We're in for a bumpy ride. At no point in history have I ever witnessed a more perfect storm for putting a serious hurting on our hobby. Granted, I haven't been around all that long, but can any of you remember when we had so many forces aligned against us? The economy, the environmentalists, and even politicians are standing in the way of building custom trucks.
The price of gas is rising faster than anyone's salary. The housing market is on its way into the toilet, so no one can use his house as an ATM machine to pay for a big-budget build anymore. We've got assemblymen, senators, and other influential political cronies crafting legislature that could potentially penalize us for buying vehicles powered by V-8 engines. Did you remember that we are also still at war? I know it's tough to remember that for some of us because the nightly news only reminds us when an American soldier is killed. I've been patiently waiting for our soldiers to come home and start hopping up their trucks again. All of these factors add up to a country that isn't buying as many pickups as it used to. More importantly, fewer gearheads are modifying their trucks because most of their extra cash has been sucked out of their wallets faster than a Twinkie disappears at a fat camp.
Is there a bright side to all of this? Maybe, if your assets are liquid. It's a great time to buy stuff if you don't mind profiting off of another enthusiast's misery. The deals on projects and completed trucks are insane. Toys are being fire-saled by their owners as they struggle to keep their homes. It's a sad state of affairs, but a free-market economy never benefits everyone at the same time. On the other hand, performance companies are not just focusing on producing more horsepower now either. Many of the aftermarket tuners are finding power and better fuel economy in the latest V-8 and V-6 engines. The '08 Chevy power-tuning story in this issue of Sport Truck is a good example of how the right parts will not only make your truck faster but more fuel efficient as well. Our Silverado is getting better than 2 more miles per gallon than it did in stock form thanks purely to some well thought-out bolt-on speed parts.
I'm not expecting the economy to turn around or the war to end any sooner than I expect the price of a gallon of fossil fuel to miraculously drop back to levels we saw just last year. With that in mind, we are cranking up the do-it-yourself tech articles aimed at helping you guys save cash while still enjoying your sport trucks. This month, we're showing you how to smoke out your own taillights. We've also got some great articles on custom painting and detailing for the home mechanic and a new tire test of some great-looking treads that will actually last a long while on a lifted rig.
When your bank account doesn't agree with your favorite mail-order catalog or the sticker prices of a new rig, try this: a truck makeover. We'd all love a new set of wheels, but that's expensive. Instead, give your rims a quick polish and powdercoat job. Color-matching rims are all the rage now and it's a lasting finish that will accentuate any paintjob. Some new billet engine parts would be great too, but instead of dropping the coin you could always degrease and paint your motor. The little details will make as much of an impact as the shiniest new parts. It will be awhile before things get back to normal and you can fearlessly enjoy owning a speedy custom truck, but in the meantime we'll keep fighting the good fight and providing you with information on the best our hobby has to offer.
On a more somber note, we have to say goodbye to Associate Editor Galen Armenta, who's moved on to another magazine in the Source Interlink stable. Galen is now feeding his mini-truck obsession full-time over at what else? Mini Truckin' magazine. We wish him well and good luck. Don't worry though, his Colorado is just about done and there are several buildup articles in the works that will be appearing in Sport Truck real soon. The next one is a story on the truck's interior, which you'll find in the October issue. See you then.