'89 Notable Notes
In the July '89 issue, coverage of the first Sport Truck Nationals appeared. The event was huge with 10,000-plus spectators. We can see why so many people showed up. GM gave away two brand-new small-block crate engines. And the legend that is the Sport Truck Nats began. We are less excited to report that we put a damn Pontiac Trans Sport minivan on the cover of the July issue.
Convertible trucks were all the rage in '89. In the September issue, we featured a ragtop roundup of seven different aftermarket convertible-top manufacturers, including our favorite, Ratical Tops.
'90 Notable Notes
Progressive Custom Wheels simultaneously fired us up and scared us with this ad. The chick is hot, but we're wondering what she could be hiding in all that hair. Holy hair extensions, Batman!
The Shelby-edition Dodge Dakota was the fastest production pickup during ST's test. With a top speed of 120 mph, it beat out the Chevy 454 SS, GMC S-15 and Sierra, Jeep Comanche, Nissan Hardbody, and a Roll-a-Long customized Ford F-150.
'91 Notable Notes
You guys with suede interiors are about 18 years too late. Ford's Design Center put suede in the Force 5 concept truck way back in '91.
In May, Sport Truck absorbed another Petersen truck title, Hot Truck magazine, in an effort to create one all-encompassing custom truck pub. We also scored Mike Magda from the staff of Hot Truck.
We tested GMC's amazing Syclone in the June issue. Rik Paul was the lucky SOB who got to flog the turbocharged, all-wheel-drive beast.
Kevin Wilson joined the staff and brought new meaning to the words "hot," "win," "new," and "free."
Centerforce Clutches made us wish we had paid more attention in Anatomy and Physiology class so that we could've asked our teacher what the hell the leftus calvis monstrous is.
'92 Notable Notes
We road-tested the baddest SUV on the planet, the AWD Typhoon. We coaxed it to a 6.5-second 0-to-60 time and a 15-second quarter-mile time. We also embarrassed a Mustang GT during the test.
Editor Hoyt Vandenberg pioneered the Viking horns way before washed-up rapper, Flava Flav, tried to get with washed-up actress/model, Brigitte Nielsen, on television.
In August, Jim Ewing of Bell Tech fame saved our butts by providing not one but two cover trucks for a shoot. Even more impressive, the second truck was a custom Ford, which was hard to come by at the time.
GMC killed the Syclone in '92. We still aren't done mourning the loss.
ST printed its first photo of a body-dropped truck. The front end of Pat Nicholl's Ballistic Toyota is visible in the Cal Jam coverage, although we didn't bother to write a caption for it.
'93 Notable Notes
One of those products that never caught on was the Dasum Corp. Curb Safe electronic warning system. For $99, you could have saved a lot of trips to the local Chevy dealer for a new front valance every time you ran over a parking block.
And the winner for the largest number of axles ever stuffed under a Hilux is... We have no clue, but check out the splatter graphics and mint-green paint!
Record number of axles, engineering explained: Rodney Turpin's Datsun relied on a sophisticated hydraulic system to raise two of three sets of axles so that his long hauler could make a U-turn.
'94 Notable Notes
We got to drive the development mule for the Viper-powered SRT10 truck way back in the September issue.
Did you know that Rancho made lowering kits for Chevy 1500s back in the day? We didn't either.
'95 Notable Notes
Naiser Racing Components' billet steering wheels were bitchin because they were solid, without a half-wrap, and you could order them in anodized colors. They weren't cheap, but neither was the machinework.
Trader's Truck Accessories was doling out the euro look before anyone else with its carbon-fiber-look interior dress-up kits.
'90s excess spilled over into the custom-truck world when guys started naming their trucks. Kevin Ball knocked one out of the park when he named his multicolored dualie "Sweat From Da Balls."
Future Truckin' magazine editor Steve Warner used to work at ST. He arrived in the October issue as the editorial assistant.
The first feature truck in ST to have the insanely popular Cadillac taillight conversion was a '70 Chevy owned by Lee Hirn. Hank James failed to mention the lights and the cool Caddy license-plate treatment in the tailgate in the story.
'96 Notable Notes
If you just couldn't get enough of coked-out hookers and butch-looking female officers on the TV show Cops, then you could have ordered the Cops: Too Hot for TV video in our July issue.
Colorado Custom dropped 20-inch billet wheels on the scene at the SEMA Show.
Art Morrison was building mandrel-bent chassis rails and complete frames with linked rear suspension and IFS way back in '96. With enough kick-up built into the 'rails, these could have become the first body-dropless chassis.
The '96 Dodge Ram Indy Special paced the Indy 500. The truck received a 5.9L V-8, Brilliant Blue Indy paint with wide white stripes, and 17-inch wheels.
'98 Notable Notes
The ST Nats finally came to California at Fontana's California Speedway.
This was the year we finally got wise and brought a mobile photo studio to all of the ST shows to shoot cover trucks with. Damn we're cool.
We printed our first two-wheel-drive lift-kit buyer's guide in the April issue and tried to explain why in the world anyone needed to lift a two-wheel-drive truck.
The Dodge Dakota 5.9L R/T truck smoked the field to win the Sport Truck of the Year crown in '98.
'00 Notable Notes
The first truck to drag its rockers through one of our feature stories without a traditional body drop was Jeff Lander's '92 Chevy Sportside. It featured a body-dropless chassis and Jeff's painting handiwork.
In September, we ran a story about 10 things we believe to suck. Unfortunately, author Phillip McKracken (that's got to be an alias for someone!) took shots at guys who build their trucks to drag on the ground, and that's just wrong. We're still embarrassed eight years later.
'01 Notable Notes
Sport Truck, along with several other Petersen titles, was sold to Emap, the largest publishing company in Europe, which made it the largest in the world. This was a good thing on many fronts because the company invested heavily in the magazine, which meant more color pages and fewer black and white stories in the magazine about colorful things. Yay!
David Brown penned the story proclaiming the new GMC Sierra C3 as our Sport Truck of the Year. The all-wheel-drive super truck was stuffed to the gills with extras like a factory-installed tonneau cover, a 6.0L V-8, four-wheel disc brakes, and 17-inch rims.
Big changes came right after the SEMA Show this year. Kevin Lee was sacked after getting home from Vegas, and when Jim Aust learned he wasn't getting the editor's chair he split in the middle of the night, leaving Calin as the lone staffer on ST. Calin put what was left of the March issue together himself, while Editorial Director Cole Quinell actually used the editor's column at the front of the magazine to solicit new talent. The headline read, "We want you to work here!"
Foreshadowing? Calin printed a photo of future editor Mike Finnegan's blue '97 Toyota Tacoma taken at the SEMA Show that year for his "Bitchin Trucks in the Desert" story in that same issue. Four years later, Mike became editor of ST and is still in the driver's seat. Cue the scary music
In April, Truckin' magazine Executive Editor Dan Sanchez left to become editor of ST.
In May, Wes Vreeland was hired fresh out of college to be ST's new feature photo-shoot editor. In June, we added another feature editor, Taylor Vlahos. Taylor arrived after interning at Car Craft
'02 Notable Notes
In June, we finally put another hottie on our cover. Thank God!
Painter Charles Armstrong showed the world what flames could really look like when he doused Kevin Cox's Silverado in true fire. In December, Taylor Vlahos left ST, and John O'Neil took her place.
2002 was the year satellite radio became a reality when both Sirius and XM launched into orbit.
'03 Notable Notes
The new-for-'03 Dodge Ram 1500 Hemi won our Sport Truck of the Year competition. We guess nobody on staff was that worried about its poor fuel economy and focused instead on its shiny set of dubs.
The big-wheel craze continued at SEMA when 26s started appearing on SUVs. Kumho offered a 305/30R26 tire in its Ecsta STX line of tires.
ST snagged Gary Blount from local tuner, Turbo City, and put him on the staff. He did time at several Primedia pubs throughout the years, sharing his vast technical knowledge.
Yet another subliminal clue that Mike Finnegan would indeed someday show up working on ST: Then-editor Kevin Wilson, in an effort to broaden his own horizons and that of his readers, borrowed Mike's guide to street slang from the pages of Mini Truckin' and printed it in his September column.
'04 Notable Notes
The '04 Sport Truck of the Year test revealed two things. First, Calin and Kevin both had a sense of humor, and pink is not Calin's color. Second, we realized that pitting a Dodge SRT10 against a Chevy Colorado doesn't really work. So, the SRT10 nabbed our first-ever Performance Pickup of the Year award, and the Nissan Titan grabbed the Truck of the Year title.
Gary Blount saved the day after we inherited the Hot Rod Hemi, an '02 Dodge Ram stuffed with a 528-inch Hemi crate motor. The truck had been driven hard and needed a full rebuild in time for the SEMA Show. Gary pulled it off, and after the show we somehow lost the truck. We guess the guys at HR liked it so much that they repo'd it and we never really got to cruise the thing. Oh well.
Our corporate licensing company put out a set of toy trucks called Sport Truck Lifters, which is a lame name for a style of truck that we weren't really known for back in '04. Why didn't they put out a 4/6 dropped Silverado on some billet wheels? Your guess is as good as ours.
'05 Notable Notes
The field was just four trucks deep in the last installment of the Sport Truck of the Year test. With so many hurdles to getting the OEMs to cough up the right trucks at the right time to test, this was all we could manage to test. Toyota's Tacoma X-Runner was the clear winner, with grippy handling and a motor that just wouldn't quit. We fell in love with this midsize from the first hit of the go-pedal.
The July issue marked the last time Joe Pettit and John O'Neil's names were on the masthead of the magazine. Joe bolted for a job with a trade publication, and John followed the dollars to another truck rag before the issue was finished. A search for Joe's replacement turned up Mike Finnegan, who just finished playing in the dirt and water at Off-Road and Hot Boat magazines. Finnegan settled in just in time to put the finishing touches on the cover, and he's been tweaking the mag along with the staff from behind his desk ever since.
'06 Notable Notes
In March, we hired Kevin Aguilar to replace Tom Gomez as our feature editor, and our cover shots have never looked so good.
Gary Blount also followed the dollars right out the door and onto another truck publication in May. It took a few months, but we found his replacement in a mini-trucker who had just helped launch a garage-based underground magazine about what else? Custom trucks. Galen Armenta became the staff editor in July. We also found our current art director and the man responsible for the visual upgrades ST recently received in August. Andy Mock is our new art monkey and resident home renovator guy.
Today & Beyond....
Our world is in a constant state of transition. The parts and styles we drooled over 20 years ago for the most part aren't hip today. The big-wheel craze of the last decade isn't dead, but we are running out of room inside of our truck's fenders. Are tiny wheels going to come back into fashion? Probably not in the near future, but we have noted quite a few truck guys recapturing their youth through old-school, budget-minded truck builds.
The next five years are going to be interesting to say the least. With a technological explosion that's allowed the home builder to possess the tools of professionals, the build quality of every custom truck has been taken to a level never possible when our world was in its infancy. We can't wait to see what the next two decades bring. Our crystal ball runs on beer and is only good for six months, so here's a quick look at what you can expect from Sport Truck. First off, you can expect the same staff! Everyone gets to keep his job, so there's no big changes there (with the exception of Galen, who went to Mini Truckin'). But, we're going to be giving you 101 free paint and body-mod ideas, so be sure to buy the January issue. In the meantime, enjoy some memorable quotes from Calin, Kevin, and Mike from the production of this story.
12 Memorable Quotes Uttered During This Little Research Project
"If you cover up her hair, she looks like a man."
"If I see one more Bell Tech-/Boyd-looking truck today I'm gonna barf."
"That's a lot of hair spray."
"Oh look, another minivan. Yay!"
"Those are some sweet shorts."
"No goatees in the '80s. It's all about the Burt Reynolds 'stache."
"1,600 miles in a Geo Tracker? No thanks."
"It looks like Walt Disney threw up on her."
"Look at the size of that bathing suit. That's just wrong."
"That photo even comes with a pervert."
"That paintjob looks like a pair of Jimmy'Z shorts."
"Hey look, it's a chop-top in a box!"