A rolling memorial ’89 Isuzu
Michael Gartrell’s story and build stem from a very dark place in his life. Everything was looking bright and positive for Michael, as he was in the process of building a custom mini-truck and had a great job and marriage. His wife, Katie, had gotten pregnant, and they were expecting their second child. Toward the end of the pregnancy, there were complications. When their daughter Alona was stillborn, “It hit us both hard,” Michael tells Truckin. “It seems like everything went downhill from there.”
The only thing that survived the tragedy was the mini-truck build, as the marriage couldn’t withstand the heartbreak. The mini-truck, an ’89 Isuzu pickup, became something much more than a build for Michael, as he dedicated the entire project to his late daughter Alona. Although his heart and mind were in different locations, the Isuzu was the only thing that was able to get him through the pain. As a child, Michael had been involved in classic trucks and knew his way around building as well as truck performance, so that wasn’t going to be difficult. The stock 2.3L four-cylinder was removed and replaced with an ’84 Nissan 300ZX six-cylinder for stability and more power.