Toyota's 245hp Six-Speed X-Runner High-Performance Sport Truck Highlights
All-New Tacoma Pickup Launch

Toyota's all-new '05 Tacoma pickup is larger, more maneuverable, more powerful, and more fuel-efficient than the compact truck it replaces. The halo truck of the Tacoma line is the X-Runner. This sport truck brings a modern street presence packed with sports car performance from a new 245hp V-6 engine and a specially tuned and lowered chassis.

The new truck steps up in stature with the regular cab 4x2 models on a 109.4-inch wheelbase, about 5.9 inches more than the last-gen Tacoma. Prerunner and 4x4 regular cab Tacomas sit on a 110-inch wheelbase; 4x2 Access Cab models ride on a 127.2-inch wheelbase (an increase of 5.3 inches); and the Access Cab Prerunner and 4x4 wheelbase is 127.8 inches. The Double Cab with the standard 5-foot bed shares the 127.8-inch wheelbase, and the new Double Cab longbed models ride on a 140.9-inch wheelbase. Front and rear track grew by nearly 4 inches, adding interior space and better handling.

The new Tacoma gets power from a 2.7L DOHC four-cylinder engine that produces 164 hp and 183 lb-ft of torque or a revised 4.0L VVT-i DOHC V-6 that produces 245 hp and 282 lb-ft of torque (replacing the 190hp 3.4L V-6 in the '04 models). Both feature a new Electronic Throttle Control System with intelligence (ETCS-i) that helps improve performance and fuel economy. With the V-6, you get a choice of a six-speed manual (cool) or a five-speed automatic. The four-cylinder models offer a choice between a five-speed manual and a four-speed automatic transmission.

Toyota is claiming that a V-6 4x4 model with the five-speed automatic transmission can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 7-1/2 seconds. We can't verify that yet, but we can tell you the V-6 six-speed X-Runner will get there in less than 7 seconds (dragstrip with good leave) and is one of the best-handling packages we've driven since the Dodge Ram SRT-10. Add the big brake option and you're ready, causing drivers of many high-priced sports cars to doubt their manliness as you out-brake them into the corner on the road course. If you like a quick sport truck with balanced handling and good ride but will also pull 0.9 g on the skid pad, get in line at your Toyota dealer. If you're not, not to worry, as the Tacoma comes in 18 model configurations based on three cab types: regular cab, Extended Access Cab (with new dual access doors and tumble flat rear seats), and the four-door Double Cab.

Trucks Grab 53.5% of Market
Trucks continue to take market share from cars. Consider this: Trucks had 40.4 percent of U.S. sales in 1994; in 1984, they had 27.3 percent; and in 1974, the haulers represented 21.9 percent of the market. Way back in 1964, trucks took only 11.6 percent of the U.S. market.

Just a reminder that the clock is ticking on the Sport Truck/JC Whitney Low-Buck Challenge. This edition of the challenge is sponsored by JC Whitney, so Low-Buck Challenge builders are competing for $1,500 in gift certificates in addition to the fame and notoriety of a full feature in Sport Truck magazine.

The Challenge
As with last year, we're giving you six months to build your interpretation of the coolest '98-or-older sport truck. This time, however, we've increased the budget to $6,000, not including the purchase price of your rig. After you build it and send us the photos and receipts, we'll determine the winners with a panel of sponsor judges. We'll judge your creation in terms of overall appearance as 60 percent of the score, quality of interior as 20 percent, and engine detail the remaining 20 percent. If we have a tie, the overall appearance will be the deciding factor.

The Rewards
Here's what you get if you build the most outrageous truck within our rules and win the Grand Prize. In addition to having your achievement captured in a full feature in Sport Truck magazine's print and online editions as well as on JC Whitney's Web site, JC Whitney will award a $1,000 JC Whitney gift certificate. For the Low-Buck builder that wins our First Prize, we'll feature your truck as described above and JC Whitney will award you a $500 JC Whitney gift certificate. We also have a Second Prize consisting of the same feature exposure as the Grand and First Prize winners as well as a $250 JC Whitney gift certificate.

How To Enter
What we need for you to do is mail us a copy of the registration of the truck you're planning to build and "before" and "after" photos of the truck (3/4 front, 3/4 rear, engine, interior) along with copies of all the receipts for build parts, paint, and contracted labor. You don't have to have the completed truck to register, either. You can enter with just the "before" photos and docs and fill in the blanks later. We highly recommend, however, that if you split your registration, you include the "before" images and docs with your final entry.

At any rate, the Sport Truck/JC Whitney Low-Buck Challenge starts at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time (PT) on 7/1/04 and closes for entries at 5:00 p.m. (PT) on 12/30/04, with mailed entries postmarked by 12/30/04 and received as designated by 1/6/05. For a downloadable entry from, go to www.jcwhitney.com or www.sporttruck.com.

Last Chance to Get an Oldsmobile Truck
At the first of July, only 2,200 Olds trucks were in dealers' inventories. If you want one to preserve or just to have, you better hurry: When those are gone, it'll be the end of the marque.

State 2 State Charity Cruise and Truckin' & 4x4 Nationals
We're doing the State 2 State Cruise thing on Friday October 22, which'll take us into the Truckin' & 4x4 Nationals on October23-24, for a great three-day weekend in gearhead heaven. The State 2 State cruise starts at 7:00 a.m. at Dealer's Sport Truck and features all new stops, a poker run, and prizes at each stop, and culminates in a destination party at AIM Industries. State 2 State Cruisers will get lunch courtesy of JC Whitney and will have the opportunity to win a spray-on bedliner from Vortex Bedliners or a custom paintjob by Van Demon Designs. Sponsors include Chevy Trucks, JC Whitney, Vortec Engines, AIM Industries, Rhino Linings, Vortex Bedliners, Dealer's Sport Truck, advanced FLOW engineering, MagnaCharger, Stylin' Concepts, Gibson Exhaust, Alfa Otto, Rolling Big Power, ATS Design, Tucker's Classic Truck Parts, Smeding Performance, and Sir Michaels.

Action junkies won't want to miss the Truckin' & 4x4 Nationals at Firebird Raceway in Phoenix. We'll have a Tough Truck competition, drag races, and two action-oriented ride and drive courses that'll test your driving skills on the track and off-road. Plus, we'll have outrageous spectacles, with a Monster Truck show, a freestyle motocross show, as well as top industry vendors struttin'their stuff. For more information, e-mail Amber Pierce at amber.pierce@primedia.com, or call her at (714) 939-2580.

Announcing the launch of the Primedia Editors Charity Challenge presented by eBay Motors!
Ten different teams of Primedia editors have each been allocated a $25,000 budget to buy a vehicle of their choice on eBay Motors and then design and build their car, truck, or motorcycle using specific parts and products, mostly purchased via eBay Motors. At the end of the builds, Web site visitors will vote to choose their favorite vehicles, including an overall Best in Show. The completed vehicles will ultimately be auctioned on eBay Motors, with the proceeds going to charity.

From Dirt Heads to Lane Splitters to the Deadly Viper Assassination Team, each team will chronicle their progress on the Charity Challenge Web site. Visit us often at www.editorscharitychallenge.com, since updates from the teams will be added on a regular basis. Rate each team on how well they're doing, vote in the current poll on the homepage, check out the latest "Featured Team" and "Did You Know?" trivia fact, and don't forget to log on and join the discussions on the message boards

Sound Pressure Competitor Hits 174.0 dB for New World Record
The Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc.-sponsored, Scott Owens-built, F-250 dB Drag racer established a new world record in dB Drag and USACi sound pressure level competitions in July. Owens, who competes with nine Pioneer Premier TS-W5000SPL 12-inch subwoofers in his '02 Ford F-250 SPL truck, established two new 2004 SPL world records, an outstanding 173.0 dB for dB Drag and 174.0 dB for USACi events held on July 10 and 11 in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania.

Owens' F-250 SPL vehicle holds nine Pioneer Premier TS-W5000SPL subwoofers and can produce sound pressure levels above 170 dB. The truck uses 36 amplifiers, 72 16-volt Turbo Start batteries, and three Ohio Generator 285-amp alternators, and produces more than 115,200 watts of power.

Future Tech: ThermoComposite One-way Heat Exchange
This technology is in the development/prototype stage, but it has some exciting performance-enhancing possibilities. According to Yet2.com, testing of the technology confirmed that the ThermoComposite's heat-transfer material, using relatively low-carbon thermal conductivities, significantly outperformed aluminum with a 10-15 percent increase in the rapid dissipation of heat. Furthermore, the material is sort of a one-way street for heat: It flows in one direction only. What's particularly cool about this material is that you can build things with it that direct the flow of heat in advantageous ways.

One of the areas we may see this technology is in electronic packaging. In addition to thermal management products such as heat sinks, thermal sheets, and films, the ThermoComposite technology has applications for the production of electronic boards, housings, and other complex structures that incorporate integrated microthermal management devices into a macro structure to optimize space and weight, and to enhance structural and environmental characteristics. Full-thermal management and structural systems could be achieved by hybridizing existing structures with high-thermal-conductivity fiber, insulation, and EMI and RFI shielding materials. In other words, electronics will get even smaller and more powerful.

Automotive applications are a natural. Essentially, the technology will offer the same benefits for electronic components,but for non-electronics: self-cooling brake pads, where the ThermoComposite technology allows the dissipation of heat energy caused by braking friction to an impinged airflow against the exterior of the brake pad surface. So instead of part of the heat being absorbed into the caliper and boiling, the heat would go to the air, giving you monster braking power. The engineers are even thinking of alternative engine cooling systems that use the leading edge surfaces of a vehicle to act as the heat exchanger with the material connected directly to a heat source.

The Roush F-150
The latest word from Roush Enterprises is that the Roush F-150 is F-150 includes body-styling upgrades, performance-handling tuning, and plans for an aftermarket supercharger. It's available in 4x2 and 4x4 models in the following stages: Roush Tejon, Roush Stage 1, and Roush Stage 2.

Roush Tejon (pronounced tay-hone), a Spanish/Latin slang term for big Texan, features a Roush hoodscoop, 20-inch chrome wheels and tires, dual out-the-rear exhaust, Roush-branded tips, Roush front and rear window banners, and Tejon bed graphics.

Other performance options are also available on the Tejon, such as Jack Roush-insignia performance leather seats, instrument panel cluster for XLT application, front chin spoiler, and billet pedals. The Roush Tejon is available on most chassis and all cab, bed, and factory trim configurations.

The Roush Stage 1 F-150 includes a Roush-designed front chin spoiler, painted front bumper, Roush hoodscoop, dual rear-exit exhaust with Roush-branded tips, performance suspension that lowers the 4x2 and 4x4 models 20-inch Roush chrome wheel and tire package, Roush front and rear window banners, and Roush floor mats.

The suspension upgrades include front coil springs, rear leaf springs, a larger solid front stabilizer bar, and specially valved shocks. Stage 1 also lowers the truck 2 inches in the front and 3 inches in the rear. With a leveled and lowered stance, the company claims the Roush Stage 1 F-150 is capable of producing 0.89 g's of lateral acceleration.

The Roush Stage 2 adds Roush-designed cab and bed body-styling components, including wheel flares and rocker panels and dual side exhaust, as well as a host of other available performance options, such as Jack Roush-insignia performance leather seats, instrument panel cluster for XLT application, and billet pedals.

Roush F-150s can be found at participating Ford dealerships. For more information on all Roush vehicles and products, visit the company's Web site at www.roushperf.com or call (800) 59-ROUSH (597-6874).

Texas Extreme Truck Show
September 25-26 at the Texas Ski Ranch in New Braunfels Texas is truck country - extreme truck country - and we're putting on an extreme show to bring out the best trucks in Texas. We'll also have your favorite vendors and sponsors showing off the newest gear and styling ideas, not to mention, a bikini contest, an evening concert, wakeboarding competition, freestyle motocross show, motocross competitions on dirt course, skate park action, and other extreme activities.

The sponsors of this extreme show include JC Whitney, AIM Industries, Rhino Linings, Vortex Bedliners, Dealer's Sport Truck, advanced FLOW engineering, MagnaCharger, Stylin' Concepts, Gibson Exhaust, Alfa Otto, Rolling Big Power, ATS Design, Tucker's Classic Truck Parts, Smeding Performance, and Sir Michaels, so you know it's gonna be good. For more information, e-mail Amber Pierce at amber.pierce@primedia.com, or call her at (714) 939-2580

Banks' Twin-Turbo Sport Truck: It's Alive!
Last month, we showed the Banks Twin-Turbo SS454 test mule just after the crew dropped the dyno mule motor into the engine bay. This month, it's alive.

The reasoning for bringing the beast to life is to promote what Gale Banks Engineering is calling its "Back to the Future" Twin-Turbo systems. In short, the company has had these kits available before, but not with the advanced level of today's turbo technology, or necessarily designed to fit as cleanly in the engine bay of a '90s Silverado.

The Banks crew claims its new twin-turbo system contains everything you'll need to twin-turbo a Chevy small-block V-8 engine, from induction and exhaust manifolds, to wastegates, turbos, and every nut, bolt, line fitting, heatshield, flange, clamp, and hose to finish the job. About the only thing the systems don't include (besides the truck) is the fuel injection system, ignition system, throttle body, and front drive system.

We'll take Banks' word for it, especially after taking a couple of seriously tire-limited side-street 0-60 blasts. It's thoroughly quick: In the early testing, the combo, backed by a Doug Nash six-speed manual, pulled 119 mph in the quarter-mile after melting the posi clutches in the rearend.

This mule motor just came off dyno duty, had an aggressive cam, which is not needed with the turbo, but the wicked street machine idle added to its charm. The idea is to get the kit to meet the emissions requirements for the last generation of Silverado, thus making it legal for sale in all 50 states.

Just think of the possibilities: You could build a Lightning-eating, Ram SRT-10-chewing monster of a sport truck for about the price of a good used Lightning. You know, that's not a bad idea. For more information call Banks at (888) 635-4565 or visit bankspower.com.

SUVs Could Be Banned in Paris - News from Automotive Design and Production:
"Paris is considering doing what would be unthinkable in any American city - banning SUVs. It seems that the automotive brutes are becoming increasingly popular in the City of Light, leading the city's council to pass a measure that may ban SUVs on high-pollution days.

The main complaint, as reported by the British newspaper The Guardian, seems to be that SUVs emit a lot more carbon dioxide than the compact cars usually seen plying Paris' often narrow streets.

"It just keeps getting weirder and weirder out there...

Meanwhile, on This Side of the Pond, Trucks and Cute-Utes Are Still Hot
Recapping the first half of the year, sales of SUVs rose a healthy 2.2 percent in the first half, although they were propped up by profit-eroding rebates. The high gasoline prices are influencing vehicle choice. At least that's how we interpret the increase in sales of 18.9 percent of sport wagons. These offer better fuel economy and handling than big SUVs. Still, light trucks continue to gain share from cars. Toyota continues to expand its market share; Mitsubishi, on the other hand, is free-falling.

The crossover/hybrid/sport wagon/whatever-you-call-them vehicles are selling fast, and just about every manufacturer has one. Regardless of the name, 822,440 of these cute-utes were sold in the first six months of this year. That's 18.9 percent more than a year ago.

The Ford Escape lead the charge at 98,532 units. The model is up 25.1 percent for the year, with the Honda CR-V second with 69,979 units.

The Chevrolet Equinox with 23,460 sales since its March debut is doing very well; so is the Cadillac SRX, with 14,192 sales since its January arrival in showrooms. The SRX helped Cadillac's SUV group increase sales 66.1 percent in the first half.

Goodmark/Stylin' Concepts '04 Chevy Silverado Giveaway
Win the truck of your dreams! Enter now for your chance to win this '04 Chevy Silverado loaded with all the custom necessities, including a Goodmark hood; Street Scene body kit, grille, and mirrors; Corsa exhaust system; APC wheels, In-Pro Carwear euro taillights; Hypertech Power Programmer; Gaylord's tonneau cover; Altech LED line-of-fire lightbar; Nu Image flame gauges; Belltech lowering kit; Powerslot brake rotors; One Trick Truck door handles; Owens floor mats; and Billet Specialties billet antenna. In addition to all these goodies, the truck will feature Goodmark's signature "flame on black" custom paint. All entries must be received by 11/10/04. Fill out our easy-to-use online entry form at www.stylinconcepts/sweepstakes, or contact: Stylin' Concepts, 7820 E. Pleasant Valley Rd., Independence, OH 44131, (800) 401-7089.

Start date: 8/2/04
End date: 5:00 p.m. EST 11/22/04
Mailed entries mailed by 11/22/04 and received by 11/29/04

'04 Ford Heritage F-150
An '04 ford Heritage F-150 pickup truck drove off the assembly line at the Ontario truck plant on June 28, 2004, marking the end of production at the 39-year-old plant. Hundreds of employees gathered around the final truck as two long-time employees, Eddy Moir and Gerald Wydsyz, both with 41 years of service, climbed in, started the engine, and pulled away, ending an era.

  • «
  • |
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
  • |
  • 4
  • |
  • 5
  • |
  • View Full Article