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Car design | 22.04.2014 - 13:39

How to Turn Your Truck into a Mean Machine

A look at easy upgrades to give your truck the street cred it deserves.

Although driving a truck already lends a fair amount of street cred, there are ways of turning your mild mannered four-wheeler into a mega mean machine.

The first step is the strategy

The most important part of upgrading the image of any truck or bakkie is to have a definite plan. Sticking any old embellishment on the body just makes for a messy appearance. Spend some time thinking about what image you want your truck to convey; naturally this must suit your style. Are you an outdoorsman? Do you appreciate sleek sophistication?

There are a lot of subtle ways to change a truck’s appearance without too much fuss. Firstly let’s look at the height. Lift kits are just blocks that fit between the axle and leaf springs. This lifts the rear end of a truck and spacers for the coil springs raise the front. Lifting gives any truck a more aggressive look without changing anything else about it.

Alternatively you can drop the suspension, which lends some low-riding attitude, but also hampers off-road ability.

Adding a bit of bling

Think about which rims and tyres suit your image. These can be expensive so you want to be sure you’re making the right choice. Spinners look good on a styling SUV, but might seem out of place on a Land Rover. For serious rough terrain you might want some extra wide mud tires and sturdy spokes.

For some extra shine consider chrome fixtures like bumpers, grill guards and bed rails. You can even add some fog lights to your front bumper and roof for serious notoriety.

Style it up

Tinted windows give instant attitude to any truck. Just be mindful of what local laws say about how dark you can go. Remember, most truck or bakkie canopies also have windows, so tint them the same shade as the cab’s, or the overall effect might look strange.

Customised paint jobs can look really good or just plain desperate for attention. If you feel your truck can pull it off, always remember to keep it simple and consistent. A white racing stripe on black looks sleek. A design your buddy drew of a naked girl might have an adverse effect. Paint jobs are also expensive, so if you go that route, make sure you can live with it for a while.

Mud flaps are a must, and easy to customise. You can make them yourself from a thick rubber mat and decorate with stickers of your favourite brand. For a personal touch, design your own sticker and have it cut out of coloured vinyl.

The final touch

This might not seem important, but you’d be surprised. Paint your engine bay in black and/or silver and cover every sign of rust. Showing up to parties in your mean machine often leads to jealous people wanting to see what’s under the hood. Let’s not disappoint them.

A nice, neat looking engine always impresses and makes them think you’ve just made some hectic upgrades. Keep the inside of your hood snazzy by giving it a good clean every time you wash your truck, and you’ll soon become a local legend of the road.

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