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As we turn the pages of Truckin' magazine back to the '90s, one thing is for sure, we were all younger. Some of our staff members were just entering high school, but this editor definitely was not one of them.
In the early '90s, custom-truck enthusiasts began to notice changes. The Big Three of Detroit were introducing new trucks with better styling, comfort, and performance. The body lines were becoming smoother with more emphasis toward aerodynamic style and function. This new breed was more custom-friendly, not to say the early model trucks were not - far from it. Early model trucks, with their fat, round fenders, running boards, gullwing hoods, split windshields, and wood bed floors, bring a lot to the customizer's table. Many say the early models present more character, such as the wrinkles on a weathered face of an old man.
Custom trucks started coming out of their shell during the '90s. They were beginning to be noticed and respected more among the hot-rod, custom, and musclecar enthusiasts. More clubs were being formed, and events were becoming a custom trucker's weekend getaway. The custom car aftermarket manufacturers noticed the increased interests of the tailgate movement and saw an opportunity to contribute to the custom truck inventory and innovation with new components, parts, and accessories. Even Chevy Astro Vans made a surge during the mid-'90s, going from cool customs to Pro Street.
The '90s brought us everything from the mild, conservative, and monotone paint schemes to the wild and crazy splash, tear, marbleizing, scallops, and abstract graphics. However, there was always that timeless graphic that never went out of style - flames. Other graphics go out of style before the basecoat has been cleared. A custom paintjob is compared to clothing fashions that go out of style and come back years later. The '90s saw tweed interiors - a step above burlap - and cassette tapes and tape decks were being phased out. The new kid in the interior was the compact disc. CDs and DVD players were making a major impact in the audio market.
Wheels were, and still are, victims of spontaneous short-lived trends, and wheels go out of style almost before you can get the last lug nut tightened. Another concern was how big was too big? Wheel and tire diameters are becoming ridiculous now, and their increased rotating mass (weight) require larger brakes, rotors, and calipers. Remember the 15-inch veg-o-matic-style wheels? How many changes and variations can be made to a wheel's design? In the '90s, we started to see wheel sizes expand from 15s to 18s.
During the '90s we saw innovative changes that accelerated the custom truck hobby to where it is today. Here, we present several of these trends as they appeared in Truckin' magazine over the past decade or so. It will be interesting to see where the custom truck hobby evolves by the year 2010. Stay tuned.