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1978 Toyota Hilux - Happy Camper

You don’t have to be rich to have a badass truck.

John Mata Jr.
Mar 10, 2014
Photographers: Aaron Long
“It amazes me how many people think we just drag the camper around. It does have wheels.” These few words spoken by Jared Smith say a lot about the attention he’s been bombarded with after debuting his rolling living quarters back in 2011. “Ten days before Camp ’N’ Drag, I pulled out the bad front wall from the camper, replaced the wood, and slapped an A/C unit in it. The floors were cut, it was two-linked and ready to roll the Friday night of the show. We rolled in and I aired it down and I heard someone yell ‘it’s an effing camper!’ It was a mob scene after that, and yes, we really do camp in it.”
But before the camper came along, there was just a guy and his old truck. Jared bought it back in 2008 but shortly after ripping into it, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He went though surgery, and 30 days later he started a hellish five weeks worth of treatment. “I drove the Yota to treatments as much as I could, even during the tough times. No matter how sh*tty I felt, this truck always brought a smile to my face. Once I recovered from the treatment, some friends and I got back to work on truck. We ’bagged the front and it was back on the road.” Sounds like the perfect ending to a tough battle, right? Nope.
Photo 2/9   |   1978 Toyota Hilux Trailer Camp
“Three days later, a big ass SUV backed into the truck and totaled it. I was heartbroken. Luckily, my dad had an old Toyota Hilux just sitting out in the woods. It was that very truck that I remember riding around in when I was in middle school, and the reason why I bought my very own just like it to begin with. So I scavenged the frame and rear end from it, cut 10 inches from my bed, and beat the cabside back out before we layed the chassis out and jammed the truck back together.” To get it fully road worthy and where Jared wanted it, he zeroed in on a few mods and worked on them each winter. “It took a while doing it that way, but I got to drive it more building it like this.”
While the Toyota Hilux and camper combo isn’t the average road warrior’s idea of smooth sailing, it is to Jared. “I like seeing people build what they like. It took a while before people started respecting my kind of build, but I built them for myself in the first place. You don’t have to be rich to have a badass truck. A few simple mods and classic lines will win every time.”
Special Thanks From Owner
“This feature is dedicated to my dad, Bill Smith. I miss you everyday. Thanks to my mom Judy for being one of my biggest fans and helping me out with everything. My beautiful girlfriend Steph, she has stood by my side through good and bad times, my brother Brian, my buddies Chris Messer and Chris Herman, Donnie & Ginger Babb from GaugeStore.com, Sean & Kristi French from SoLo Films, all my friends in No Regrets, Brandy Booton, Mike McKinney and Aaron Long from Dedicated Photography, Darrin Howard, John & Jessica Mata, and everyone else that helps promote me and my shop, HouseofMinitrucks.com.”
Photo 3/9   |   1978 Toyota Hilux Wheels

The Lowdown - 1978 Toyota Hilux
Owner: Jared Smith; Terre Haute, IN
Club Affiliation: No Regrets Prospect
Rolling Attire
Wheels: Ford Ranger steelies with caps & rings
Tires: 185/75/14 (front) / 205/75/14 (rear)
Chassis Modifications
Suspension (front): Firestone 2500 ’bags
Suspension (rear): Firestone 2600 ’bags, two-link
Control Arms: OEM stepped 1.125 inches
Shocks: Parts pile specials
Compressor(s): Viair 450
Air/Hydro Accessories: 7-gallon tank with 3/8-inch Easystreet valves
Frame Mods: 2-inch Z in front, custom X-members
Performed By: House of Minitrucks
Body Modifications
Shaved: Nothing
Bodydrop: Nope
Suicide Doors: Negative
Misc.: Bed floor air ride and suspension access panel
Performed By: House of Minitrucks
Brand & Colors: Mostly stock
Misc.: Hand-painted Bob Ross style “happy trees” on hood
Performed By: Hood by “Eastwood” circa 1985, House of Minitrucks, and Terre Haute Auto Paint
Seats: Custom split-bottom bench
Performed By: House of Minitrucks
Head Unit: Pioneer
Mids & Highs: Boston Acoustics
Amplifiers: Rockford Fosgate
Misc.: Kickpanels by Brandy Booton
Performed By: House of Minitrucks
Engine: 20R
Intake: Weber carb ported and machined to fit
Header/Exhaust: 2-inch pipe, parts pile muffler
Transmission: Five-speed
Performed By: House of Minitrucks



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