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MOTORING: INOV8R – James Foden

Featured in Freestyle Volume 08 2009. Story by Jeremy Shields. Photography by John Churchill.

Grab your welding mask and steel caps - we’re about to enter the… Constuction Zone

Mini trucks and mini truckers… They’re a breed unto themselves, that’s for sure. A world apart from most other car modification circles, mini trucking is all about going custom crazy and doing shit yourself, your way. The community is tight – a by-product of like-minded people getting together to share ideas and skills on each others’ rides – far away from the secretive and bitchy world of other modifying scenes.

Along with the runs and shows that have given these guys and girls a reputation for seriously loose fun, the mini trucking set is a highly innovative place to be too, thanks to members who are not afraid to think outside the square, and go plain balls-out.

Fitting the profile perfectly are the owners of the ’99 Navara literally laid out before you – James and Jenny Foden. A machinist, fitter, fabricator, and owner of Foden Designs, James is your typical mini trucker – easy-going, passionate, full of ideas, and not afraid to make it happen. Of course, having the machinery to turn out one-off parts at your disposal is a huge bonus and catalyst for INOV8R – a truly one-of-a-kind Navara that’s sending jaws to the floor… And it’s not even built yet!

Yes, we do realise it’s still in its birthday suit but in truth, like a bunch of kids at show-and-tell, we simply couldn’t wait to get this one out there.

Some of you may recognise INOV8R from the odd show or photos here and there, and that’s just another aspect of the mini truck scene that we love – it doesn’t matter if it’s not complete. It’s the build that everyone wants to see and appreciate, and what better way to show it off than while it’s all still exposed like the Foden’s? If anything, it kinda makes those builds where everything is kept under lock-and-key and 24hr security look selfish and just plain whack.

Bought brand new back in ’99, the DX single cab was actually supposed to be something sensible after James had wasted “time and money on other dumb car projects”. Believe it or not, this is actually his first major project to date. Some people are obviously just born to build…

Establishing Foden Designs in late 2008 has meant smashing out custom billet parts is a walk in the park, so no surprise that INOV8R is full of exactly that. Don’t think that steering wheel is an off-the-shelf item – it’s just one of the many small projects man and machine have collaborated upon.

Taking a look at the pics, it’s clear that this guy’s not only a dab hand on the mill either. Pretty handy with a pipe bender and welder too, James has fabricated a serious tube chassis that’s simply a work of art. This also incorporates a roll cage to stiffen things further. We can tell you this isn’t just for show either, but you’ll have to wait for the full feature to see why. For now, you can pretty much count on torsional twist being the last thing on James’ mind when giving it a good old fashioned pedal though.

As tough as it is to do, we’re gonna have to bite our tongues at this point and let you walk yourself through the build so far, but keep an eye out for the finished product in an upcoming issue.

To find out more about Foden Designs visit

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