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  • Single & Muli-Color Custom Paint Jobs - Top 10 Paint Jobs of All Time

Single & Muli-Color Custom Paint Jobs - Top 10 Paint Jobs of All Time

A Stroll Down Memory Lane

Mike Alexander
Jun 1, 2007
Photographers: MT Staff
To really set our paint and body special off, we decided to go back in time and do some digging to uncover a history piece that every minitrucker out there can appreciate. For the old-skool guys, this is a pleasant stroll down memory lane. For the new comers, this is a true history piece of where minitruckin' came from and an up-close look at some of the originators of the past. We came up with a Top 10 list, in order of appearance, of some of the baddest paintjobs-and trucks for that matter-to ever grace the pages of Mini Truckin'. So sit back, and enjoy just what minitruckin' is all about!
Photo 2/16   |   OWNER: Derrick Jhagroo TRUCK NAME: Wrapped With Envy, aka 24 Karat CruiserMODEL: '85 Nissan King Cab MAGAZINE: MT Cover September 1991
When it comes to candy, flake, and murals, minitrucks weren't the originators. The lowrider scene and old '50s and '60s customs paved the way for a new era of flashy paint techniques. Back in 1991, Derrick Jhagroo came out with Wrapped With Envy, which was on the cover Sept. 1991 as the 24 Karat Cruiser. This was the third and final rendition for Derrick, and he went all out with wild candy multi-flake paint, insane mods, and a smoothed and murraled rear frame. Yes, more than 17 years ago.

Now, just imagine back in 1990 to 1991 how crazy this paintjob and truck were! In fact, it's the very first truck for our Top 10, and it pretty much inspired an entire new paint scene in the minitruckin' world. Craig Fraser, from Air Syndicate, even picked this truck as his favorite paintjob that he didn't work on. And as a muralist, it motivated Fraser with his own work.
Photo 3/16   |   OWNER: Kyle "K-Daddy" GannTRUCK NAME: Bad 2 The BonePAINTERS: Kyle Gann, Dion Kutis (Kal Koncepts), and Jay WernerMODEL: '84 Nissan 720 MAGAZINE: Truckin' Dec. 1992
Kyle "K-Daddy" Gann of Bakersfield, California, cruised his insane Nissan 720, dubbed Bad 2 The Bone, to the Bon Ton Show in 1992, and it cleaned up and took home six Best Of awards. Not only was this 720 way ahead of it's time with it's crazy paint work, painted fiberglass dash, and bed floor, but it sparked a whole new era in minitruckin'.

Sadly, shortly thereafter, the truck was totaled when a drunk driver collided into the tow vehicle. Kyle wishes that he had more time to show and enjoy the truck. He told us his favorite paintjob on a mini that inspired him was Neon Nissan, which was painted by Pete "Hot Dog" Finlan, who is still a major icon in the custom paint industry. Kyle also mentioned that one of his favorite recent builds is Josh Freeman's homebuilt Slick Silver Toyota, which was our 2003 Mini Truck of the Year.
Photo 4/16   |   OWNER: Tommy LeyendeckerTRUCK NAME: Something Wicked This Way ComesPAINTERS: Kal Koncepts & Air Syndicate: \Dion Guliano, Craig Fraser, and Kyle Gann MODEL: Mazda Cab Plus MAGAZINE: MT Cover June 1996
Many of the trucks in our Top 10 were built more than once. Something Wicked This Way Comes had three total builds, and the most wild one came with Tommy Leyendecker's tenure. Like the previous owners, Tommy knew he could count on the talents of Kal Koncepts and Air Syndicate to personalize his new ride after it had been hit by a drunk driver. Unfortunatly, it seems that happened a lot in those days.

This Mazda was one of the first minitrucks featured where the crew of Kal Koncepts teamed up with Air Syndicate and went crazy to outdo anything previously accomplished. Wanting to carry the graphics into the interior, they built a fiberglass dash and entirely smooth fiberglass door panels, and carried the paintjob through the jambs by covering the smooth door panels. Tommy made sure his version of the Mazda would live up to the previous owner's builds, and to keep Something Wicked This Way Comes as one of SoCal's finest cruisers.
Photo 5/16   |   OWNER: Dion GulianoTRUCK NAME: Last LookPAINTERS: Kal Koncepts and Air Syndicate: Dion Guliano, Craig Fraser, Kyle "K-Daddy" Gann, and Ron Beam's pinstripingMODEL: '86 Toyota Pickup MAGAZINE: MT Cover December 1996
Dion Guliano, owner of Kal Koncepts, decided to lay it on the line and go for the gold. Working together with some of the greatest painters and builders of our time from Kal Koncepts and Air Syndicate; Dion, Craig Fraser, and K-Daddy-with help from countless others-built possibly one of the most innovative minitrucks of all time. It is certainly one of the best paintjobs. The mural on the hood, airbrushed by Craig Fraser, represents the story of the actual build and everyone who played a role. Pictured in the hood mural include: Dion, Fraser, K-Daddy, Shaun Carlson, who was a former MT Staffer; Courtney "Tito" Halowell, who was a former MT Staffer; Big Guy-don't ever call him Big Eye-and others.

Last Look has become a timeless minitruckin' icon and will always be remembered! It was the first minitruck to ever be used in a House of Kolor ad, and it thus ran in Custom Rodder. To this date, Kal Koncepts and Air Syndicate are responsible for over 54 covers and over 350 magazine features worldwide.
Photo 6/16   |   OWNER: Sean DelTRUCK NAME: Side Show, aka Ahead Of YouPAINTERS: Kolor Shoppe: Erik Coleman and Jay Werner MODEL: '94 Toyota PickupMAGAZINE: MT Cover November 1997
Sean Dell was a mere 17 years old when Side Show graced the cover of MT in 1997. He started working on the truck at age 14, and slowly grew up around some of the biggest names in the minitruckin' scene. Sean was employed at Crazy Customs, by Tom McMurdo, and they teamed up with Nathan Hall and Brian Jendro to really put the hurtin' on Side Show.

Of course, the insane personality of this truck comes from the amazing 27 shade House of Kolor paintjob, which was laid down at the Kolor Shoppe, by Erik Coleman and Jay Werner. Being one of the first complete split-side paintjobs is the obvious reason this truck was dubbed Side Show. It only took five-months-almost 400 hours-locked in the paint booth to produce one of our Top 10 baddest paintjobs of all time.

In case you can't tell by the insane graphics, this month's cover truck, Relaxed Taco, was also painted by Erik Coleman and Jay Werner at the Kolor Shoppe. Erik's favorite paintjob of all time that someone else had painted is Last Look, and his favorite paintjob in the last five years is our June 2006 cover truck, Way Smoother, owned by Lee and Elena Farmer, and painted by Sean Burnley at Bodyshot.
Photo 7/16   |   OWNER: Kakishita Yoshiaki TRUCK NAME: Foreign X ChangePAINTERS: Doug Starbuck: Starside DesignMODEL: '93 Mazda B2600iMAGAZINE: MT Cover December 2000
What Top 10 paint story would be complete without an insanely clean, single color paintjob, and of course, Doug Starbuck? Doug was enlisted by MIC to help build one of the world's cleanest, yet supper-modded minitrucks of its time.

The list of modifications is too extensive to list, but the truck made it into the paint hall of fame because of MIC's and Starbuck's ability to go above and beyond. The bodywork is flawless, and the House of Kolor's Purple Passion looks as smooth as glass. Not only is the exterior smoothed to perfection, but Doug also painted the entire bed-underneath-and gave the same three-stage treatment of purple to the smoothed chassis.

This history-making Mazda built a bridge between two countries, and not only took Best of Show at Cal Truck Jam, USA, but once it was shipped back to the owner in Japan, it made its way onto the cover of the first Truck Trends magazine which helped to shape a whole new truck scene in Japan.
Photo 8/16   |   OWNER: Robbie KayTRUCK NAME: West Coast DeluxePAINTERS: Pete "Hot Dog" Finlan: Hot Dog DesignsMODEL: '94 Mitsubishi Mighty Max MAGAZINE: MT Cover November 2001
This Brand-X built Mitsu might surprise some that it made it into the Top 10, because not many people actually got to see this immaculate Mitsu in person. Yes, it's beautiful in pictures, but the Pete Finlan paintjob is just something that needs to be seen to believe. Every square inch of this truck was cared for as if Brain Jendro, the builder and owner of Brand X Customs, was the truck's owner, himself. The four year build took time and patience between the long distance relationship of the owner and the builder, and the constant changes that made their way into the game plan. But hey, that's what minitruckin' is all about, right? Constantly pushing the limits so the mods that are done one year might just need to be redone the next.

The only sad thing about this Mitsu is that not long after it was delivered to Robbie, in North Carolina, it was taken to a couple shows and then seems like it fell off of the face of the earth. This truck would have made a much bigger splash in the scene, had it stuck around a little longer. If anyone knows of the whereabouts of this truck, please email us at And, that goes for all of the trucks featured in this story, too.
Photo 9/16   |   OWNER: Mike FinneganTRUCK NAME: Burnt TacoPAINTERS: Frank Rechlin at Platinum KonceptzMODEL: '97 Toyota Tacoma MAGAZINE: MT Cover January 2002
Burnt Taco is a truck to remember, not because of the bright Prosche Rivera Blue Paint, or Finnegan's die-hard minitrucker spirit; but because this truck set out to accomplish one goal and ended up doing so much more. Finnegan recalled the truck's build: "The paintjob started out as a simple repair job: to fix a spot on the hood where the heat from the turbocharged 4 banger had blistered the paint. Frank Rechlin offered to repair the damage with a simple tribal graphic scheme to cover up that spot. A couple of days after I delivered the truck to him, he asked if he could do something a little different to my truck. He wasn't real specific, but asked if I could scrape up some cash and a truck load of House of Kolor paint. Frank went completely insane with the paintjob. He actually painted one side of the truck twice because he wasn't happy with how it looked. He worked on my truck for months, and never told me exactly what he was up to, he only asked me if I was alright with his color selections. When I finally saw the completed paintjob I was floored. He put 72 different colors in the paint-job without it looking like HOK puked on my truck. The driver's side is ugly to some people-and I think that's why I like it so much. The passenger side makes the truck look fast, so of course, I love that side as well."
Photo 10/16   |   OWNER: Charles "The Kid" ArmstrongTRUCK NAME: Time MachinePAINTERS: Auto Art by The Kid: Charles Armstrong, Chris Brankel, Shane Hill, and Brad HoukMODEL: '92 Toyota MAGAZINE: MT Cover January 2003
Charles Armstrong owns a reputable paint shop and built this truck himself, with the help from his crew, so what better way to learn about the truck and "The Kid's" inspiration than straight from the source? Charles told us that Wrapped With Envy was probably the first minitruck paintjob that he took notice of. He also mentioned that Kal Koncepts and Air Syndicate did a lot of badass paintjobs and inspired a lot of other airbrush artists.

Charles pretty much named many of our Top 10 paintjobs such as, "Bad to the Bone, I remember looking at that paintjob and drooling. Last Look, definitely was one of the best paintjobs ever. Side Show, the paintjob that was different on each side, was really badass too. So hard to choose a favorite."

As far as the Time Machine goes, Charles wanted to do a paintjob that was in your face, but different. Yes, it has wild tribal style stripes, but he went with colors that were unique. The Kid had almost 2 miles of tape and about 700 hours painting the Time Machine. When he did the 3-D work on the tonnaeu cover, there wasn't anything like it. None of the image sticks up above the surface of the tonnaeu. He used a sandblaster to achieve this, something he kept secret for a few years. Charles stated, "I have to say the best thing about my paintjob is how many people I have met because of it. It's an honor to have people come up to me at shows and tell me that my truck, and more importantly, my paintjob inspired them with their ride. I hope crazy, well executed, colorful paintjobs are always around. Thanks for including me in your Top 10 Paintjobs. It's an honor, and very much appreciated."
Photo 11/16   |   OWNER: Brian HaleTRUCK NAME: FlakensteinPAINTERS: Jared Crutchfield of Classic TraditionsMODEL: '00 Chevy S-10
Brian Hale, from sunny SoCal, always admired the old '50s and '60s customs. When he was building his version of the perfect minitruck, that's the route he took. As soon as he teamed up with Jared Crutchfield and his crew at Classic Traditions Kustom Paintshop, in Garden Grove, it was all downhill from there.

When they started laying out the amazing candy and flake paintjob, Jared began with a House of Kolor Kandy Apple Red over a Silver basecoat. Then, the flames were laid out by using Pagan Gold Kandy and a Zenith Gold base with a Yellow-Lime Chameleon metal flake. The late '50's style hot-rod flames were always pinstriped in white, and so the pinstripe on Brian's truck was done in the same fashion; a white hand stripe, courtesy of Bob Iverson. The cab's rear pillars were airbrushed by Dan Schultz, and feature 1950's style pinup girls.

The interior was also done with the same paint colors to match the outside. Classic Traditions did all of the paintwork on the interior by using the same colors, and they even stuck with the metal flake to finish it off perfectly. Being one of the first minitrucks to truly pull off an old-skool feel for his dime, Hale's truck brought back a popular style that can stick around for years to come.
Honorable Mentions

When thinking of the coolest paintjobs in MT History, there's a lot of trucks that come to mind. Here are some of the other trucks that came up in our discussions and easily are some of the nicest paintjobs around. Again, these are in order of the date when each one was published.



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