I originally bought this truck a few weeks ago [for less than a pair of women’s Louboutins!…but I get a truck, not just a pair of heels that you still have to walk your own ass around in!] with the practical application of using it to move my furniture and motorcycle projects on the flat bed. However, this is quickly becoming a project in itself so I thought I’d begin recording the progress. It all started with just a minor thing that I intended to replace [as the usual case with me] which was the instrument cluster that had a faulty fuel gauge. I began innocently by removing some bits and pieces to remove the existing cluster [which involved removing the entire dashboard on these older models] but before you know it, I’ve stripped the entire interior!
The vehicle is a 1988 RN85 Toyota Hilux. The body is in a ‘rustic’ state with a lot of ‘character’ but the chassis and especially the motor was what I paid for in essence. The legendary bulletproof 22R motor was reconditioned a while back by one of the previous owners so mechanically, it was great. The motor has a reputation for being so hardcore that there are regular stories about it running past 1,000,000km on the odometer. It is also a truck that was and still is highly prized by Africans for the vehicle’s durability in their harsh conditions. Anyway, this truck is as bare bones as you can get with very little electronics other than the usual radio, dials, lights etc. I’ve opted to remove the sound system that the previous owner haphazardly installed. Speaking of comforts in life, this vehicle is definitely not one for soft bums!
Much like my bobber project, eBay will most probably be my best friend. I’ve already sourced the instrument cluster. Next is to clean up the interior to see what surprises lie underneath all that gunk. I’ve vacuumed up nearly 3 decades worth of sand and dirt from the floor [including the inevitable coins here and there]. I’m presently going through and cleaning up the steel cockpit of residue and carpet glue with paint thinner and acetone. I’ve already uncovered a couple of horrifying rust areas including one that corroded straight through the floor so the passenger will be able to see the road while I’m driving around – definitely some welding required.
I’ve decided to call the truck a ‘Ratlux’ because the approach I have in mind will be inspired by the Rat bike and Rat rod movement. Much like the bobber project, I’d like to see how ‘cost effective’ I can be to achieve something custom. More about the bobber project here http://gkarchitects.com.au/blog/bobber-project.
I’ll post more progress as it happens.