So, we just moved into a really tall-ass office building in Anaheim, California, right next door to the California Angels' (or Los Angeles Angels, or whatever they're being called now) home stadium. The building is now home to Mini Truckin' H.Q. - on the seventh floor, all the company's truck titles have been reunited. Staffers from Mini Truckin', Truckin', Sport Truck, OFF-ROAD, and 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility are all working elbow to elbow once again, like we all used to back in the day. I'm really looking forward to this pool of truck-minded people being together again. I'm also hoping that because everyone is back together, we can grow as a group, as well as individual titles.
Yesterday, I was taking the elevator to the bottom floor when I ran into someone who works on a floor above me. He has nothing to do with Primedia or any of our titles here, but was interested in what I do for a living. I mentioned briefly that I ran a custom/compact-truck magazine called Mini Truckin', and he'd heard of it. Funny, one of the only questions he had after that was whether or not I owned a truck. When I answered, I said I have three trucks but that only one is in any shape to be driven. It was then that I realized I own one of every genre of truck out there at this moment in time. I have a fullsize, a midsize, and a mini-truck. I've always been fully aware that I've never owned the keys to a vehicle that didn't have a truck bed attached to it. I sat and wondered if I'd ever own a car and why it was that I started with trucks - and have always stayed with them. Over the years, I've had a bunch of Toyota trucks, a Datsun, and a Dodge Dakota. That's a lot of trucks for one guy to own in 17 years, and there's not a single car in the lot of them.
When I started out, I drove a raggedy '71 Datsun 521 that was every bit an eyesore. I spent very little money on the truck, and since it took leaded gas (who even remembers leaded gas now, huh?), I just drove the tires off that poor pomegranate-colored pile. I then handed the Datsun's keys to my dad and bought my first brand-new truck - an '89 Toyota standard cab with A/C and five-speed, and not a damn thing else for options. This was the first truck I lowered and began going a little crazy with. Before long, I was showing the truck at local truck shows around Southern California and joined my first truck club.
After a few years of showing the '89, I got bored with the same old, same old and had Trendsetter (a now-defunct originator in custom-lowered suspensions from Orange County) do a full air ride using air shocks. After I'd had the truck for about three years, I decided that my ground-scraping mini needed a change, so I lifted it. Lifting my pampered mini-truck was probably the worst idea I'd ever had. I immediately thought I was Ivan Stewart and began beating the living hell out of the poor machine in mud and dirt on every occasion I had. Finally, I beat the poor Toyota to death. It looked like it, too, so I sold the truck and bought something older that I wouldn't feel so bad about beating the crap out of.
The second truck was also a Toyota, but this time I stepped up and bought my first Xtracab. I worked on this truck for about two or three years and built another show-winning mild custom. I'd also started working for Mini Truckin' magazine and no longer had time to work on the truck. It ended up being sold as a semi-completed custom to another enthusiast here in SoCal. My third truck, yet another Toyota, I lifted as well (still hadn't learned my lesson) after yanking the torsion bars out of the '85 Xtracab for a few months. I wound up creating a pretty decent desert truck out of it. I sold that truck to a guy in Hawaii, who then totaled it on a lava flow on the Big Island.
Finally, thinking mini-trucks were possibly bad for me at this point in my life, I went to the local Dodge dealer and bought myself a '97 Dodge Dakota V-8 Sport. I went through tires like crazy for about two or three years because I loved the sound of the Magnum engine spinning up to higher rpm and smoking the crap out of the tires at every possible chance I got. I was able to work with several companies that made lowering parts for the newly redesigned truck, and I lowered the truck on Colorado Custom wheels that Charles Armstrong from Auto Art Studios in Prescott, Arizona, designed. This brought on a buildup process that's dragged on since 1998 and continues to this day. Since I stopped driving the Dakota, I bought a '91 Toyota Xtracab and started working on it until I had an offer from a friend to buy the truck that I just couldn't refuse - what to do now? I bought an '03 Toyota Tundra (my first and only fullsize truck) and decided to do very little, if anything, to it. I've almost succeeded up until now. The truck is currently in the process of having more done, though I'm trying to keep my hands off of it so I can get the friggin' Dakota finished one day in this lifetime.
In the first paragraph, I mentioned that I have three trucks. If you've been paying attention, you know that I still have my Dakota (aka Project Purgatory), and I drive my Tundra on a daily basis. That leaves one truck unmentioned, which I've been dying to tell our faithful readers about. Truth be known, I bought yet another mini-truck a couple of months ago, and it's waiting to be built once the Dakota is done and show-worthy. I'll soon be able to show you what I bought and have planned. I'll be debuting the newest truck I hold a pink slip to in the next few months, but until then, I can't hold it in any longer. I found a truck that no one has ever built as a custom. As incredible as it may sound, there's just never been a custom "one of these" before. I'd love to show it to you readers, as soon as I get things ready for a full-blown buildup in the pages of Mini-Truckin'. More soon!