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My wife runs a small bakery here in Central MA called Brynne's Bread ( and for the past eight years she has loaded up the back of the truck with tents, tables, crates, shelves, and other wares to display and protect her products at festivals and farmer's markets. Suffice to say the loading, unloading, loading again, and unloading again gets tiresome and also burns a lot of hours. We wanted something that could roll up to the market spot, open up and be ready in minutes. We kicked around numerous ideas of speeding up this process while creating a unique marketable image. We looked at trailers but were once again using our family vehicle to move it around. We tried looking at antique trucks but found that their size and overall reliability were going to be a hinderance. We needed something small, cost-efficient, unique, and attractive... cue the mini-truck. With this Instructable I am going to show you how to make a micro market truck that can be used for a myriad of purposes. We purchased a 1990 Subaru Sambar as the base of our micro market truck. These little trucks come right over from Japan, so they are right-hand drive. They are also classified as kei trucks in Japan, so they are small (ours is only about 10' long) and have equally small engines (660cc 4 cylinder). But, they are easy to work on, parts are accessible and affordable, and they are a blast to drive... did I mention they are four wheel drive? The bed of the truck is low to the ground (an important part to our display) and the sides and back of the bed fold down.

One of the biggest time gobblers during any unique process is finding inspiration from other folks. I can tell you that it took quite some time to narrow down our search to this unique machine and to design what the rear bed was ultimately to look like. I found a lot of inspiration and help from Daphne's Caravans, and after reaching out to Daphne for some advice I was well on my way to designing the truck. All told the entire thing cost about $6,500 (that includes the truck), but I am sure that you could design a similar structure for another similar flatbed truck.

Step 1: List of Materials


1990 Subaru Sambar


2x6 stock

1-1/2" outdoor screws

wood glue


2x4 stock

Simpson Strong-Tie right angle connectors

1-1/2" washer head screws

3" outdoor screws

Beams / Rafters:

2x4 stock

3" outdoor screws

Siding and Doors / Awnings:

1x10 shiplap siding

1-1/2" outdoor screws

Roof Sheathing, Waterproofing, and Covering:

1/4" flooring underlayment (easy to bend around curved roof)

Grace Ice and Water Shield self-adhering membrane

Duro-Last Painted Coil roofing and rubber washer screws (this was ordered from our local co-op in a 30' roll)

Hinges, Hardware, and Gas Struts:

Acorn Iron-Forged strap hinges

20# Gas Struts (These did not work, but they are still a good source)

50# Gas Struts or from Grainger

Toggle clamps (to hold the side doors tight while driving)

Barrel Bolt for back door and Fixed Bolt to hold one of the back doors in place

WannaBeFree8 months ago
Excellent idea! Beautiful Job!!! Well done.
ctstarkdesigns (author)  WannaBeFree8 months ago
Thank you! I appreciate the feedback.
dudus8 months ago
Marvelous instructable, I just need to buy a van (and a reason to own a van!)
ctstarkdesigns (author)  dudus8 months ago
Thanks! Happy you enjoyed it.
makemyclay8 months ago
beautiful design and so well made.
ctstarkdesigns (author)  makemyclay8 months ago
Thanks! I appreciate the comment.
Pahoolo19 months ago
I really want to see the final product after you get it all painted up! I especially liked that you included all the the important angles, that's usually where things start to get tricky. Something like this would also be a good project for a larger (relatively) little pickup, like an old Ranger or something.
Good work!

ctstarkdesigns (author)  Pahoolo19 months ago
I am pretty certain you could do this with a compact truck like a Ranger, S-10, or B2500. We looked into it but wanted something a bit lower to the ground and the mini-truck really hit the mark. Thanks for the comments and keep an eye out for updates coming soon. I have the gas struts finally figured out and am waiting on a shipment coming in.
Steinzel9 months ago
Very nice build! I have been thinking about something like this in the near future. You've given me a lot to think about, Thanks!
ctstarkdesigns (author)  Steinzel9 months ago
You are very welcome. I will be putting on the gas springs and other hardware this week so keep an eye out for updates.
emrude9 months ago
Thanks for posting this. I want to convert a small trailer to sell at open markets. This gives me a lot to think about. Good luck in your build through the winter. I really liked my visit to Daphne's website. Great ideas. Keep us updated.
ctstarkdesigns (author)  emrude9 months ago
You are totally welcome, happy you can use it for your plans. Daphne definitely makes some really cool wagons. I will keep you all in the loop as I make more progress.
Kink Jarfold9 months ago
I really enjoyed this Instructable. Good luck with the increased ease of making money! --Kink--
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ctstarkdesigns (author)  Kink Jarfold9 months ago
Thank you! I will update the instructable as I make more advances to the finished product.