I’ve been lucky enough over the past couple of years to become witness to what I consider exciting advances in engineering and quality of the classic pickups. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that there weren’t plenty of beautiful trucks out there before I was lucky enough to re-enter the fold. What I mean is that from just one event season to the next, high-caliber quality drivers have seemingly advanced from a relatively small percentage to almost the norm (not to say that I don’t love those patina’d beaters). I think this is great, and really something to note. Mainly because it proves that classic trucks are no longer being perceived as the redheaded stepchild (no offence to all you redheads out there) to the rest of the rodding community.
Personally, I think these advances are due to a myriad of things, among them the advances in the availability of high-quality aftermarket components and accessories. Think about it, how many new tools, parts, components, assemblies, and accessories have been introduced to the marketplace over the last couple of years? A boatload, right? Well, having access to these new parts makes it increasingly easy for us to assemble vehicles of higher quality. Then, there’s the ever-increasing skill level of those getting involved (a lot of the young folks out there are pretty darned talented). Hopefully they account for a large portion, as its new blood that’s going to perpetuate our classic truck hobby.
There’s also a distinct possibility that many of us have moved on to our second or third projects and we’re finally benefiting from the fact that we’ve learned from our past mistakes, and honed our skills through plain old experience. This leads me to another possibility that has perhaps had a more direct impact on the projects we’re putting out these days than some may want to admit. Now, let me forewarn you, there’s definitely two distinct schools of thought on this subject and, believe me, I’ve gotten an ear full from both camps on this one.
What I’m talking about is megabuck, professionally built trucks. You know … the ones you used to only see at ISCA type shows, but began turning up at more and more events and gatherings over the last five years or so. Well, I personally believe that these trucks have actually been a major source of motivation and engineering ideas for the rest of us. And, again, it’s only my humble opinion but I think nearly all of the awesome, newly completed, homebuilt trucks I’ve had the pleasure to see this past season owe their quality not only to the owner/enthusiasts that designed and assembled them, but perhaps to the few big name professional truck builders that have raised the bar and given the rest of us something to aim for as well. Think about it. ct