Custom 1994 Isuzu Pup - Daily Driven

Not Trailer Ridden

Joe Greeves
Aug 1, 2007
Photographers: Joe Greeves
Photo 2/8   |   OWNER: Mike Rusnak RIDE: '94 Isuzu Pup LOCATION: Lancaster, SC
Mike Alexander Rusnak (yes his full name is Michael Alexander Rusnak!), we could talk about how cool his name is, but we'll spare you and go straight to the truck. Mike is from Lancaster, South Carolina, and used to describe himself as a sport-compact fan, until the day he got a close look at a friend's Isuzu Pickup. It was love at first sight-and just that quick-he knew he had to have one. After a concerted search, he found a '94 NOPI parts delivery truck on e-Bay and bought it. The $800 truck was bone-stock and Mike's ultimate goal was to create a cool daily driver.
Before any customizing could begin, Mike's first step was to get the truck ready for the daily commute. The motor was knocking and needed help, but as a student in collision repair in Greenville Technical College, Mike was able to accomplish much of the rebuild. He used a Haynes manual, the school's machine shop, and the help of some very talented instructors along the way. Once the truck was reliable transportation, Mike began modifying it, lowering it with dropped spindles, C-notched it, and added a triangulated four-link. The 'bags front and back are powered by a York engine-driven compressor that feeds a 12-gallon reserve tank.
Body mods began by eliminating the door handles, gas door, antenna, corner lights, and hood squirters. Amigo fenders were used up front and the tailgate was shaved smooth with the roll pan molded in. The bed holds a pair of custom-painted tanks, the forward reserve air tank and the rear-mounted 11-gallon gas tank. Mike's friends, Jamie Faires and Rob Rogers, sprayed on the House of Kolor Tangelo Pearl and Sikkens Black paint.
The interior is another tribute to customizing on a budget. The bright orange, color-matched vinyl was found in a boat shop and was the perfect choice for the Tangelo Pearl and black exterior. A black band separates driver and passenger seats on the bench seat, retained in order to provide room for Mike's little boy. The dash and doors were smoothed, primed, and painted Tangelo Pearl on top and black on the bottom. An Aiwa head unit entertains with a pair of 10-inch JL Audio subs in a custom enclosure behind the seats and Directed Audio mids and highs hidden from view, under the dash. Check out the shifter with brass knuckles on the end, something that Mike patterned after the Jockey shifters on a motorcycle.
Mike drives his completed truck all week long and now collects trophies on the weekends, too. When it's time to detail the truck for shows, he gets a lot of help from his wife Crystal and even his young son Alex. Today, his newly completed trophy-magnet hauls 'em home after every car show, but it is still his daily driver. What's next for this budget trophy magnet? Future plans include a body-drop, suicide doors, and a V-8 underneath the hood. We can't wait to see what the future holds for this already-clean Pup.
The Lowdown

Rolling Attire
Wheels: Centerline 20x8-inch
Tires: Contitech 225/35R20
Photo 6/8   |   1994 Isuzu Pup air Suspension Components
Chassis Modifications
Suspension type: Air
Rear suspension: Triangulated four-link
Bag size: Front: Firestone 2500
Rear: Airlift 13-inch high lift bags
Spindles: DJM 2-inch dropped
Air accessories: Drop Shocks, 1/2-inch E-Air valves, York engine-driven compressor, and a 12-gallon reserve tank
Frame mods: C-Notch gas tank, 11-gallon fuel tank in the bed
Performed by: Owner Mike Rusnak and Greg Williams,
City/state: Lancaster, SC
Body Modifications
Shaved: Tailgate, door handles, antenna, third brake light, gas door, bed seams, hood squirters, and a flush-mounted third brake light
Front end: Shaved corners, Amigo fenders, and old-style grille and bumper
Rear end: Roll pan molded in, tailgate was smoothed
Exterior bolt-ons: Maltese Cross chrome mirrors
Bed: Bed seams were filled, full-width sheetmetal bridge, painted-to-match fuel tank and reserve air tank
Performed by: Owner Mike Rusnak
City/state: Lancaster, SC
Brand and colors: House of Kolor Tangelo Pearl and Sikkens Black
Style: Two-tone with silver pinstriping
Performed by: Owner Mike Rusnak, Jamie Faires, and Rob Rogers
City/state: Rockhill, SC
Photo 7/8   |   1994 Isuzu Pup custom Interior
Seats: Stock bench seat was recovered with the head rests eliminated
Material: Orange and black vinyl
Dash: Painted two-tone to match the exterior
Door panels: Painted two-tone to match the exterior
Flooring: Black carpeting
Headliner: Black tweed
Misc.: Custom brass knuckle shifter, and a Billet steering wheel
Performed by: Mike Rusnak and Tommy Griggs
City/state: Rockhill, SC
Head unit: Aiwa
Amplifiers: Xtreme 450 Watt 4-Channel amplifier
Speakers: Directed Audio components, two JL Audio 10-inch subs behind the seats
Performed by: Mike Rusnak and Drew Young
City/state: Rockhill, SC
Photo 8/8   |   1994 Isuzu Pup engine Compartment
Engine: 2.3L four-cylinder motor
Detail work: V-8 is scheduled for the near future
Special Thanks (from owner):
To my wife Crystal, my son Alex, my mom and dad, Greg Williams, Jason Perdue, Drew Young, Blake Older, Jaime Faires, Rob Rogers, Burns Chevrolet, So-Low CC, FBI CC and everyone else who may have helped me in anyway.



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