ST came to life with the November '88 issue. Drew Hardin ran the show and Rik Paul backed him up.
Our innagural issue was full of anything even remotely truck-related. ST covered off-road racing and on-road racing and even road-tested minivans (ugh!). It would take awhile, but we finally figured out that few truck guys cared about fixing up their wife's primary mode of transportation.
The feature article on Walker Evans' new Dodge Dakota race truck showed off our photo studio and art techniques still employed by custom-truck mags today. The juxtaposition of the off-road truck and the sanitary studio still works after all these years.
Goodyear was the first tire company to launch a tire product specifically for sport trucks, when it debuted its directional-tread-pattern Wrangler MT.
In addition to the SUVs and minivans, we road-tested several trucks in '88, including the new F-150 pickup.
We dig this ad because basically it says you should buy a Nissan Hardbody because it's got "massive" 31-inch-tall tires and can safely carry alligators in the bed.
Stadium and Baja truck racing was huge in the late '80s, and Sport Truck was one of the first mags to cover it. The OEMs were hip to the Baja vibe as well, with Ford, Chevy, and Nissan all offering trucks with oversize tires and bed-mounted rollbars. Since then, magazines dedicated solely to off-roading popped up and the OEMs also stopped building Baja-style trucks for the masses, so ST stopped covering that segment of truck fun.
In November 1989, GMC Motorsports set a landspeed record of 194.770 mph in a highly modified S-15 mini-truck at the famed Bonneville Salt Flats. Since then, everyone has taken his shot at going fast in a truck at Bonneville.
BFGoodrich introduced the Mud-Terrain T/A. Although lifted street-driven trucks wouldn't gain favor for another six years, once they did this was the tire to have even if your truck never saw the dirt.
File This Under WTF?
Not only were truck lovers already complaining about the coverage of vans in Sport Truck, but the staff decided to burn a full page on its favorite cooking recipes. These included: Amy's Ann Arbor Burgers, Rik's Mulled Cider, Drew's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies, and Gretchen's Western-style Beans. We can't blame them-the magazine was still trying to define its identity while the aftermarket tried to peg just what a sport truck was and who the hell was building them.
In the January issue, readers got a glimpse of the future in ST's first full-blown feature shoot. Deron Wright's '85 Toyota mini was the star of one color and one black-and-white page.
The first of 11 different logo changes for the ST cover occurred in the April '90 issue.
April 1990. Bob Carpenter was so enamored with the new Isuzu P'up that he remarked, "There's more to this Isuzu than stunning paint."
June 1990. Our very first celebrity appearance came in the form of the Motor City Madman, Ted Nugent, who posed next to his freshly rebuilt Ford Bronco. Originally built for $100,000, Nugent thrashed it for eight years before the folks at Ford put it back into shape.
Way back in the August issue, Stylin' Concepts had already built and was ready to give away its first promotional truck. Stylin' is still in the giveaway business, building a new promotional truck each year.
In the January '91 issue, we reported that GMC broke its own record by going 204.145 mph at Bonneville in the Syclone Land Speed Racer. Don Stringfellow was behind the wheel and commanding a bored-and-stroked 5.0L V-6 with 14:1 compression. The engine cranked out 574 hp at 7,400 rpm and was backed by a Wiseman five-speed manual. Gale Banks was credited with articulating the build of the truck. We also covered the SEMA Show before anyone else and debuted our reader-submitted tech-tip section.
Editorial Assistant Evan Griffey's 'fro made an appearance in the January '91 issue in a theft-deterrent buyer's guide.
In March, we screwed the pooch by printing a tech article about Spectre's purple anodized engine dress-up kit in all black-and-white print. In that same issue, we made up for it by showing you GM's new H.O. 350-cid crate motor and how to shave your door handles, also in black and white. GM began advertising its fantastic S-10 Pickup Trickup Contest too.
We were right on the money with our Toyota T100 concept rendering in the February '91 issue by Duane Kuchar. The truck didn't come out for several more years and was damn close to our drawing. The Reader's Rides section debuted in the February issue as well.
In June, we launched our Low Buck Challenge to find the coolest truck built on a $5,500 budget.
Stylin' Concepts gave away another truck in the August issue. The winner got a custom GMC Sierra. Oh yeah, you could also subscribe to win a GMC Syclone in that same issue if you cared about that sort of thing.
Hoyt Vandenberg joined the staff in September '91 and years of debauchery ensued. Just kidding. No, really.
File This Under WTF?
Brand loyalty taken to new heights in personal grooming.
Rhino Lining showed us the first spray-in bedliner in the February issue.
In the March issue, some dude from Canada sent us a photo of his '91 Sonoma with him stand
In the January issue, we printed some renderings by Chip Foose way before anyone knew he w
In the June issue, we committed a faux pas by offering a tech tip that suggested a cheap way to carry your tools around in a used woman's purse. Why didn't we say to use an old duffel bag? Yeah, we wonder that too.
Our first-ever feature truck on air was in the August issue. It was a magenta pearl '87 Ma
We found the first-ever murdered-out truck in the November issue. Yeah, time to start over
Celebrity Quote (Apr. '93)
"You can always find a copy of Sport Truck in the shops of Hot Rods by Boyd because it is up to date on what is happening. The editors of Sport Truck keep it interesting for the hardcore enthusiast while still managing to inform the newest truckers."RIP Boyd.
Arizona Speed and Marine built the fastest 454 SS we'd seen in '93. Motivated by a 630-hor
MOMO wheels were always sought after, but when the company dropped the infamous Teddy Bear
BFG's colorful ad did two things: It stuck in everyone's head forever and showed off Dan M
Bell Tech revolutionized sport truck advertising with its series of high-concept advertisements featuring hot models and the effects of its products on them. This one literally pushed readers away from Yugo import cars and into Bell Tech-dropped Chevys.
Actor Burt Reynolds and somebody else's hair made an appearance at the '93 SEMA Show and in our March issue.
Our first feature truck with a bridge notch cover appeared in the September '94 issue. The truck was a '68 Chevy owned by Eric Valimaki.
In the October issue, we gave away the sister truck to Eddie Van Halen's Vanhauler to Robert Cotter. His entry was picked from 92,600 others. We wonder if he's still got it.
Recaro got everyone thinking about cracks and seats with this ad in the April issue.
Was it laziness or pure genius when Chris Leidholdt turned his truck into a tandem-axle mi
One of the first late-model Dodge trucks we ever featured was built by Boyd. The red single-cab featured a shaved front end, doors, and rear, custom pinstriping, a set of Boyd's own 17s, and BFG Comp T/A rubber.
American Sunroof Company's '94 S-10 caused a ruckus thanks to its Targa-style roof treatment and slick appearance. The industry had been inundated with convertible conversions for years and ASC was in the mix, but the Targa top was a fresh idea that never quite caught on even though it looked great.
By the time the March issue went to print, Hoyt Vandenberg had left the building, opening the door for future SEMA president Peter MacGillivray to take the reins of ST starting with the April issue.
The April issue and several others we printed in '95 featured a term on the cover coined by the Sport Truck staff for trucks that roamed on asphalt and not dirt. The term was later ripped off by a start-up magazine we're all familiar with at the turn of the century. The new mag even robbed the font we used for our new term for its cover logo. You know what they say about imitation.
Al Martinez got it right when he included a bikini contest in his Truck Jamboree shows. His show routinely grabbed the coveted "best bikini contest" award.
Here's a couple of standouts: A hot-pink Pro Street Toyota mini powered by a BBC and a chick with a dude's haircut.
In the January issue, Editor MacGillivray responded to longstanding accusations from disgruntled readers that the staff held a bias toward Chevy trucks versus other brands. Not much has changed since then. Chevy is still the number one customized truck in the country and the one we end up photographing most often. Coincidentally, it's also the brand that sells the most magazines for us.
The February issue introduced our Sport Truck of the Year testing, which was the first test by a truck magazine that wasn't just a regurgitated press kit. ST actually rented out Los Angeles County Raceway (RIP) and put five different trucks and SUVs through their paces. The winner was Ford's redesigned F-150 Flareside.
The louvers and Pro Street look of Tony and Robin Gomes' '91 Chevy were nothing new, but the airbrushed side trim that emulated '58 Impala styling was ahead of its time. The trim used airbrushing tricks that made it look like chrome trim was indeed transplanted onto the truck.
In the April issue, we noted that Edelbrock hopped on Al Gore's Superhighway by launching one of the first websites (www.edelbrock.com) to offer technical info.
Nothing made us want to drive up a hill looking for hitchhiking hotties like the old Jardine Performance Exhaust ads with the pink truck and the naughty hottie in the short skirt.
Just when we thought the embarrassment ended with the elimination of vans from our coverage, we went and tested jet boats in the August issue. Worse yet, we didn't test a bunch of fire-breathing, big-block-powered jets either. No, we tested a bunch of oversize PWCs. We're still living that one down. Steve Warner was the star of the photo shoot. Maybe that's how he moved up from editorial assistant to associate editor the following month.
Antera Opus 1 wheels made a first appearance on Mike Salinas's '94 Chevy and began a trend that lasted for the next five years as they became the most famous three-spoke design ever.
Who could forget the completely fake image of the Bullet Suspension Dodge Ram jumping across the January cover? It wasn't the last time the staff pulled that sort of photo trickery either.
Another logo change: The squiggly lines appeared behind the logo on the August cover.
We dropped the first bound-in sticker sheet in ST history. Readers were treated to toolbox fodder from Borla, Summit Racing, and Champion Sparkplugs.
December '97: The first time we cursed on the cover of the magazine.
Joel Mollis joined the staff in November as the technical editor.
Side Note: We just noticed that we never printed a story on installing four-wheel air shocks on a mini-truck even though for years until airbags became popular mini-truckers everywhere were blowing them up by the truckload trying to build the lowest truck on the block. We swear that mini-truckers single-handedly kept Gabriel and Rancho in business back in the day from all those air shock sales.
1998 brought about a slew of staff changes. In March, Joel Mollis left the mag and Christian Lee came aboard as a staff editor. Both would later feed their need to play in the dirt at Off-Road and 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility magazines. In May, Steve Warner left ST for the seemingly greener pasteurs of Chevy High Performance magazine. Later on, he moved to Truckin' and has been there to this day. He was replaced by Kevin Lee. Matt King, who went on to fame at Car Craft magazine came in August, replacing Gary Robinson, who left and went to work for Chevron in the oil fields of Los Angeles. By December, the staff grew again with the addition of Travis Noack and everyone got a cool new job title, except Peter who was still in charge.
In the October issue, we printed our first air suspension lowering story. Matt King and Chassis Tech showed us how easy it was to put adjustable suspension on a Dodge Dakota.
What an idea! Organizers put up a temporary dam in the Santa Ana riverbed in front of Angels Stadium and then pumped twelve million gallons of water into it. Jet Jam '97 was born. Jet Ski racing and a sport truck show were the order of the day, and it went off! This cool event only lasted two years.
We literally got the very first '99 Chevy truck off the assembly line. Our redesigned truck was serial number 0001. We proceeded to add a roll pan and a prototype set of Street Scene mirrors and then drop it over a set of 18s.
The innagural Sport Truck Challenge popped off in the January issue. We pitted six distinctively different reader-owned trucks in quarter-mile racing, 60-foot slalom, 60-to-0-mph braking, fuel economy, and ride-'n'-drive categories. Doug Blocker schooled the field in his '57 Chevy truck. He ran a 12.62 e.t. quarter-mile time with a 408-inch small-block and got 10.4 mpg using a Tex Racing Super T10 automatic trans and 3.70 rear gears. Four-wheel disc brakes stopped the hulk in 125 feet, which netted First Place in braking in addition to his win in the drag race. It was enough to offset his Sixth Place finish in the fuel economy category and give him the win.
In February, we crowned a new Sport Truck of the Year. The redesigned '99 Chevy Silverado debuted and won the crown.
In March, Kevin Lee replaced Peter MacGuillavry as editor of the mag.
More staff changes occurred when Christian Lee left in February and then Jim Aust came aboard in May. By June, Matt King left for Hot Rod magazine. In September, Travis bolted for a spot at Truckin' magazine, and he was so valuable that it took two men to fill his size 7s. David Brown and Rick Amado became staff editor and technical editor, respectively.
Fabtech made it OK to lift your 2x4 truck with its blue powdercoated lineup of lift kits. Whether you drove a '73 C10 or a '99 Toyota, there was a long-travel kit to make it look like a prerunner ready to get stuck off-road. In fact, we used the blue parts to sky our '99 Chevy in the November issue.
The second installment of the Sport Truck Challenge appeared in the January issue and Randy Dubois' '97 Dodge Ram SS/T ate up the competition in the slalom, braking, and ride-'n'-drive portions of the event. A Third Place at the track in the drag race gave him a narrow victory over Sam Head's '67 Chevy C10. Sam is Calin Head's dad; Calin would land a job as tech editor at ST shortly thereafter.
In February, we crowned the Dodge Dakota Quad Cab 4.7L Magnum V-8 our Truck of the Year. It miraculously beat out Ford's SVT Lightning supercharged truck, the new Tundra from Toyota, and other worthy competitors from GM and Nissan.
Side Note: A little known fact is that the opening shot of the TOTY story was taken at the Salton Sea right after several staffers dunked their detailing towels in the salty water to clean the trucks off with. That didn't work out so well, and the staff gave up salty foods for a week.
Yet another staff change. Rick Amado bailed in September, and by October Calin Head joined the staff and has been here ever since. As the longest-serving member of ST, he's seen more behind-the-scenes BS than anyone.
One of the coolest stories we've ever printed was Jim Aust's interview in the January '01 issue with Harry Bradley, one of the designers of the '67 Chevy truck.
Who could forget the Boyd Coddington wheel ads featuring Sandee Westgate and that infamous "Got 20s" license plate?
The next celebrity-owned truck we featured was comedian and star of the Fox sitcom Titus, Christopher Titus's '00 Ford Lightning, which featured a flame job by Dennis Rickles. The truck rode on new 20-inch wheels by Foose.
The August issue was our largest ever at 260 pages long.
Our first lifted truck cover was the September issue.
In July, ST went all-color!
The March issue also employed a new format for feature-truck stories in which the staff didn't bother writing a story at all. We just printed some photos with cheesy captions. Sorry.
The '01 installment of the Sport Truck Challenge was unique because we had some ringers in the mix. Mark and Leann Sargent of Lewisville, Texas, took a simple approach to building their ride and it paid off. They stuffed an LT4 Corvette motor and T56 six-speed trans into their standard cab '92 Chevy, which pushed it to 14.62 quarter-mile times. The truck stopped from 60 mph in 140.5 feet and ran a 600-foot slalom course at nearly 60 mph for the win
In the January issue, we got a sneak peek of the new Chevy Colorado.
In February, McMullen bought out Emap, and the newly formed Primedia became the new kingpin magazine publishing company. Kevin Wilson left the editor's desk of Truckin' and came over to ST to replace Cole Quinnell as editorial director. We also crowned the new Dodge Ram Sport our Sport Truck of the Year in the same issue.
In April, publisher Todd Horn and editor Dan Sanchez both left the mag at the same time, making Kevin Wilson the editor and editorial director for the group of truck magazines at the same time.
Long before it became common to cut the rockers off a truck in order to lay the doors on the ground with an air suspension and a body drop, Geral Ashe dropped this bomb on the scene. He cut 12 inches off the bottom of his Nissan Hardbody, slicing right though the doors and front bumper to make it the lowest, if not most hacked-up, mini we've ever seen.
After the SEMA Show, Mike Finnegan rebuilt his Tacoma while working at Mini Truckin' magazine. Three years later, the truck was traded away and he was rockin' a fullsize Chevy and working at ST.
When Banks decided to go back to Bonneville to chase another record, we got in on the buildup of the Sidewinder Dakota with these behind-the-scene pics.
We succumbed to the power of the almighty penis-enlargement dollar in August with another lame advertisement.
Banks' Sidewinder Dakota reset the FIA diesel truck record at Bonneville in '03 with a 217-mph average. It then pulled its own support trailer back home. Talk about durable!
In March, Wes Vreeland headed back home and left the mag.
Calin goes to PA! We can count on one hand the number of truck shows Senior Editor Calin Head has attended over the years, but in January he covered the Carlisle All-Truck Nats by himself!
In June, we launched our Low-Buck Challenge to find the coolest truck built on a $5,500 budget.
The Dodge Ram SRT-10 finally made an appearance in production trim in the July '03 issue. We're still salivating over this standard cab, six-speed manual, V-10-equipped rocket to this day.
In September, we also ran a feature on Steve Platt's GMC Sonoma, which was later turned into a Hot Wheels car by Mattel.
In November, we partnered with Truckin' to throw a show right on the famous Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas. We can't remember a damn thing from that weekend.
2004 was a year of firsts. In January, we brought water-based automotive paints to the world thanks to Auto-Air Colors. We also printed the first story on how to stock-floor body drop a truck in the December issue.
In June, we reported that the Guinness Book of World Records declared the Dodge Ram SRT10 as the world's fastest production pickup after it made a pair of kilo runs over 154 mph.
Here's a trend that we can't wait for to die: faux animal print upholstery
In May, we crowned Chris Quesada the winner of our Low-Buck Challenge after checking out the pics of his graphic-adorned '87 S-10.
28-inch wheels became a reality in August.
Kevin Wilson was the first editor to leave a goodbye note when bailing on ST. He penned his last editor's column the November before heading for a sweet marketing gig in Arizona. Recently though, the magazine business sucked him back in at another publication. With the exception of Calin, Kevin spent more time working on ST than anyone and he'll always be missed around the office. With the December issue, Managing Editor Joe Pettit took the wheel of ST.
In 2005, we started doing a lot of extra promotions to say thanks to our readers. We added several "Instant Expert" guides to customizing throughout the year that were a hit. The staff also launched the Busted Knuckles section of the mag for unfinished but innovative project trucks.
After the rug got pulled out from under us by the guys upstairs, our pull-out calendar was stuffed into the edit pages of the January issue, where we showed everyone how to make his own pinup-girl mobile.
In June, we exposed the old-school movement that was sweeping through the scene with a photo shoot of three different trucks, each with a different slant on the style.
Jonathan Hoffman of Saratoga Springs, New York, was our second Low-Buck Challenge winner.
We examined the big-wheel/skinny-tire dualie craze in the December issue by using Mike's dualie as a guinea pig for a set of Brentz Wheels 19-inch billet wheels. Surprisingly, the Pirelli tires held up well for being so overloaded, and they damn sure looked better than the 16s the truck had on it.
Poor new guy Tom Gomez got the task of researching all 50 state laws about lifting your truck for the January issue. By February, Tom ditched the long commute from Lake Elsinore to Anaheim and hit the bricks for a job at a calendar production company. Boy, did he burn out quick.
The January issue marked a series of design changes in ST. Change is good. We decided to put all of the tech articles together, all of the feature stories in one spot, and all of the lifestyle coverage in another, giving us three new pages to stroke our photographic egos with each month.
Wedding proposals? Sure, why not? Jonathan Rascoe got real creative, using his feature article to pop the question to his girl. Good thing she said yes or he'd have to go on a magazine-burning rampage across the nation.
Mike proved the usefulness of longbed trucks.
Side Note: Somewhere along the line, we let some idiot named Mark write a column in ST about some random stuff and it didn't last long. No one seemed to notice when the column unceremoniously disappeared from the magazine.
We dedicated the January issue to the popular Busted Knuckles section of the mag.
Perhaps our single greatest moment of sheer genius was when we conceived the idea to make
In November, we scooped the rest of the industry by putting the first laid out '07 Chevy S
The December issue marked the return of the Sport Truck Challenge and the Havoc show's mov
Kevin put his set-building skills to work by dressing up a shipping container down at the docks in Long Beach for a story on exporting your truck overseas.