One of my first projects here at Mini Truckin' was attending the SEMA Show, and the main assignment for the event was to shoot the now infamous Gauge magazine's Air Hopper. This wasn't going to be an ordinary shoot, either. We knew we wanted to shoot it at night somewhere in town and make it totally different than anything we had ever seen before. Of course, this was an exciting time for me. We were going to get a private show by Matt Petro and his group of friends. It was to be an exhibition on pure craziness, and what would be a better location than a parking structure with a view of the Las Vegas Strip?

To make things even more interesting, this was a new truck. This was the third version of the project S-10 Air Dancer. Matt had been working on this project for a few years, and every time around became even more amazing than the last version. Matt had been to Vegas with his Air Hopper before, but this time was a slightly different truck. This truck has a self contained air system with the help of Air Zenith's new air compressors. The truck has been all over the country, and it even has its own poster in circulation. So, we knew we were in for quite a show.

Matt told us he had been tweaking on this truck to the very last minute to make it ready to show and hop, and we would be able to watch it in action on its first attempt. What we witnessed was simply insane. The truck hopped so intensely that it made people come running out of their rooms in the nearby hotel to catch a glimpse of the madness. The aftermath was as insane as the beginning, the cops came and gave us the thumbs up, as apposed to tickets, and the truck was toast, but not dead, as it would rise again.

We knew this truck would run in our paint and body special because of how much of a nightmare it must be to fix this thing over and over again. When you look at the pics, you can see the kind of damage that is done on an ordinary day. It's just another day at the office for Matt and his company. Matt said that his sponsors are his lifeline, without them none of this would have been possible. The countless hours really paid off when we saw the attention this truck receives at any given show. Matt also said he has a wonderful crew which includes, Matt Mason, Joe Mattes, and Toby Mosholder. They really helped to bring this project to life with their dedicated hours.

Plans for the future are pretty simple, they first hope to recruit more people to be involved with air hopping as a sport. Second, they hope to educate others about air hopping, and to show people what they can do with air to their minis through the companies that are available. So, next time you're at a show, keep an eye out for Gauge magazine and the Air Hopper. It's a show you won't want to miss.

The Lowdown

Rolling Attire
Wheels (Front/Rear): 14x7 100-spoke MobWire Wheels
Tires (Front/Rear): 175/85R14 Toyo, with inner tubes for sidewall support

Chassis Modifications
Front Suspension:
Tubular upper and lower arms, 3-inch pre runner lift spindles, Slam Specialties' XS-7 600psi Air Springs, 1/2-inch Air Lift 500psi prototype air valves, #8 hi-pressure Pro Hopper hoses, Custom fit spring pockets, custom upper control arm mounting tabs, reinforced upper and lower control arms, and a custom silver metallic powdercoating finish on all suspension parts.

Rear Suspension:
Custom three-link style rear link bars, cantilever 'bag lift bars, custom swivel joints on the link ends, 3-inch full-custom rear axle housing, custom trailer axle, spindles and rotors, Slam Specialties' 600psi air springs, 1/2-inch Air Lift 500psi prototype air valves, #8 hi-pressure Pro Hopper hoses and fittings.

Chassis:
Full frame has been boxed in with steel, reinforced crossmembers have been added to accommodate the abuse of the excessive force, cab mounts reinforced, custom front air tank mounts, custom cab tank/battery mounts, custom rear tank mounts and compressor mounts, limiting chains front and rear rated at 2650 lbs.

Body Modifications
Shaved door handles, cowl induction hood, phantom billet grille, smooth and modified front bumper, smooth wiper cowl, full custom bed assembly, smooth rear full skin, tailgate/roll pan combo, shaved taillights, and a smooth firewall.

Electrical
Four yellow top Optima Group 31 batteries, four Air Zenith 200psi air compressors, two Digital Raptor distribution blocks, sixteen Keep It Clean 40-amp heavy duty relays, four gauge Raptor power wires, Raptor battery terminals, sixteen 18-inch LED sticks, three 48-inch LED sticks, custom interior accent pods, and sixteen switch pre-wired switch control box.

Interior
Full custom Line-X interior, two 8-1/2-gallon air tanks, four yellow top Group 31 Optima Batteries, sixteen-switch control relays, power distribution, custom billet steering wheel

Special Thanks (by owner):
Melissa Petro, Toby Mosholder, Mike England, Lil Bill, Donnie Babb, Ginger Babb, Matt Mason, Joe Mattes, Steve Summers, Paul Howard, Scott Jones, Mike Stoops, Kraig Simpson, Paul Chen, Todd Robertson, Jason Thorbecke, Jody Creau, Webs Mobile Electronics, and especially to Gauge Online magazine.