Custom 1990 Mazda B2200 - Plane Jane
A Mini-Trucker's Salute
This truck is definitely a little different than the average mini-truck built today. In fact the story behind Plane Jane and us here at MT is an interesting one in itself. The owner, Shawn Arcidino, wanted to keep the truck under tight wraps, so we didn't even get wind of it until right before we headed off to Showfest. We got a few snapshot photos and a little write-up and didn't put too much thought into the truck after that, and it got filed away in the Readers' Rides section - what a mistake that was! Showfest is such a huge show that we only came upon Plane Jane in person the very last day. Unfortunately, we missed the mark and a few other magazines beat us to the punch, so we waited patiently for our turn to have a crack at her. But this truck is not just a one- or two-feature mini, so we decided to go all-out and show our readers what really went into the buildup of this truck. Instead of hearing us ramble on and on about how cool both the truck and the owner are, we wanted you to hear the story behind the scenes and the reason for the build straight from the source. So, enjoy the story of all that is Plane Jane told by none other than Shawn "Sick Side" Arcidino. For more information or to get some killer custom work done, call Sick Side Kustoms at (816) 525-4421.
If you have attended any major national shows this year, you have probably seen a truck in the distance that might not strike you as something that necessarily belongs in a mini-truck show, something you would expect to see at an air show or behind a chain-link fence on a federal military base. Intrigued, you probably walked over to the truck and after a good long walk around her (if you paid close enough attention) you might have noticed that you were looking at one of the most heartfelt trucks that you've ever laid your eyes on. I am not just saying that because she's mine. I'm saying that because this one particular truck is Plane Jane, the P-51 Mazda truck built with my own two hands as owner and operator of Sick Side Kustoms. This truck was built and is driven with all my heart and soul, solidly committed to supporting the troops, the men and women of the Armed Forces (most of them are around our age), and showing them the best way I can how much they are appreciated. While we are kicked back checking out rides and wondering where the next party is, they are half a world away fighting for the rights we are enjoying, even as you're reading this magazine. Take a second and think about all the freedoms you enjoy each and every single day, and if you ever get a chance thank the troops in your own special way for those very same freedoms. Many of you reading this who I've met this show season, and even those I haven't, know someone overseas fighting or who died to fight for our country. And for them, I give the one gift I can, Plane Jane. This truck will honor all who have died and all who still stand to serve this great country of ours. Well, thanks for checking out my truck and don't forget to support the troops.
Shawn Arcidino, Sick Side Kustoms
History of Big, Beautiful Doll
With the call sign 472218, it was coded WZ-I while flown in the European Theatre of Operations and carried the nose art of Big, Beautiful Doll. This P-51 was flown by Colonel John Landers (pictured here), commanding officer of the 78th Fighter Group, who flew a series of P-38s and P-51s, all of which were named Big, Beautiful Doll. Col. Landers finished the war with 14.5 victories, plus 20 additional ground victories. It's interesting to note that the top row of Kill markings are for six Japanese aircraft, and Col. Landers flew in both the PTO and ETO and was an ACE in both.
Just like every nut and bolt on Plane Jane, the interior was built the way it was for a reason. The inside of the P-51 Mustangs (used in WWII) were in no way, shape, or form pretty; they were bare and not really all that comfortable. The structure in those planes were much like the confines that we find in our trucks once we have stripped all the stuff that can catch fire during our buildups. It's just painted olive drab green with some dirt here and there. So for that reason, the interior of Plane Jane is afforded no comforts, such as a stereo or carpet. In the center of the two custom bomber seats, which were made of metal in the actual planes to keep the pilots awake during long missions, you will find a small canvas military-surplus bag. This houses the battery and serves as a good place to rest your arm. The dash is very simple, with not much of the cool gadgetry of today, just gauges that you would find on your early-day airplane. The gear selector is comprised of the leftover parts of a lawn mower, but to me, it looked like the yoke of a plane. The gauges in the dash and every other part in the truck were actually never attached to a P-51. I had to replicate all of that on my own.
Moving to the front, you will notice a flat bumper and an unusual grille shell. The reason there is no fancy grille or shiny bumper is because P-51s were not made for looks, but for speed and war. The radiator that cools Jane down on long missions to the gas station for smokes and more gas is suspended by two 2-inch straps, a detail that would not be on a P-51 because it was air-cooled. I just thought it looked cool and industrial. If you take a bullet in this one, unstrap it, put a new one on, and come right back, ready for action before your motor cools.
The paintjob mimics that of the Big, Beautiful Doll (one of the 151 P-51 flying survivors still around today), call number WZ I 472218. I had to put my own spin on it, and what better way than with a thin, well-endowed blonde named Plane Jane? Besides, I wanted people to ask what kind of truck I had and I could say a "plane" old Mazda. Every rivet on the bed was done by hand, just like the old times. The rest were painted on. I love to see people touch them and expect them to be real. The markings were changed from WZ-I to P-51 out of the respect for people and history. I also had to change the Kill signs so I wouldn't offend anyone.
The front engine bay was designed from pictures that I received from the Revell model of the plane that I purchased from Wally World (Wal-Mart, in case you didn't know). The pictures were simple structure shapes, so I was able get a good idea of the composition. The flat-black piece of American steel in the center is King of all Hotrods, a small-block Chevrolet, all-black just like the planes. I wrapped all the hoses and wires with cloth bandage tape and used a product I am sure your mom has right now, Old English wood cleaner, to give it that worn-out look and even put part numbers on them. The motor shoots out its "go-gases" through the pipes that run directly under my floor (which also serves as my heater in the winter) to six exhaust pipes that exit right behind the door. Many have stated that the exhaust sounds much like an early airplane. That was just luck!
The most common details that people miss are listed here so you can find them for yourself at the next show. Take notes. There's oil coming out of the bullet hole on the passenger side of the bed. There is a pinup picture on the driver-side B-pillar that I got from a swap meet. I weathered it and had my girl sign it for good luck, just like the pilots used to do. As for the door locks inside the cockpit, you just push the locks down to open the door. There's an actual bullet hole that I shot with my 9mm on the passenger-side floor with airbrushed smoke trails. The soot on the hood has been swiped to look as if it will smear when you wipe it down. The dirt that is coming out of the cracks of the plane's seams is not rust; P-51s were made of aluminum, so they didn't rust. The screw chips on the Kill signs were painted to actually look like the paint has been chipped during access to a maintenance hatch. Check out Plane Jane's feet closely. Now, I know what you're thinking, Why look at her feet when there is so much more of her to see? When you're done with your little pervert session, look down at her toes - they're backwards. We did that just to see who pays attention and to bust all the foot-fetish people. The cooler in the bed between the louvered panels lifts up, and you can fill it with all sorts of goodies. In the paint on the sides of the truck, you can see the wing lines and the gun barrels.