Introduction: Prius Hot Rod

How to make a Hybrid Hot Rod (or how to skin a prius).

Have you ever wanted a pickup truck with a dump bed and only had a small budget?

Here we will document the process of sourcing, dismantling and reassembly of the "Pruck2", the Prius truck.


You will need two vehicles.

  • The donor vehicle (in this case a 2009 Prius)
  • The target vehicle (a 1953 International R180 truck)
  • A welder
  • A chain hoist
  • Some agreeable friends with metalworking and woodworking skills

Step 1: Here Is a 5 Minute Video With a Synopsis

Here you will see the tools and procedures without a lot of unnecessary footage.

Step 2: The Concept

  • My wife Jenny asked me for a truck to haul away yard waste, I didn't want an old worn out vehicle that needed maintenance all the time.
  • The decision was made to recycle this classic 1953 International with newer, more reliable parts.
  • Her design requirements were power everything and climate control.

Step 3: The Source Vehicles

We removed the cab from the manure spreader in a complete assembly with a chain hoist.

We then took the doors and interior and roof off of this 2009 Prius that had side collision damage.

Step 4: Fitting It Together or Skinning

  • The cab was moved up and down many times with the chain hoist to determine how much of the original firewall needed to be removed from the International. 24 inches in the floor of the cab was also removed forming a new footwell.
  • The Toyota was reinforced with steel plate, This also provides the new cab floor bottom.
  • Notice the Hybrid battery is relocated under the cab (and out of the elements) including the active cooling fan assembly.

Step 5: Building a Tilt Bed From Re-purposed Mahogany

  • A square tube steel was used to fabricate the bed
  • Roll pin hinges allow for simple reliable movement
  • Twin 220lb electric linear actuators (from Amazon or Aliexpress) provide the lift and are controlled by the left rear window switch
  • Siggy's wood boats in Scottsburg Indiana (A.K.A. Indianapolis wood products) provided the wood from this late 40's Chris Craft
  • Anticipating actual pickup truck use, aluminum stock was used between the planks on the bed rather than anything more expensive.

Step 6: The Electronics

  • All of the Toyota dash remains intact including the Multi-Function display and the air conditioning vents.
  • The speedometer was relocated behind the glove box opening. Challenges were involved with the gas gauge inclinometer. This was resolved by mounting it separately from the multimeter.
  • Flat black carpet with rubber backing was used sourced from a new office floor rug.
  • The original bucket seats were reused making it easy to include seatbelts as an upgraded safety feature.
  • The Toyota steering wheel was relocated by adding a few inches to the linkage.
  • The throttle is " drive by wire" and only required lengthening the wires.
  • Cruise, tilt, ABS brakes, A/C, and skid control were all retained.
  • Power window motors were installed along with new glass.
  • Door panels were fabricated from the headliner of the old Prius.
  • Total cost for parts was under 5000 dollars. Labor is estimated to be another 10k.

Step 7: Fender Liners and Registration

  • Aluminum fan ductwork from an old rooftop air conditioner provided fender liners.
  • The title and bill of sale from the donor Prius allowed registration to be completed.

Step 8: Enjoying the Truck

  • Halloween 2019 marked completion.
  • Fuel economy is 24mpg at interstate speeds and the wind noise from the mirrors is noticeable, however cruising around town at lower speeds provides 35mpg.
  • We drove it 950 miles to Florida in early 2020 stopping for a photo opportunity near Macon, GA.
  • Lastly, our daughter relaxes at a car show.
  • visit for more Prius hot rods
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