little more than two years ago Michael Cope nearly picked up this well-known truck for just a $1, after the crew at the shop where it had been sitting for years couldn’t get a hold of the owner and were about to put a lien on it. He ended up getting it nearly as cheap as the original owner Nathan Hall paid for it when it was stock. When Nathan finished it more than a decade ago, he ended up selling it and it passed through a few hands. Once it was in Michael’s care, he set about restoring it and getting it running right with help from Joel and Adam at Extreme Audio & Kustoms. They replaced the bad wires and fuses and updated the mini with an AVS switchbox, VIAIR compressors, a new radio and a Kinetik power cell. Michael plans to update the air suspension so that it is more road-worthy, but he intends to keep the rest OG.
1998 Chevrolet S-10
Original Owner: Vince “Ghetto Bob” Incalcaterra, Las Vegas, NV
Current Owner: Andrew Hutsell, Visalia, CA
Andrew Hutsell picked up Ghetto Bob’s old S-10, dubbed Aftermath, it was built more than a decade ago. The mini was laid flat out and completed with a trick paint job by Ryan Evans of Kaotic Kustoms. Andrew simply planned to rework the air system, fix some of the damage on the paint and enjoy the truck. He didn’t want a patch job from someone else, so he got in contact with Ryan about redoing or fixing the paint on the truck. Ryan put him in touch with Ghetto Bob. Both were excited that someone was restoring the truck to prime condition.
Of course, as Andrew got into the truck build, it soon was apparent that it would need much more work since some of the previous owners had done too much dragging and damaged the frame. Large dents and neglected paint also contributed to the decision to tear the truck apart completely and build the icon back up from the ground.
The frame is being reworked, and repairs with an eye to more modern components for safety and reliability, based off CAD-designed parts, are being executed. Ryan will lay down the same set of graphics he did many years ago once the truck is ready. After that, Andrew plans to bring the icon back into the limelight.
1991 Mazda B2600i
Owner: Ruben Salaza, Placentia, CA
One of the popular trends in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s was lowrider-inspired mini-trucks. The younger crowd in East LA and Orange County grew up around both cultures, and the trucks they built showed at events that catered to both scenes. Ruben Salazar grew up attending cruise nights at places such as Angelo’s in Fullerton. He soon got his hands on a ‘91 Mazda B2600i, a popular mini-truck in that era, and quickly customized it, complete with black and white TV in the dash, Alpine deck and full sound system. The lowrider elements included button tuck swivel seats, mirrors and wires. One of the last shows for Ruben’s truck was a transition period, not only in the mini-truck world, but in Ruben’s as well. In 1994 the Los Angeles Lowrider Super Show was held at the LA Coliseum. This was the final Super Show held in Los Angeles because of fights after the event. Ruben slowly retired his Mazda to the garage as his family grew. He now spends a lot of his time with his family at softball games instead of car shows. When we took these photos, it was the first time the truck had been outside of the garage in more than three years, but it still looks the same as it did nearly two decades earlier.
1984 Toyota 4×4
Owner: Robbie Gonzales, Long Beach, CA
Robbie Gonzales, like many people back in the ‘80s, was a hair metal rocker. He also loved mini-trucks and purchased a then brand-new ‘84 Toyota. He built his lifted Toyota, Rockin’ It, in 1987, finishing it in 1989 as a member of High Country 4x4s of South Bay. It officially ran the show circuit from 1989 for three years until 1992, complete with matching wagon and Odyssey! The large tires, light bar and granite paint scheme scream the dominant style of decades ago, along with the Rancho shocks and multi-colored engine wiring and lines.
Since then, only the owner and a few select family members and friends have laid eyes on the lifted creation because it sits at Robbie’s home in Long Beach, untouched and unchanged since 1992. If need be, he can give it a quick detail and it’s ready to rock the show scene once again more than two decades later! The only signs of age are slight surface rust on the classic, near dozen Rancho shocks.
Fester’s Garage, Phoenix, AZ
There is currently no mini-truck museum. The closest thing would be the garage belonging to Uncle Fester in Phoenix. He has become an avid collector of famous mini-trucks throughout the years, starting with one of the most well known, Last Look. Painstaking effort was taken to restore the famous paintwork and graphics on the Toyota to bring it back to like-new condition. But Fester did not stop there. He also picked up Time Machine, another graphic-laden, iconic Toyota. Recently, he added Joe Millionaire, the pink and orange Toyota pickup from Joe Bernardo, to the collection, as well as a few that Fester can call his own.