Hartog, 75, a retired engineer who spent 20 years in the Air Force, has done what Japanese automaker Toyota hasn't:
He converted his Toyota Prius hybrid into a pickup truck.
He calls it the Pruck.
Wow, just wow."I like the Toyota Prius — the electronics and the tech setup," he said. "And I also like trucks."
He said he spent $5,300 on the conversion, which includes the $800 price tag for a beat-up 2005 Prius and $1,000 for the car's battery.
His old 2005 Prius averaged 47 or 48 miles per gallon. He estimates that on a normal day, when air conditioning on full blast isn't necessary, that his new ride gets about 43 miles per gallon.
"That car had regular aerodynamic streamlining and didn't get cut up like the Pruck did," he said.
He started work in December, keeping a computer log of his activity.
When Hartog bought the Prius, he wrote, "She is a veteran of no less than four accidents, including a collision with a deer, and rolling over after departing a paved road. Wow, I will try to vindicate her sordid past."
There were two main challenges Hartog said he had to overcome. One was the complex electrical systems in the car.
"If you remove a component," he said, "you have to keep the computers happy."
The other was structure. Unlike a pickup, the Prius has a unibodied design; trucks have separate beds and cabs joined together underneath. For the Pruck, Hartog welded the rear doors shut to make it part of the structure. He also welded two metal tubes on each side of the car diagonally from the corners of the roof to the wheel wells.
After a few more months of welding, body and wiring work, the Pruck was road-ready.
Source: Tampa Bay Times