By Joe Roberts @jrobertsjourno
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Videographer / director: Brad Moore
Producer: Joe Roberts, Ruby Coote
Editor: Marcus Cooper
Steve Francis, 48, has customised nearly every aspect of his truck, lowering the body by three and a half inches, adding six 20-inch rims, packing in a V8 engine, and adding suicide doors.
The vehicle started life as a plain 1989 Isuzu LS SpaceCab, but since being transformed has won numerous competitions and taken home multiple trophies at car shows.
Steve, who owns his own towing company, told Barcroft Media: “When you get that feeling of winning a ‘best of show’, a ‘best overall’, that is such an incredible feeling and adrenaline rush.
“I always like to be different and I don't like to leave anything stock. It’s taken me about 20 years to customise the truck to the state it’s in now, so the man-hours on this vehicle are totally epic.”
Steve made the decision to “be different” and elongate his SpaceCab after visiting car shows and realising he needed a way to really stand out among the competition.
He added: “I started going to car shows and that's when everything really escalated because it’s a lot harder to get noticed and to be different.
“So I always struggled with that, but I think I have managed to do that now with having eight wheels on a truck.”
To accommodate the increased length of his triple-axel creation, Steve had to cut up three different truck beds to combine them into one.
That 11ft-long truck bed now houses two 32-inch LCD screens, while airbag suspension allows Steve to alter the ride height of the vehicle as he drives.
Steve explained the genesis of his mini truck voyage: “I actually got into mini trucks by running into some guys one night.
“They were out cruising around McDonald’s and I was cruising around in a ‘66 GMC suburban and just kind of got the itch to buy a mini truck.”
Prior to adding the extra length, Steve’s first step was dropping the body of the truck by three and a half inches, and adding custom wheels.
Various custom shops then helped Steve change almost everything on the original Isuzu and make it stand out, while some of the work was done by the man himself.
“I did have a lot of help customising the truck,” said Steve. “It’s been to lot of different shops, a lot of different people have had their hands on it.”
He used a 350ci Chevy engine to power his creation, but says, since he only uses the vehicle for fun and car shows, he’s never pushed it beyond 50mph.
“The actual drive of it, it rides really good because it is on six airbags and it’s like driving a limo so you have to remember that you got a lot swinging around behind you,” Steve explained.
Up front, the original headlights were traded for the lights from a Rodeo truck, while the bumper and grill were swapped out for more modern versions from a newer Isuzu.
The SpaceCab also had a body line that ran the full length of the truck, but this was shaved and filled in to create a sleeker overall appearance.
Inside, there are four 12-inch JBL subwoofers, two JBL audio amps, and an alpine head unit with a custom dash and leather/suede-wrapped seats.
Rear-view mirrors from a Harley Davidson motorcycle and a custom, two-tone paint job finish the whole package off.
When asked how much this incredible amount of work has cost him, Steve is choosing to remain silent.
“I am gonna plead the fifth on that one,” he said. “I don't think my wife would really be happy with what it cost me to build this truck.”
With this amount of intense customisation, it’s no wonder Steve’s truck has garnered attention from car magazines and won numerous trophies at car shows.
“Driving this thing is awesome because you get all the looks and the stares, the waves, the thumbs ups. It definitely gets a lot of attention,” added Steve.
“The most memorable thing is being pulled over by the police. I thought I was actually doing something wrong, I didn’t know what.
“But the officer was actually a car guy and just wanted to get a close-up by the truck and take some pictures with it.”