When Stuart Smith’s mechanically-sound 20-year-old Toyota Hilux workhorse started to show signs of body fatigue, he didn’t hesitate to buy new wings and cab panels. But the shock of sky-high prices for new steel panels for the cargo tub put the brakes on restoration of the faithful pick-up used by his logs-for-fires business, based in Warwickshire.
Stuart, who already used trailers in his business, realised that with some careful deck design he could used dropsides and tailboards from similar trailers and make his own cargo tub.
‘’Once we had designed the combined under-floor structure and floor, and fitted the corner posts, sides and tailboard, it was simply a matter of bolting the new tub on to the chassis and wiring it up,” he said.
One of the advantages of the drop-side cargo tub is that it readily transforms the Hilux into a flat-bed truck, thus increasing its versatility. Capacity is also increased because the tub is 6” wider, slightly longer, and without wheel arches. But for Stuart, the key benefit is that damaged or bodywork-tired cargo tubs on mechanically-sound Hilux pick-ups can be replaced at significantly-reduced cost.
“Customers get a new, more-practical tub that is galvanised and doesn’t need painting, we can build the replacement tub in advance on our jigs meaning that fitting and rewiring takes only hours. So owners need not take their vehicle off the road for more than a day – much less than if new steel tub panels were fitted and painted.”
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