By Robby DeGraff
Getting tired of driving around in your old Ford F-250 7.3-liter diesel? Why not revamp it into a miniature Peterbilt semi. Nashville, Tenn.-based Lil Big Rig (link removed due to malware) offers transformation kits that take standard pickup trucks and dress them up like full-on 18-wheelers.
A similar conversion dubbed the Lil Kenny (which sits slightly lower than the Lil Pete) gives your Ram or full-size Chevy pickup a makeover to resemble a life-size Kenworth semi.
For $13,000, Lil Big Rig can convert your 1980s-1990s two-wheel-drive Ford F-250, long-bed full-size Chevrolet pickup (1973-1987 model years in either 4X4 or 4X2) or 1994-2003 Dodge Ram standard cab pickup (either 4X4 or 4X2). Lil Big Rig replaces the standard truck body with a fiberglass Peterbilt or Kenworth cab and front hood/fender assembly. A semi truck-esque rear body and two extra dual rear wheels are added on to make your truck look like a traditional Peterbilt or Kenworth semi.
The interior is completely revised and resembles the cab of a semi, and what’s a semi truck without a rear space to relax in? All Lil Pete and Lil Kenny kits come with a full rear sleeper available with seats or room for an actual bed.
The exterior of each project comes with your typical big semi headlights and mirrors; tall side exhaust stacks; optional semi-spec fuel tanks; and a front grille that would put a Chrysler 300 to shame. You can even equip your custom Lil Rig with an automatic transmission and forget worrying about trying to double-clutch shift a 15-speed manual often seen in most semis today.
Under the mock-semi hood is a standard gas or diesel V-8 engine, with space for a smaller diesel or straight-six-cylinder mill. Lil Kenny models can even be fit with Chevy’s massive 454 big-block V-8.
Just how much smaller is the Lil Kenny compared with a “big” Kenworth? A typical semi truck stands around 13 feet tall; the Lil Kenny sits at a little more than 5 feet tall. Despite the size difference, the overall interior and exterior appearance is strikingly similar.
Lil Big Rig’s completely assembled body shells can be easily installed over a matter of days with common garage hand tools. If you buy one, it’s advised that you find the donor pickup truck while waiting four to eight weeks for Lil Big Rig to custom-fabricate the body shell.
What’s a benefit of the Lil Big Rig project truck? The cost. The entire conversion can run less than $20,000. For a donor truck, older pickup trucks are becoming increasingly cheap, and used older Ford F-250s are going for next to nothing on eBay at the moment. Don’t worry about body rust, either, as long as the frame is solid and the truck is in working mechanical condition.
Lil Big Rig is also researching offering full turn-key mini-semis in the future. So if you want to work on your CB radio lingo and be the (mini) king of the open road, check out Lil Big Rig’s website (link removed due to malware).