The year was 1985. Dick DeLoach had just finished up a five-year editorship with Truckin’ magazine—a title he held from ’79-’84—and editing a little rag called VaNews, which catered specifically to the custom van crowd. The popularity of the shaggin’ wagon started dying off and the rise of minitrucks began escalating quickly during the mid-to-late ’80s. Looking to promote the new automotive counterculture, Dick and his wife Cindy, along with their close-knit circle of friends, began work on a magazine to document the hot new trend. Mini Truck News became the go-to source for minitruckers around the Southern California area to stay hip on shows, parts, and shops that embodied this new movement.
Dick was 39 when he began formulating the content that would become MTN, which included rolls of show coverage photos, club information, and a ton of hand-drawn illustrations that would be spread throughout the magazine. The biggest undertaking was creating a logo—something that becomes a publication’s identity among its readers. Willy Fisher of Daddy-O Designs was recruited to develop the MTN logo, which went through many phases before being finalized. The end result incorporated the shape of a rear truck window and a color that became the magazine’s signature touch. Solar Yellow was used on MTN’s letterhead, envelopes, and the official apparel that its staff wore to shows, which was a wise move. Who wouldn’t be able to recognize the guy holding a camera walking around in a bright, canary-colored shirt and golf hat?
This is just a small sample of the minitruck club directory.
Now the story sounds a little too good to be true so far, right? Guy wants to start up a magazine, guy does start up a magazine, guy lives the dream, the end. Well, to start with, coming up with the title for the new mag wasn’t an easy task. Dick had first wanted to name it Mini Truckin’ News but the only problem with that there was already another publication slated to hit newsstands that would share a very similar name. So Dick shortened his proposed title and utilized his sales and editorial background to begin working on a distribution plan. The “People’s Paper” was a hit after its first introduction on the minitruck scene. Parts dealers and shops all over were stocking MTN to hand out to their customers free of charge, and the word was spreading—fast. Subscriptions were made available for upcoming issues, which were set to release on a quarterly basis, but that’s when trouble struck. We’ll let Dick fill you in the details from here.
“We had a sales guy named Cash, oddly enough. We found out he was pocketing magazine money, and I later discovered that he even ran off with my word processor too. He pretty much singlehandedly shut down production. You just can’t make magazines without money or something to type on. We even had to refund everybody who had been kind enough to believe in us and send their money in for subscriptions. Things happen for a reason, and hopefully karma prevails, but I really hope that guy catches a plague of flies from a thousand camels’ asses.”
Mini Truck News was short lived, but within the span of three issue releases, it made a huge impact on the budding minitruck scene in California. Dick and team MTN hit the show scene hard, and although finding a copy of this newspaper-styled mag floating around out there is near impossible, we hope you get an idea of what it stood for. A magazine created for the people who love minitrucks by the people who love minitrucks is as pure as it gets.
Hand-clipped photo collages add to MTN’s grassroots appeal.