An Old-School Truck with New-School Attributes
In 1991, Benjamin Smith’s dad, Jerry, bought his very first Mitsubishi Mighty Max right off the car hauler at the local Mitsubishi dealership. Just like most of us, he simply needed a reliable truck to drive back and forth to work each day. Originally, he started modifying his new truck, dubbed “Daddy’s Toy,” by adding a few customizations, which led to attending local car shows with Ben.
In 1998 Jerry was at a point in his life where he couldn’t get in or out of his truck due to health reasons, so he went to a local car lot and tried to trade it off. After not accepting the $1,500 offer, he took the truck back home and offered it to his son Ben for a great price. Without hesitation, Ben went down to the local bank and borrowed the money to buy the truck, which is now known as “Family Tradition.”
THE ART DESIGN ON THIS TRUCK IS SO AMAZING YOU REALLY NEED TO SEE IT WITH YOUR OWN EYES. TO GIVE YOU AN OVERVIEW OF THE PAINT, IT CONSISTS OF DISTRESSED METAL, SKULLS AND WOOD GRAIN.
To change things up a bit, Ben added a chrome front bumper, chrome grille, a full Stillen Body Kit and a Mopar 6-pack hood scoop, all painted to match. The truck stayed in this shape for 27 years, but eventually, it was time for a rebuild. Ben started by ‘bagging the truck all the way around using 2,500-pound airbags upfront, and 2,600-pound bags in the rear, along with two Viair 480 compressors and a 5-gallon air tank.
When the time came for a full custom paint job, he used a recommended painter named Andy Hawks to tear down the truck and lay some paint. The art design on this truck is so amazing you really need to see it with your own eyes. To give you an overview of the paint, it consists of distressed metal, skulls and wood grain. Putting it over the top, he painted the three generations of the Smith family in the bed. Adding family tradition above them and painting the air tank to look like a “Jerry’s Distillery” whiskey barrel was the perfect final touch. Just take a look at the inside of the bed floor and sides they’re painted wood grain. Impressive! By far the most attention-getting thing on the truck is Ben’s son Riley painted on the bedside. During the three years the truck was at the paint shop, Ben bought a set of Iron Ace hot rod bomber seats, built a console and built a speaker box that Andy painted to match the truck.
Once the truck came back from paint, Ben began assembly. Starting with the interior, Ben installed a speaker box that pushes through the bed and holds two Memphis 12-inch subs pushed by two Pioneer 760w amps and a Pioneer DVD head unit. The door panels and seat cushions were covered in Volkswagen plaid vinyl from Germany by Roger Jarvis. Everything else in the interior was painted to match the rest of the truck. For a little added touch, blue billet handles replace the plastic handles on the doors.
Finishing up the truck, Ben added a full phantom billet grille housing the Halo headlights on the front, installed the skull motorcycle mirrors, polished up the 20×8 Pacer wheels. The engine is left mostly stock with an APC cold air intake and everything under the hood is painted to match the outside of the truck. “Family Tradition” is a truck with new-school qualities mixed with old-school attributes.
Ben would like to thank his girlfriend, Crystal Webster, for all her help, time, and for putting up with his crankiness on finishing it. He’d also like to thank Richard Thacker for hauling it home from the paint shop; Robert Tate for his help; his son, Riley, for putting up with daddy being so busy getting back together the week leading up to the first show;, his parents, Jerry and Sheila, for selling it to him in 1998; and to Andy Hawks for everything he did in painting the truck.