Recently, I was reminded about a column I wrote several years ago. I was talking about how the job, the scene, the automotive industry, whatever you want to call it, can get crazy with all the travel and deadlines. I was writing that editorial from a plane, headed to yet another truck event across the country. I may have also complained that airplane seats aren’t made for anyone taller than 5 feet 5 inches, and how the beverage cart likes to smash my shoulder regularly. You’d think I would have learned something in the years since.
In case you haven’t figured it out, I have been in the truck magazine business—and automotive world in general—for a while now. Thirteen and a half years ago, I was a recent college grad and the newest associate editor at Truckin magazine. I brought with me a rich automotive background as well as some decent writing and photography skills.
I guess my fate as a “car guy” was determined well before I was even born—back before I was even a twinkle in my dad’s eye, as they say. He was living in rural Louisiana while a couple of my uncles were successfully campaigning a ’56 Pontiac on the dragstrips of the Southwest. A family visit to Lions dragstrip in Long Beach, California, turned into permanent residency, a new ’64 GTO was picked up to become the new drag car, my dad converted the ’56 back to the street for his 16th birthday, and the rest is history.
By the time I came along, things had slowed down a bit. Lions was closed down, the GTOs (three by then) were gone, and in their place was a station wagon. Of course, the station wagon was a two-door ’64 Chevelle with a Corvette 327! We also became members of the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America (VCCA). It’s not quite as exciting as the clubs we talk about in the magazine, but I did get to see a lot of the country at a very young age from the vantage point of a vintage vehicle, usually our ’38 Panel Truck or ’38 Coupe. I even raced to the top of Pikes Peak and crossed the Royal Gorge Bridge at age five as part of a reliability run.
Trucks began to play a bigger role as I got older. The custom van craze was in full swing (thanks in part to this magazine), and my dad decided we needed one. The family also had two C10 pickups. The ’65 Chevy was the shop truck; the ’64 Custom 20 was the weekend camper. Anyone who knows me knows those trucks clearly had a lasting effect on me.
As with many of us, by the time I was approaching driving age, the teenage rebellion set in. So where does one turn when he’s been around various forms of American muscle his whole life? VWs and mini-trucks, of course! I had two bugs before I even had my license and began spending much of my after-school time at an older kid from the neighborhood’s custom shop. It just so happened that the editors of Truckin and the brand-new-at-the-time Mini Truckin used to hang out there, too. Many a tech story and a few covers were shot there during that era. I felt like the coolest kid around getting to be a part of the action.
Those years and the behind-the-scenes action of the magazine world stuck with me, even as I spent the next five or six (oops) years attending college and working for an off-road race team. By then I had owned and at least partially built at least a dozen different trucks, both lifted and lowered. A friend of mine was working for one of the off-road titles by then and knew Truckin was hiring. And the rest, as they say, is magazine history.
So I’m back where it all started for me, and I couldn’t be happier. My brain is overflowing with story ideas, and my phone is blowing up with all the industry and club peeps that I can’t wait to start working with again. I will tell you a little more about it in the next issue. But for now, I have to shut down the ole laptop. My legs are asleep and the beverage cart just smashed my shoulder. Because, as I write this, I’m sitting on a plane, on my way to a truck event. And just as in years past, my editorial is the very last thing to be written (hence the clever title). I guess some things never change.
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