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YouTuber Simone Giertz transformed a Tesla Model 3 into a pickup truck

Simone Giertz was tired of waiting for Elon Musk to unveil his new Tesla pickup truck, so she decided to make one herself. The popular YouTuber and self-described “queen of shitty robots” transformed a Model 3 into an honest-to-god pickup truck, which she dubs “Truckla” — and naturally you can watch all the cutting and welding (and cursing) on her YouTube channel. There’s even a fake truck commercial to go along with it.

Giertz spent over a year planning and designing before launching into the arduous task of turning her Model 3 into a pickup truck. And she recruited a ragtag team of mechanics and DIY car modifiers to tackle the project: Marcos Ramirez, a Bay Area maker, mechanic and artist; Boston-based Richard Benoit, whose YouTube channel Rich Rebuilds is largely dedicated to the modification of pre-owned Tesla models; and German designer and YouTuber Laura Kampf.

The final results are pretty impressive, and while it probably won’t look anything like the “futuristic-like cyberpunk, Blade Runner pickup truck” that Musk says he plans to release later this year, it really stands on its own as a dirt-kicking, rugged, all-electric pickup truck that still has that certain Tesla panache.

“My goal is to never own a gas car,” Giertz said. “I’m a part of a new generation of drivers that will only drive electric. I feel like I should pad this a little bit, but I’m not going to. Fuck oil companies. Seriously, fuck them.”

Musk has been hyping the Tesla pickup truck for several years now, calling it his favorite vehicle in Tesla’s lineup yet and promising it won’t look anything like other trucks on the market. “It’s going to be a truck that is more capable than other trucks,” Musk said in a recent podcast interview. “The goal is to be a better truck than a [Ford] F-150 in terms of truck-like functionality and be a better sports car than a standard [Porsche] 911. That’s the aspiration.”

Giertz’s truck looks exactly like what it is: a Model 3 with the top part of the back half removed. As such, it blurs the line between sedan and pickup, which used to be a popular design style in the 1970s and 80s, until consumers decided that bigger is better. Think Chevy El Camino, or Ford Ranchero. But Giertz smartly added some standard truck accoutrements, like a lumber rack with Hella lights attached to the front, so that it wouldn’t look out of place among the Rams and Silverados of the world.

It wasn’t a project without its obstacles. After stripping the backseat and the trunk of its many parts, the Model 3 refused to start. Ramirez explained that the car was reporting “all of its many faults” to Tesla headquarters via cell connection, or essentially “snitching” on the YouTubers who were trying to modify it. They also ran into problems after cutting through the first beam when the metal started to buckle slightly. Luckily they were able to reinforce the steel and keep going.

There have been a bunch of Tesla modifications over the years, and YouTube is brimming with a variety of DIY upgrades big and small. But Giertz’s Tesla pickup truck project certainly ranks among the most ambitious.

Giertz, who has 1.6 million subscribers on YouTube, is mostly known for her lineup of incredibly dumb and often hilarious robots that spill milk, brush your teeth, and slap you in the face. With Truckla, she is entering a whole new world of DIY, Pimp My Ride-style car customization that has its own legion of fans. She is also stepping into a mine field by producing a Tesla pickup truck before the company itself. Musk’s company, and Musk himself, has an army of die-hard followers who have been known to leap to their idol’s defense at the slightest provocation.

But Giertz makes it clear that she isn’t out to subvert Musk, but celebrate his products. Still, she describes Truckla as either “the smartest or the most stupid thing I’m ever going to do.”

“I really hope that people don’t just think of this as an obnoxious YouTuber cutting up a brand new car” Giertz said. “This process has destructive steps but the end goal is constructive. And I’m doing it because I really, really want this car. This is truly my dream car.”

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