Crank over the ignition, pull the shifter into low gear, mash the accelerator all the way down, and hold on. This is the driving style the majority of my Truckin' colleagues practice on a daily basis. If the tires are not blazing and the rpm needle isn't hitting the redline, they're just plain bored. Labeled as a show guy from the very beginning of my custom truck and hot rod journey, I have never been particularly concerned with matters of performance. Until recently. Large camshafts and massive compression ratios don't win trophies, so as an enthusiast who has typically placed much of his automotive enthusiasm on looks, it comes as no surprise that I have never found myself in a verbal battle over my truck's dyno numbers.
Having worked around a few gearheads who embrace the smoke-and-mirrors part of the custom truck equation and who spent most of their youth stuffing more power and performance into their rides, my attitude has certainly changed. Speed and performance is my new addiction! I find myself wanting to crank over the ignition in everything I own-expecting the sound of a throaty exhaust thumping out the heartbeat of a nasty camshaft and some bone-rattling compression. This is an experience I get to enjoy in my hot-rod jet boat and one that I believe has furthered this desire to hold my foot to the floor and see just how fast my courage will allow me to go. I think my need for speed was fueled a few years back when we tested the Dodge SRT-10 performance pickup in our Truck of the Year testing. As we lined up at Camarillo Airport, Senior Editor Dan Ward and I took turns putting the bright-red Ram through the paces, and what I got from Dan and the rest of the staff who stood on the tarmac and watched was pure shock. Granted I did not run the SRT flat-out, but the fact that I was slamming gears and pitching her sideways dropped some jaws. Editor Steve Warner even commented: "who are you and what did you do with my feature editor?" After five years here at Truckin', I have undoubtedly gone to lunch and been on company road trips with the rest of the staff numerous times, and my grandma-style of driving has been commented on frequently. Although I can think of one staff member who makes me look like John Force with his inconsistent throttle technique and right lane freeway cruising. Don't get me wrong, my passion for show trucks is still as strong as it ever was, but lately I have become much more impressed with trucks that work. Trucks that accelerate, trucks that stop, trucks that corner, and trucks that just plain handle have peaked my curiosity, and I am jonesin' to build something that can lay down some rubber and push me back in the driver seat. As I get older, my interest in blending practicality with performance has increased. There are no words to describe the adrenaline rush when behind the wheel of something with a bit of muscle under the hood. Until next month, keep hitting those switches, cranking good tunes (such as Lita Ford and Slaughter) and cruising until your heart's content.