During the weekend of June 17-18, 2005, we'll be holding the most highly anticipated show of the 2005 season at the Louisville Convention Center, in Louisville, Kentucky. There will be more than $5,000 in cash and awards up for grabs as well as plenty of draggin' action (at the show itself) and the most incredible rides you've ever seen. In addition to draggin' and braggin', we're planning a two-day party within the confines of the Louisville Convention Center. This includes a show-'n'-shine event that'll have all the best builders of the best sport trucks of all varieties going head to head for all that prize money. We'll also have a manufacturers midway, with lots of the hottest and newest products right on site so you can get a hands-on evaluation before you buy. In addition, we're planning to have installation displays, a wild bikini contest, and live entertainment, with the entertainer to be announced at a later date.

Bubba Drift
The sport of drifting has become so popular, they're even going to allow trucks to compete. At least that's the word we get from the World Drifting Championship (WDC). Bubba Drift, seen here in mid-drift in a competition in Texas, can be considered one of the pioneers to get domestic V-8 power complete with cargo bed on the drift circuit. We've heard Bubba Drift is planning to campaign a domestic pickup this season, so we're planning an in-depth feature article on Bubba Drift and the whole drift craze.

The Formula Drift series at press time hadn't decided whether it was going to allow trucks into its drift series. The series let the Bubba Drift El Camino in, but not anything else. The organizers of the WDC will let trucks in and are interested in seeing late-model trucks participate. They say they have other builders who have shown an interest in running a truck as well.

In the meantime, here's a list of WDC events:
Los Angeles - March 11-12
Phoenix - April 15-16
San Francisco - May 13-14
Dallas - May 27-28
Atlanta - June 10-11
Boston - July 8-9
NJ/NY - July 22 - 23
Chicago/Milwaukee - Aug 5-6
Miami - August 19-20
Los Angeles - October 7-8

For more information on the WDC, go to www.harddrivelive.com.

On Sale Now!
For Turbodiesel Addicts
The premier issue of Diesel Power, Primedia's newest magazine dedicated to turbodiesel enthusiasts, is on sale at your favorite newsstand right now. The first issue kicks off with coverage of the world's largest pickup, International's CXT. If you're interested in making more power, be sure to check out the in-depth coverage of all the parts and strategies that make monster power from your diesel. In fact, if you have a diesel-powered truck or know someone who has, you've got to check out this latest issue to get the newest information on cutting-edge diesel power and style. Do it now.

Stylin' Concept Is Doing It Again
It's Giving Away Another Project TruckWe had such a great response with last year's giveaway project, that we teamed up with Stylin' Concepts again. The project is so hot, we don't have all the details this issue, but check back next month for all the details. We're on sale 5/24/05.

A little Help From Their Friends
The guys at GOEZ Customs in Placentia, California, just wanted to have a cool local show 'n' shine to celebrate moving into their new shop. It got a little out of hand, though, as word got out. Final count is unknown, but they ended up with 110 registered entrants and by our estimation at least three times that many drive-ups. To find out what all the buzz is about, check 'em out at www.goezcustoms.com.

Dateline Detroit
Showtime at the North American International Auto Show
How times change. To walk the show floor of North America's premier auto show today, it's hard to believe that the very first Detroit Auto Show was held in a beer garden with 33 vehicles and 17 exhibitors. The year was 1907 and in the 98 years since, Detroit grew to be known as the Motor City, and the little Detroit Auto Show has become one of the most important automotive events in the world, ranking of equal importance to the large global auto shows in Frankfurt, Paris, Tokyo, and Geneva.

Now called the North American International Auto Show, or simply NAIAS, the statistics are staggering. Press days now play host to 6,600 journalists from 68 countries. NAIAS brings more than $500 million to the local economy each year. Multi-million-dollar displays fill Detroit's downtown river-front Cobo Hall with all the traditional glitz and glamour. The major displays require months to assemble, as auto manufacturers from around the world come to Detroit to unveil their latest product and futuristic concept vehicles.

While the magnitude of the show is impressive, it's the vehicles that really shine. Perhaps a little lighter on truck surprises than recent years, the 2005 edition was still inspiring. The inside buzz is that 2006 will bring major truck news in Detroit. Sport Truck be there to bring you all the latest news and events.

Ford officials hint that their Explorer Sport Trac Concept signals plans for their next-generation Sport Trac. The super-smooth pearl-white concept is highlighted with polished billet aluminum trim shows-off a body that is 5 inches longer and 2 inches wider than the current model. It's lowered with massive four-wheel discs visible through the 21-inch 10-spoke wheels. Power comes from a healthy 4.6L V-8. Other technical highlights include a fully independent rear suspension and Roll Stability Control.

Derived from a concept that was unveiled at the '04 Detroit show, Range Rover launched the production '06 Range Rover Sport in Detroit. The luxury SUV segment is a busy place these days, but the Range Rover Sport should be able to leave its mark, thanks to a 390hp supercharged 4.2L V-8. Priced between the current Range Rover and the LR3, the Sport is scheduled to hit dealer showrooms this summer. Expect a high level of sophistication with a sport touring edge.

Jeep design, engineering, and product-planning staffs have been quite busy. Looking like a super-sized Wrangler in the front and retro pickup from the cab on back, the Gladiator concept hints that Jeep considering growing the brand to perhaps again include a pickup. Power comes from a 2.8L four-cylinder common-rail diesel and a six-speed manual transmission. The long-wheelbase Gladiator rides on multilink front and rear suspensions and offers a 1,500-pound payload capacity.

ASC tricked-out an '05 SSR, appropriately called the Diamondback, to show-off its low-investment OMNICarbon process, featured on the entire upper surface of the truck. The high-performance carbon-fiber finish definitely sets this SSR apart from the crowd. Diamondback's 6.0L V-8 is pumping out 525 hp, thanks to a boost from a Magnuson supercharger and custom side-exit exhaust. Those are 22-inch Budnik wheels in the rear (20s up front) with BFGoodrich G-Force TAs, and 14-inch Brembos provide additional stopping power.

Looking like a bank vault on wheels, Ford's radical SYNus concept is way out there. Who would have thought designers would draw inspiration from a Brinks truck? When parked, the SYNus locks-down with protective metal shutters over the windshield and side windows. The seatbacks flop forward, transforming the seats to rear-facing lounge chairs for viewing the enormous widescreen LCD display occupying the entire tailgate. The screen can display a view from outside cameras, be used as a display to surf the Internet, or show movies.

Infiniti's Kuraza concept SUV drew considerable attention from the press in Detroit. The design features smooth, flowing lines and a very open interior layout that is accessible through double doors on each side of the vehicle. Inside you will find a full-length center console and six individual bucket seats. The center seats mount on tracks with the ability to slide fore or aft. While very refined, the Kuraza concept delivers a strong performance message sporting 23-inch alloy wheels and wide, aggressive tires.

Ford showed the '06 Harley Davidson F-150 in Detroit. Yes, those are factory 22-inch five-spoke polished-aluminum wheels. It will be the seventh model to come from the successful Ford/Harley alliance. The SuperCab limited-edition (10,000) F-150 will be offered in both 4x2 and all-wheel-drive models. All will have the 5.4L Triton V-8 with a specially tuned exhaust system.

Honda made good on its concept sport-utility pickup by unveiling the production-ready '06 Ridgeline pickup in Detroit this year. The Ridgeline will go on sale in March and features a two-way tailgate (conventional fold-down and side-swing operation) and a huge trunk under the rear bed floor. Built on a fully integrated boxed ladder frame with seven crossmembers, the Ridgeline will offer a 1,100-pound bed payload capacity and 5,000-pound towing capacity. Power comes from Honda's 3.5L VTEC V-6 with 255 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque, mated to a five-speed automatic and a standard Variable Torque Management 4-Wheel Drive system.

If you love the Hemi, you're going to double-love this Jeep Hurricane concept. Front and rear 5.7L Hemi V-8s deliver a total of 670 hp and 740 lb-ft of torque. The wild powertrain configuration is complemented by an equally wild chassis and steering system. The Hurricane can turn both front and rear tires to a radical toe-in position that allows the vehicle to turn within its own wheelbase. All four wheels are powered in the same direction during zero-turn maneuvers by a central transfer case with outboard driveshafts to split axles at each wheel. While it is only a show vehicle, Jeep was quick to point out that several of the technologies have been patented.

Mitsubishi is back in the pickup market with the debut of its new '06 Raider midsize. Sharing common components and architecture with the Dodge Dakota, the Raider will be offered in LS, DuroCross, and XLS models with extended cab and double cab body styles. Power will come from a standard 3.7L V-6, or optional 4.7L V-8 with 230 horses and 290 lb-ft of torque. A Getreg six-speed manual comes standard with the V-6, or you can order a four-speed automatic. The 4.7L V-8 is teamed with a five-speed automatic.

Kia's KCD-II MESA concept SUV is a product of Kia's California Design Center and is intended for the U.S. market. The rugged yet sophisticated design has an aggressive stance with 22-inch wheels pushed out to the far corners of the body. There are six individual bucket seats in three rows separated by a center console. Above is a full-length skylight sunroof and alligator-style roof rack. Other unique features include retractable running boards, an electric tow hitch door, and an LED search light for night operations.

West Coast Customs Chevy HHR at the L.A. Auto Show
This was not the year for trucks at the Los Angeles Auto Show. About the only excitement truck-wise came from Chevy, with the world debut of the HHR. And just to show how cool the Heritage High Roof can be, Chevy enlisted the talent of West Coast Customs to create a custom concept for the show. Here, the guys from West Coast Customs stand with their customized concept of the all-new '06 Chevrolet HHR that was revealed alongside the new production version of the HHR at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday, January 5, 2005.

Book Review
In the genre of automotive-enthusiast technical books, Chevy LS1/LS6 V-8s is destined to be a classic. The book's subtitle, "Modifying and Tuning Gen III Engines for GM Cars and Pickups," says it all. That is exactly what this book covers in outstanding detail and with a high level of accuracy. This is not the first book written about hot-rodding the General Motors Gen III small-block V-8s, but it is, clearly, the best one so far.

One reason for this is the author, Will Handzel, is a former automotive-magazine technical writer and currently the manager for General Motors' Performance Parts Program. Not only is he very experienced at writing the type of material in this book, as a GM employee, Mr. Handzel had unprecedented access to the people and information necessary for him to cover the subject with the depth you'll find in Chevy LS1/LS6 V-8s. Finally, Handzel's accessible, easy-going style makes the book as enjoyable as it is interesting and informative.

Another reason this book is a bang-up success is publisher CarTech's decision to use more pictures than it has in the past with books like this and to upgrade its printing processes such that those pictures are printed with higher resolution. As a result, this title is as good to look at as it is to read.

A technique Handzel used to illustrate the points he makes elsewhere in the book about various Gen III performance modifications is a series of four "demo" engine buildups. The first one, "100 Horsepower Anybody Can Install," by itself, is worth the price of the book. The other three include a 500+ horsepower street engine, a 600hp supercharged truck engine, and an exotic 1,200hp twin-turbo. Each buildup is a successive step in performance, complexity, and cost, and is explained in detail.

A really useful part of this book is the chapter devoted to tips and tricks experienced techs use to get Gen III engines in and out of Corvettes, Camaros, and light trucks. This isn't just a condensed version of factory service manual procedures. Rather, it is a collection of techniques professionals use to reduce the time and frustration of getting engines in and out of those vehicles.

In 1976, Bill Fisher wrote How to Hot Rod Small-Block Chevys. By standards of the automotive book trade, it was a runaway best-seller. A generation of Chevrolet enthusiasts became DIY engine builders because of that book. Today, nearly 30 years later, Fisher's book is still in print and continues provides Chevy DIYs with useful, practical knowledge on the Gen I SBV-8s. Will Handzel's Chevy LS1/LS6 V-8s will do the same thing for the new crop of Gen III small-block DIY engine builders and will do it with a similar level of success.

If you are intent on modifying an LS1, LS6, or any of the Gen IIIs used in fullsize GM trucks and SUVs or midsize SUVs, add this book to your reference shelf.- Hib Halverson

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