Explosive Idea
I'm building an '85 Chevy Stepside. It's going to be 'bagged and body-dropped. As a result, the rear suspension will protrude above the original wooden bed slats. Rather than just cut out a section for clearance, I'd like to do something more visually interesting.

I've seen trucks with metal beds where they built a rearend cover and then airbrushed it to look like metal that's been ripped apart. I'd like to do something along those lines but in wood, and I'd like to make it more exciting. I was hoping you might be able to share some ideas and suggestions. I appreciate your help.
Bob McNichols
via e-mail

Why not make the rearend look like it's blown a hole through the bed? We saw a truck with a jagged wooden bed at the recent SEMA Show, but we think the concept could be taken even further. We assume that somewhere on the truck you're going to have some air tanks, so why not paint them to look like bombs?

Whether you want to use your original wood boards or start with new ones, they'll need to be cut in a random, jagged manner with a saw. We'd get a new pine bed kit because pine is easier to work with. By using new wood, it would be easier to make it looked charred and burned. You could get this effect with paint or take a little propane torch (with the boards out of the truck) and actually burn the ends of the boards. If you go this route, you should spray the boards with clear to keep the look intact.

Mount two or three small-diameter reserve air tanks in front of the rearend. Slant them up toward the crossmember. Consider mounting the tanks slightly askew (or not, that might look odd). Do some research to see what old military bombs looked like (stenciled lettering, etc.) and paint the tanks accordingly. Maybe add some stabilizer fins or whatever to make the tanks look like bombs.

A great side benefit to the "bomb" air tanks is that you can use them as an excuse for why you can't take friends to the airport ("I'm sorry I can't take you-I'm just not in the mood to get arrested").

To further the whole explosion effect, get some red and orange LED kits that people use to illuminate truck frames. We've also seen LED kits that look like small flames. They were meant to go behind grilles, but you could place a set on each framerail. If you really want to take the LED thing to the limit, get a set with a remote control kit so the "fire" looks like it's active.