“OMG, what is that thing,” said a fisherman, as he walked towards Shelter Island Pier at 1 p.m. on May 10.
Like the other fishermen, he was “trippin’-out” on the 1991 Toyota truck that was parked on the handicap spot by the entrance of the pier.
“I wouldn’t be caught dead in that thing,” said another passerby, as he put his forefinger in his mouth.
The mini-truck had hundreds of ornaments liquid-nailed onto its exterior and interior. It had photos of Salvador Macias’s family by the doorway on the passenger’s side.
“It’s a little house,” said Macias, the owner of the truck. “I got a bathroom, a shower, closets, my little room, and a stove.”
Macias, originally from Michoacan, Mexico, started building the truck about six years ago after a tree fell on it. He parks by the pier on the weekends and gets most of the attention, despite the excitement about 100 feet away, when some fishermen caught a couple of halibut, a sea bass and a baby octopus.
“I got all of that stuff at Goodwill, Salvation Army, and other thrift stores,” Macias said. The exterior of the camper shell, doubled as a canvas for the decor; including ceramic animal figurines, sea shells, beads, coins, San Diego Charger relics, and religious artifacts.
“As far as customizers go, you have to look at this as an art form,” said Chris Caruso, a 44-year-old retired chief petty officer in the Navy, who’s been customizing mini-trucks since 1989.
In 2013, Caruso’s truck was on the cover of Mini Truckin’ magazine.
“It’s a crazy conversation piece, no doubt,” he said. “But you have to admire the amount of work that goes into customizing anything.”
To the mini-truckin’ community, Macias’s fifth-and-sixth-wheel addition is the “wow factor.”
“That’s the way I bought it,” he said. “With only one axle, I don’t think it could hold all of this weight.”