European rigs are known for their flashy tributes, and this cabover is no exception. Owned by Mika Auvinen of Finland, project “Lowrider” is one of the flashiest and most detailed trucks we have ever seen. This Helsinki native is turning heads with this combination, which features a set of matching double tanker trailers, behind the decked-out Mercedes-Benz Actros 2663 tractor.
Mika Auvinen began his “career” in the world of truck customizing more than 20 years ago when he built his first rig – a Volvo FH. After that, he turned to the German maker Mercedes-Benz for his project rigs, followed by three builds with the Swedish brand Scania, and then back to the Silver Star brand, Mercedes-Benz, for his last three major projects, including this one. Mika says this will be his last working show truck, but people close to him say this is his third “last” truck!
This “last” project was based on the “Lowrider” spirit, an idea submitted by painter and designer Perttu Papunen, which was unanimously supported with great enthusiasm by the entire Auvinen Trucking team. After several drawings and renderings were made and approved, the long and tedious process began. After the purple base candy was sprayed, a very rarely-used color on show trucks in Europe, the rig was then covered with murals and phrases influenced by the American lowrider scene, as well as classic Chicano art. Many of Mika’s overall motives and stylings have a much deeper religious meaning, as well.
Combining the artificial paradise that is Las Vegas and the supernatural Latino, which includes a mural of the actor Danny Trejo on one side of the tractor and Jessica Alba on the other, the paint work alone took almost a year and over 2,500 hours, including 1,500 hours of design and airbrush work. The combo has more than 120 liters (over 31 gallons) of the violet candy paint, and nearly 300 liters (almost 80 gallons) of clear – on some areas, the clear reached 25 layers thick! All the images were created with the airbrush, using different techniques, to get that super-realistic look.
Once the paint was completed, it was time to install the countless custom and chromed parts made by Mika Sassi and his team of specialists at Hio-Mex, a company that specializes in custom fabrication. Among these pieces is the massive 50s-style front bumper, custom horizontal grille bars, a windshield wiper cover and giant sun visor. In addition to the custom metal work and paint, the truck also has more than 600 LED and neon lights scattered around the combo, wire-spoke wheels and whitewall tires. To list everything that was done to this truck would take pages and pages!
To finish the Finnish tractor, the cab’s interior of the Mercedes-Benz was customized to match its exterior in the same Chicano spirit. Featuring plenty of white diamond-tuck leather with white buttons and purple crushed velvet, along with a few gold accents, the cab is equipped with a cool custom corner sofa and plenty of other amenities. All told, it took about 6,000 hours of work to get what you see here – one of the most successful working show trucks ever built on the old continent. And, as crazy as it may seem, this wild combo rolls in and out of the cement plant on a constant basis, as the facility operates 24/7.
In the world of show trucks in Europe, some people carry more weight than others, and Mika Auvinen and the entire Auvinen Trucking crew from Finland are at the top of their game. Because of this, they will continue to dominate at the shows and collect many more trophies, all while paying tribute to the American lowrider scene.