The Best of the Best: Builds That Any Gearhead Will Appreciate

•June 9, 2009 • Leave a Comment

hummer from scratch

A couple of posts ago, I made an entire rant about things that irritate me in the automotive world.  Although it was fun, and a relief to write, I realize that perhaps I came off as being a little callus.  Therefore, with the help of the guys, I have taken the time to compile some threads that they consider to be the best of the best, something that everyone will enjoy, even if you don’t particularly like the genre.  I feel like there is something that everyone can take away from any build in any genre if built correctly, deserving more praise than they already receive.  Their skills span the automotive world and perhaps everyone who reads this will learn a little something about one another.  I thought about giving a short description of each build next to each link, but honestly, I think that it should be a surprise, making you actually take a gander at some threads that may be a bit out of your comfort zone.  Without further ado, here you go:

(Hours Later I assume)  Did you have fun?  Learn anything new?  If you did, feel free to discuss them as to encourage others to do the same.  Also, if you have any other links that people just have to check out, please feel free to post them up as well. 

But beyond certain threads, there are just some really cool sites that are just filled with important and invaluable information, such as,, and Besides some nice build threads, these sites have great technical information regarding shop builds, tools, and metal art.  Dfitty from also suggests, a site dedicated to rat rods.

To see where I got most of these threads and builds, check out my thread

Threads like these not only foster new ideas amongst different automotive communities, but they push the limits of our abilities and imaginations. 

Until next time, keep your heads held high and your rides low,

Justin Wynn


You Don’t Need It… Trust Me.

•May 28, 2009 • 1 Comment
Thanks Jordan (GET LOW)

Thanks Jordan (GET LOW)

 Have you ever taken a step back to really look at everything you’ve torn off from car or truck during its build? Everything from the motor to the interior can be discarded despite its condition. This all leads to one very important question: Do I really need anything from my stock vehicle?
          Sure, the shell of the vehicle and its basic shape usually escape our clutches but what about everything else? I ask this question daily as I continue progress on my own “little” project. All of those nice, factory options, such as power steering, have found their way to the community dumpster behind the garage. Hell, I think the only thing untouched on my truck is…well…actually, I think everything has been modified in some way or another.
            Therefore, after pondering this question of stock components and their necessity, I’ve compiled a list of a few things that you really don’t need on your ride. Although I know a lot you will be shocked at this list, just remember that its one less thing to break down on your ride.

garbage1. The stock suspension. With the availability of aftermarket adjustable suspensions, there is no reason for any signs of your stock suspension to exist. If anything, at least modify the stock components to eliminate further stockness, whether this is the frame or even your control arms. Your main goal is to prove those automotive engineers wrong and put their many years of college to shame with your fabrication skills.

2. Air conditioning and Heating. Oh sure, when it’s either really hot or really cold, having the ability to adjust the temperature in your ride can be a wonderful feature. But I disagree. Not only will this be a character building lesson, it can do wonders to clean up that messy engine bay. Whether it’s necessary or not, I recommend introducing your blower box to the curb.

3. Power anything. This category includes anything from power steering to windows to seats. Now I know that many of you out there running big rims are screaming, “I need power steering to help with turning!!” To that I say, suck it up. That extra turning at the steering wheel will help develop the forearm muscles, therefore constituting driving your truck for your workout. In most cases, power anything means that you just have that much more wiring to rip out in the process. More than likely, if your ride turns over after being down for months, your last concern is the power adjustable seats.

Although this list can expand or decrease depending on the person, I can tell you for certain that my ride will never have any of these features. Not only will they never fit on my truck ever again, but it never had any of them anyway.

So until next month, keeps your heads high and your rides low,

Justin Wynn

Protecting Your Ride….and Your Bank Account

•May 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment


Thanks FBI

Thanks FBI

It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon and you’re cruisin’ down the strip. All of a sudden you hear that horrible sound of wasted money. You check your rearview mirror to discover one of the scariest sights to the auto enthusiast: your local law enforcement. Nothing against the police, but let’s face it. The officers of the law can be your worst enemy when it comes to your ride. Citations and tickets anywhere from suspension to body modifications can severly hamper your bank account and depending on the mood of the officer, they can seriously ruin your day.

Although many of the modifications we do aren’t exactly legal, there are things you can do to keep your ride somewhat law-abiding and on the road. For those of you with an adjustable suspension, be careful hittin’ them switches on the road. In many states, playing with your suspension on the road can be considered reckless driving and can lead to multiple tickets for suspension and frame modifications. This also depends on the police officer as well but in short, watch your back before you play with your ride.

Modifying or shaving your factory taillights is a common modification among many enthusiasts. However, your recent efforts may not sit too well with the law. In modifying your taillights, remember that they have to be on the rear of the vehicle and clearly visible when lit up. The height of your taillights can also be an issue as well especially for those with bodydropped vehicles. In Ohio, for example, the taillights of all vehicles must be at least 16 inches off the ground in order to be fully visible according to the law. Try to keep these things in mind before you spend hours of work perfecting your newest addition.

One thing that cops will always get you for is the license plate and its light. I have been pulled over many times for not having a license plate light or having my plate mounted in the rear window. In most states, the license plate must be mounted at the rear of the vehicle with a light and it must be clearly visible. For those who have frenched plates, be forewarned that diagonally frenched plates can lead to a ticket in some states, as I discovered while driving through Indiana one evening, leaving me with a wonderful $75 ticket…

Although these are just basic things to watch out for, they can save you hundreds of dollars in fines in the long run. Little things, like a license plate light, can lead to the officer finding countless other violations. In the end, a burnt out headlight can unfortunately lead to the towing of your ride.

Until next time, keep your head high and your ride low.

Justin Wynn

Just Stop It: My Global Campaign to End Failure

•May 26, 2009 • 1 Comment

awesome rustOver the past couple of years, I have been steadily drinking a good amount of hatoraide while enjoying my early morning perusing of the truck forums.  It seems as if everyday someone posts something new that either looks terrible or performs horribly.  I can’t even go to a show anymore without simply staring at all of the garbage and just trying to figure out what in the hell these guys were thinking.  It’s gotten so bad that I find myself spending more time staring at crap than quality work or even trying to find flaws in said “quality” work.

                Why do I do this?   I’m not really sure anymore.  Perhaps I am just too picky or expect too much from us truckers.  But honestly if that’s the case, I don’t find that being a bad thing.  I expect a lot from my fellow brethren because I expect a lot out of myself.  We should all be trying to push ourselves to that next level, to strive to make our ride as unique as possible.  Isn’t that the point?

                However, don’t construe my statement by thinking that I mean you can sacrifice quality in order to accomplish such lofty goals as uniqueness.  There are always a couple of trucks that look super nice or crazy from about 50 feet away or in a magazine.   But when you get to see them in person, a feeling of terrible comes over you as you see the booger welds on the notch or the monoleaf setup.  Garbage like that shouldn’t even be in a magazine, let alone be admired by anyone.  As much as I hate seeing 50 billion s10s at a show with their three links, I at least take satisfaction in knowing that it is a quality piece of work with actual forethought and good welding. 

                In honor of all of the excuses and failures that I have witnessed over the years, here are my top 7 pet peeves in the automotive world:


  1.  Crappy Link Setups –One of the truly important areas within the truck world is their suspension setup, whether it be for a 4×4 or a lowered vehicle.  All of these people using parts from Tractor Supply to build link setups or using mono-leaf setups just need to really give it up.  Even if you have just a standard four link setup  I was going to use a two link as my example but I just can’t condone their use ever) that’s  properly installed.  It may not be the fanciest setup ever, but at least it will be reliable.
  2. “It’s Just Temporary”-Really?  Why do you want to redo your work over and over again?  Believe me, I’ve redone plenty of things on my truck and it is much worse the second time around.  Even if you bring out crap work that has a big sign on it that says, “IT’S JUST TEMPORARY,” it’s still not enough.  Just leave it at home and do it right the first time.
  3. “I just had this laying around”-I don’t care how much all thread you had lying around your garage, you can’t just use that to mount a gas tank or anything else for that matter.  It may “save” you some money, but to just throw crap together just because it “works” is just dumb.
  4. “I don’t have a lot of money, it’s all I could afford”-I completely understand being poor.  For god sakes I am writer and a college student, the epitome of being poor.  However, it still isn’t an excuse for producing crap.  If you have to give up eating lunch, going to movies, books, or doing whatever in order to get the right materials to build your ride properly then do it.  If you can’t afford it right now, then wait till you can to do it.  Not only will you be happier with the final product, you will be a leading example of how people can fix this terrible economy we have.
  5. “I was trying to get it done before a show”-Please see number 2, and remember that we aren’t looking at your work, merely wondering if the owner was blind when he was welding it.
  6. “I’m still learning or practicing”-Here is a thought:  Learn on something that won’t endanger the lives of others.  If you have to take some practice learning to weld, how to properly setup an air suspension or anything else for that matter, then do it.  There is no excuse for crappy welding or design (although usually the two go hand-in-hand).
  7. “Hater” Threads-Although these thread do not pop up very often, if you use the word “Hater” or some form of it in your title, such as “Here you go haters,” in reference to the fact that a lot of people “hate” on other people’s rides on a forum, 99% of the time your thread will then be full of fail as well.  Just stop it.

             I have had a plan for years of making a business card that says, “Just Stop It,” and placing it on those special vehicles who need a little bit of extra help.  It would even list my cell phone number for a quick response so that you could immediately begin changing the big ball of terrible you call your ride.

 I can be an asshole, I know.  But every once in awhile, someone has to step up and tell it like it is.  Quality runs supreme in my eyes no matter what genre the vehicle is in.  Want to earn my respect? Do it right the first time, every time.

 Until next time, keep your heads held high and your rides low.

 Justin Wynn

Going Green: Just A Thought

•May 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

v8Two weeks ago, a local high school was having a cruise-in.  About a hundred participants of all sorts, from hot rods to imports to muscle cars, gathered on a Saturday afternoon to just hang out and show off what they’ve built while the usual oldies music blared in the background.  Suddenly, the music stopped and the announcer tells all of the Chevy guys to rev their engines.  Being that most of the Chevy guys in the audience had either a 350 or something much bigger, many of which were just running open headers, the roar from about 40 Chevy V8’s was like music to the ears.

                 After about a minute or two of stomping gas pedals , the announcer then requested that the Ford guys do the same, their motors being of about the same stature as the Chevy guys (I’m not going to pick favorites here).  Yet another minute or two goes by before the announcer then asks everyone to rev their engines all at once.  Now, as a car guy, it was somewhat of a beautiful sight to see all of these different makes and models joining together to make this symphony of horsepower.

                 However, another part of me was somewhat disturbed by this.  Having done a small amount of environmental reporting in the past, I am aware of the state of the air quality in Cincinnati, Ohio, and I can confidently say that it is just awful.  To say that car guys are a major factor in the quality of air within their area would just be a careless statement.  But at the same time, having these little revving events certainly aren’t helping anything either.

                For some reason or another, many car guys are just resistant to embracing new technology that can not only allow our vehicles to perform how we want them to but are environmentally friendly as well.  Now before everyone clicks the little red “X” in the upper right hand corner of their screen, just hear me out.  I am not saying that there isn’t a place for the gas guzzling carbureted V8s that we all know and love for they have been a staple of not only the automotive industry for most of vehicular history, but they have provided a reliable, relatively inexpensive way to provide a tremendous amount of power that requires very little wiring, something that many car guys avoid like the plague.  These motors have or are being put into every vehicle possible, from Nissan 240sx’s to hot rods to motorcycles. 

                But there are alternatives as well.  Fuel injection in general has really made it possible for newer versions of the older carbureted V8s, such as the LS1, to get generally good gas mileage while still being able to get good power numbers.  These motors are being used more and more in all areas of the custom world, especially as the technology grows older and their availability increases.  However, there are a lot of wiring issues that can arise with messing with fuel injection, especially when putting in a vehicle that did not come equipped with it originally.

truck world

truck world

In the past couple of years, the true potential of the diesel engine has really been utilized in all areas automotive, from off road to racing.  These guys are getting stupid high numbers of torque and horsepower while also getting 35+ miles to the gallon.  For a normal carbureted V8 to do this, they would barely be getting miles to the gallon period.  The Cummins swap in particular has very few wires involved to actually make it run, making it ideal for those who shun from any wiring tasks.  Plus, with the ability to make biodiesel in your own garage, you could have the best of everything in one loud, torque monster of a motor.

Settin' Trendz

Settin' Trendz


Hybrid technology is yet another avenue that hasn’t really been experimented with much in the custom world.  There have been exceptions though.  Several s10s have been designed in the past to run solely on electric but haven’t been the greatest thing to look at.  However, a new hot rod has been built by Settin’ trendz that uses hybrid technology and is one of the sexiest cars I’ve seen in a long time.  You can find more pictures here to truly see the amount of work and time that they invested in this piece of art (  The amount of engineering that went into every piece of this car is just ridiculous and seems similar to a lot of work done by Max at BioMax Kustomz (, who does amazing suspension and chassis design for those unaware of his awesome.  This car has been able to capture the look and feel of your classic hot rod while still utilizing the latest innovation in the “green” technology craze.

                 But there are serious problems with all three of these options however.  For those on a budget with their build, which I imagine is nearly every automotive enthusiast, none of these options are exactly cheap.  Cummins diesel swaps usually run about $2,000-$3,000 just the motor and transmission, not to mention the cost of diesel performance parts, which  are still rather high due to the technology still being relatively new.  Fuel injection can be a nightmare for those who hate wiring and a complete LS1 swap still costs over $5,000, especially by the time they have their wiring harness converted and all of the little odds and ends are paid for to just make it run, not to mention tuning, which is usually 100 to 150 an hour.  Hybrid technology cannot only be bulky but extremely expensive as well while also affecting your vehicle’s performance standards as well.  For us minitruckers, the gas mileage our stock engines get is usually sufficient enough for many people.  “I pondered the idea of a small Isuzu turbodiesel, and running biodiesel in it, “said Dngrous Dime, from   “But then I looked at the cost to benefits ratio and ****it.  I get a consistent 24mpg with my V6 with a lead foot, and that’s with it throwing a couple codes.”               

Beyond cost, there is also an apathy barrier, which exists amongst many people, including car enthusiasts, regarding air pollution and the “green” idea in general.  Comments such as “I enjoy my 12 mpgs” to “**** going green with that bullshit” are common, although justified to the extent that our past time alone is not a major factor in air quality. 

Am I one to point fingers and judge?  Of course not.  I love the rumble of a V8 as much as the next guy and am building a 400+hp motor myself, although it’s a four cylinder.  If anything, a discussion of various engine options just opens up a whole different world of possibilities for people to explore.  As the technology increases and more people embrace them, costs will hopefully come down as well so that the ordinary guy can do these swaps as well.


Until next time, keep your heads high and your rides low,


Justin Wynn

Minitruckers: Saving the Economy and Ruining Relationships Since The Late 70’s

•May 7, 2009 • 1 Comment

marty2marty1This is Marty’s Sonoma GT nicknamed “The Syborg.”  If you have never seen it, please do yourself a favor and just peruse through his thread of pure awesome (  Marty has gone out of his way to build a truck that is beyond standards.  He has a twin turbo syclone motor with over 800hp.  Everything is custom and has been modified in some shape or another to make his truck truly immaculate.  I, along with anyone else who can appreciate the amount of work and time that has been put into a project of such magnitude, have been drooling over this truck for months waiting to see this thing in person, and to finally hear this massive motor roar.  It is truly a work of art.

But with such attention to detail and quality found in every piece of this truck (every bolt is polished stainless!) comes a great price.  This truck will be well into the six figures when completed, almost unthinkable in the minitruck world, let alone amongst s10 owners.  How did he afford all of this you may ask?  After countless questions regarding cost, Marty simply said, “I sell packaging during the day. I’ve save a boat load of money by not drinking, hanging out in bars and wasting it on things i don’t really need.  I fill my spare time with my hobby’s of Mountain biking, working on cars, my garage, and my family.  I also spend way to much time surfing the BB’s at night, plus i had / have a second job selling parts – which helps.”

Sacrifice is something that almost every car nut has or is going through at some point in their life.  Even building the simplest of street machines can cost thousands of dollars, all of which generally depends on the platform you start with.  If you can’t do any of the work yourself or just don’t have the time, then that increases the price dramatically.  However, as most of us know, even these little projects usually snowball into costing way more than you had actually intended.  For Marty, his years of saving and scrimping cash in order to build his badass truck have truly been paying off as he is building arguably the best s10 ever, at least in my eyes. 

 Although the finished product is usually well worth the time and effort, our bank accounts and significant others may disagree wholeheartedly.  Although it’s pretty obvious that a cash committment is necessary to build anything custom, there are other sacrifices that most people tend to neglect.  For a lot of us, our vehicles may not only go through a lot of different facelifts during its life with us, but through several different relationships as well.  It’s no secret that building a custom car or truck can be a big strain on a relationship.  Although it is true that whoever you are dating should be fully aware of the time, committment, and cash that we give to our first love, they may not fully grasp what that actually means.  When you say, “I’ll be in the garage,” that doesn’t generally mean you will be out there for 20 or 30 minutes, it means you will probably be out there all day, preferably without interruption.  There is a certain joy in doing what we do that can be rather relaxing, despite all of the frustrations that occur from time to time, and it is difficult to relate this to others.  For me, my truck has actually helped me become who I am today, keeping me away from drugs and doing other nonsense because I was always investing my money in my truck.  It’s helped me through college as well, providing me with a nice release from the pressures of work and school.  But once again, this is hard to communicate to others who are not involved in the custom world.  So, when you want to stay at home on the weekends or avoid spending money on nice things for the house so you can afford new rims, it tends to make relationships a little hard to manage, unless you are lucky enough to find one that actually supports your habits.

Now, I’m going to make two very different statements:  one will make you think highly of one another and one will probably make you hate me.  Let’s start with the happy news.  Out of the 47 people who answered my question regarding sacrifice, almost all of them agreed that our committment and obsession is also not worth losing friends or family over.  I’ve heard the stories of people being extremely irresponsible and racking up a lot of debt to build their ride, which will put stress on any type of relationship, whether that be with family or friends.  However, it is extremely comforting to hear these guys realizing what is really important in life and not letting ourselves be consumed entirely by this lifestyle, like that of a drug addict or alcoholic.  I truly believe that the automotive lifestyle should be a family-friendly scene, a place where a father and son can bond over building something together or to just spend time together at a show.  Family and friends are important and you would probably not be where you are today in life without them.

Now for the hate.  When people respond that they never sacrifice anything at all but build shitty or just mediocre rides, I somewhat question you in general.  I realize that we do what we do because its fun but secretly it is still a competition, whether you are trying to win trophies or not.  We are always trying to out do one another and to bring that bar just that much higher for the next guy.  Usually, some sort of sacrifice is needed to accomplish those goals in order to really step up your game.  If you are tired of seeing the same mediocre stuff at shows, then maybe its time we all take a step back to see where we can cut back ourselves to make our rides that much better.  Sure, it may piss off your significant other because you aren’t buying them  stuff left or right and yeah it sucks not having the nicest TV or most fashionable clothes, but maybe it would be good for you to live without for awhile as well.  If it was easy, then everyone would do it.

Oh, for all you rich people who don’t have to sacrifice anything just because you are loaded and still build show stoppers……..


You suck :).

Just kidding…kind of..

Until next time, keep your head high and your rides low.

Justin Wynn

Could Be Worse

•April 24, 2009 • 1 Comment
Picture by Jayme in S-Clusive

Picture by Jayme in S-Clusive

Sometimes I sit back and just stare at my truck and wonder, “Why?”  Now I know why I cut the crap out of it and why I’ve gone to the extremes that I have to make everything as nice as possible.  But after working on my truck for about 10 years now, having seriously been modifying it for the last three years, and being constantly disappointed every show season because I am yet again left without a ride, I have to wonder if it’s really worth the trouble and heartbreak.

Perhaps my first mistake was starting with a Chevy S10.  Granted, the real reason I am building this particular truck is because it chose me persay.  For my 16th birthday, I received a set of keys from my parents, the plastic worn on the handle making the small GM symbol barely recognizable.  Racing upstairs into the garage, I found an 1987 Chevy s10, complete with faded, grey paint and a cracked, multicolor sticker falling off the sides. The body and motor were in great condition, having only 36,000 original miles, impressive in1999.  It didn’t matter that it came with absolutely no options whatsoever, and I mean nothing.  With no power steering, no ABS, no power anything, a 2.5L Iron Duke and a busted AM/FM radio, it was begging to be cut up. 

Back in the day, it would have been the perfect platform.  Sure there were lots of s10s roaming the shows back then but a lot of the real craziness within our scene, such as running 22s and 24s on a mini, hadn’t even been considered yet.  Hell, I remember when 18s were kind of big and 20s were an extremely rare sight on a mini in general.  I’m sure that there a lot of you who can remember way back in the beginning when guys were running 15″ Hammers with teal paint, but I’m only 24 so that doesn’t quite click.  Anyways, as most of us know, the scene has changed dramatically in the past 10 years in every aspect, from wheel size to suspension and chassis design.  The only thing that hasn’t changed, really it’s gotten worse, is the dominance of the s10 at every show.  There are so many of these dam trucks around that it makes building one almost boring, especially when all of your friends are building rides that are a little out of the box, such as Mike’s ’69 Bronco.  I’ve got to stare at a full frame everyday I walk into my garage and grumble as I continue to toil away on my s10.

The only fun of building a s10 anymore is making it a challenge.  Now I know this sounds like an oxymoron just because they make everything under the sun for these trucks, including an entire bolt on backhalf, but hear me out.  Because there are so many of these trucks roaming the shows, trying to build one that actually stands out is a challenge in itself.  I’ve tried to make my truck as crazy as possible, incorporating everything I could ever want in it.  This being said, it has taken me over three years to finally get to the point where it actually resembles a truck again. 

Does it suck?  More than you will ever know.  But in the end, I know that I will actually have a different s10.  So if you ever walk around a show and notice a lot of your specific model, use it as motivation to make your own ride that much better.  Or at least think to yourself, “Well, at least I don’t drive an s10.”

Till next time, keep your heads high and rides low.

Justin Wynn