Tim and Darrell Cimbanin - Oct. 2003Brothers Tim and Darrell Cimbanin from Jarrell, Texas, didn't mess around when building their first custom truck creation. Starting with a well-worn '55 Chevy longbed pickup, these siblings pulled out all the stops to create a low-slung stunner to attract customers to their business, CimTex Rods, in Jarrell. After the bed was shortened 8 inches, the brothers got busy underneath the truck by updating the chassis and suspension. A 6-inch step notch allows for excess rear suspension travel, while a '76 Camaro front clip grafted to the stock front framerails coupled with Fatman 2.5-inch drop spindles, custom Fatman control arms, Air Lift airbags, and Hal QA1 shocks help facilitate the necessary nosedive a classic of this caliber demands. In the rear, a Currie Enterprises-prepped Ford 9-inch holds Richmond 4.56 gears and is centered using a custom-made CimTex four-link. A pair of Aldan Coil coilover shocks gets the tail end down while providing a firm ride for this asphalt sled. Finishing off the suspension in style are 17x8-inch front and 18x11-inch rear Boyd Coddington billet five spokes covered in big and little Nitto rubber. A healthy 396ci mini-ram fuel-injected small-block does power duty under the hood of this beast, smoking the rear hides thanks to Air Flow Research aluminum heads and a host of high-quality go-fast internals. Featuring a laundry list of custom body modifications and coated in House of Kolor Ultra Candy Pearl Orange, this double-nickel Bow Tie just plain rocks. Between the doors sits a classy custom interior crafted by Vern "The King" McKean from Georgetown, Texas, featuring light-beige Connoly leather stitched over the Cadillac El Dorado seats, door panels, and headliner. Dakota Digital gauges and a collection of billet goods further spice up the cockpit. Tim and Darrell have built one sweet '55 Bow Tie, and their first time effort was definitely amazing enough to make our Top 10.

Simply Wicked Dan Dowdy - Oct. 2002In this day and age, originality is the key when it comes to a truck's magazine notoriety. Dan Dowdy of Dolan Springs, Arizona, definitely did not follow the pack when it came to choosing a base for which to execute his custom tastes upon. Discovered in a weather-beaten state in Jerome, Idaho, Dowdy's '37 Hudson Terraplane pickup underwent eight years of intense massaging before it landed on the cover of the Oct. '02 issue of Truckin'. Featuring a plethora of custom framework, an Air Ride Technologies air suspension system, and Weld Tarantula 15x7-inch front and 17x10-inch rear wheels, this unique classic has the perfect intimidating stance for the blown big-block beast shoehorned between the framerails. A 433ci 427 big-block Chevrolet crowned with a 6-71 blower and dual Holley 750-cfm double pumpers provides motivation. Stout internals consist of JE 7:1 pistons, a forged crank and rods, and an Ultradyne roller camshaft with Crane roller rockers and lifters. The 900-horse Rat breathes through a pair of HPC-coated Hedman headers, which sends exhaust gases through a custom-built exhaust system. The body of the Hudson was stretched 7 inches for a more streamline appearance, while the cab was chopped 3 inches in the front and 4 inches at the rear to accent the truck's slammed stance. These trick modifications are just a few of the many body updates that were all sealed in a sinister BASF Glasurit Black basecoat with Blue Pearl flames burning up the front fenders. Concealed behind the suicide doors is a sculpted-leather masterpiece created by Gabe's Upholstery in Bloomington, California. The truck's inner bed region was treated to the same fabric care as the interior with custom-made tan-leather panels fit together for an elegant look that were spiced up with flames and the Hudson Terraplane logo. Dan Dowdy's wild Hudson Terraplane represents the enthusiast who is not afraid to go out on the edge and build something different, which is why it is a member of our Top 10 elite.

Sensational Slant Cab Mike And Linda Chaffer- Jun. 2004Cooking up a unique-looking Ford F-100 has become quite a challenge in the last few years. Everyone seems to slam them down on American Racing Torq-Thrust IIs, paint them either red, black, or yellow, and place a small-block Chevy between the framerails. Mike and Linda Chaffer opted to go the road less traveled with their '54 F-100 by slamming it to the earth using Air Ride Technologies air suspension and a shoehorned set of one-off 18-inch Budniks up front with larger-than-life matching 20-inchers under the tail end. Wearing a PPG Pearl Orange and Chrome Yellow two-tone with Orange hot licks striped in Green blazing across the doors, this Effie is an eye-catcher all the way. L&G Enterprises in San Dimas, California, is responsible for the blinding paint scheme. For power, the Chaffer's opted to go with a 350ci GM Performance Parts crate motor that's linked to a Turbo 350 transmission. Sandstone leather and suede layered over a Glide Engineering seat applied by Stitchcraft Custom Interiors set off the cabin. Mike steers his Blue Oval with a Budnik split-grip steering wheel and cranks tunes through an Eclipse and Audiobahn-equipped stereo system. Mike credits his son Craig with much of the work that has been done to transform this once beaten-down Effie into a show-winning masterpiece. Traditional street-rod touches combined with a modern and high-tech feel earned this classic a firm spot on our Top 10 roster.

One Sweet Mimosa Jim & Cindy Starke- Jun. 2003Jim Starke from Blue Springs, Missouri, is a custom vehicle enthusiast who leaves no stone unturned when creating his rolling automotive expressions. His '37 Chevy sedan delivery rolls on a classic 17-inch front and 20-inch rear Boyd Coddington Genesis billet wheel combo flanked in Dunlop rubber. All of the best goods adorn the custom Art Morrison chassis with airbags coupled with Mustang II spindles and Wilwood disc brakes. The rear suspension consists of a Ford 9-inch rearend fit with Currie Enterprise axles and an Air Ride Technologies four-link suspension system with the same air adjustability as the front. Under the hood, detail and power are aplenty with a 502ci Ram Jet engine wearing a Street & Performance TPI and aluminum cylinder heads. A few of the many custom body alterations include suicide doors, a custom set of LED taillights, a 3-inch chopped top, and '38 Chevy bullet headlights. A crafty blend of PPG Tangerine and Frost Beige were teamed up to create the stunning two-tone that adorns the exterior, which was applied at Dad's Kustom Rods in Blue Springs. Inside, spice was handled with Ultra leather doe that covers the '01 Pontiac Grand Prix bucket seats, custom headliner, custom door panels, A-pillars, padded dash, floor, rear side panels, cargo floor, and wheelwells. A host of white-face gauges from VDO allow Jim to keep the big-block's behavior in check, while a Carriage Works three-spoke Banjo wheel lends a classic touch to the command center. Giving the interior additional flair are metal panels coated in orange and pinstriped to match the vehicle's exterior graphic scheme. Jim sure hit a home run with this one, because this sweet delivery made the Top 10 with flying colors.

Just Kiddin' Around - Byron Erkenbrecher- Jul. 2004Many older enthusiasts are skeptical about a youngster's ability to crank out a top-notch custom capable of landing on the cover of a magazine and stealing trophies at the shows. Sometimes, it's not the wisdom of old age and experience that produces quality rides but the follow-through on the construction. Paying attention to the details and embracing follow-through are instrumental in creating that perfect low-slung, bright, and shaved stunner that is sure to turn the heads of the Truckin' staff. Byron Erkenbrecker of Fresno, California, hit a grand slam in the detail department with his '53 Chevy pickup. Enlisting the professional frame and suspension expertise of Jeff Zander at KRZ Customs, a custom chassis was fabricated and slid underneath the '53. To get the rocker panels cozy with the tarmac, a triangulated four-link rear suspension and Chubby Chassis Mustang II IFS frontend were installed. Firestone airbags were used to handle the up and down motion. Planted at all four corners are 19-inch Colorado Custom Slater five-spoke twisted wheels mounted on Michelin low-profile rubber. A 383ci small-block Bow Tie mill from Beck Racing Engines gets the '53 moving. A wide array of custom metal modifications on the body are covered in DuPont Lemon Yellow. Inside, a custom dash drenched in DuPont Lemon Yellow, along with a custom center console are accented by a Colorado Custom steering wheel topping a billet steering column. To give the truck's exterior a modern kick, a '95 Chevy truck bed was used in place of the original '53 model. The tailgate was molded shut and custom LED taillights were added for a street-rod feel. The original '53 rear fenders were seamlessly molded into the late-model Bow Tie box for extra smoothness. Slammed flat on the earth, wearing a bright blanket of color, and blending superb craftsmanship with endless detail, Byron's truck was a shoe-in for our Top 10.

Caddy Hack - Casey Scranton- Mar. 2000Few trucks have revolutionized the custom truck scene as much as the '88-'98 Chevy C1500 has. These stylish Bow Tie platforms have served as the basis for many insane customs over the last several years, and many top-notch examples have landed on the cover of Truckin'. One truck in particular that is still talked about today around the Truckin' office water cooler is Casey Scranton's '90 Chevy 1/2-ton appropriately deemed Caddy Hack due to its 3-inch chopped top. The noticeable roof slice was not the only trick this hot-rod-style hauler had up its sleeve, as a custom frame coated in DuPont Red resides underneath. It was set closer to the asphalt using TCI coilovers, a four-link, and Panhard bar in the rear. All of the quality TCI hardware out back was hung from a Ford 9-inch rearend stuffed with 3.73 gears. In the front suspension department, Casey chose TCI upper and lower control arms, coilover shocks, spindles, and steering rack. Bringing the 20x8.5-inch front and 20x11-inch rear Colorado Custom billet wheels mounted on Pirelli P-Zero rubber to a halt are Baer Racing brakes, both forward and aft. Wearing a complete Cadillac Escalade front clip (this was one of the first '88-'98 Chevy's on the scene with a Caddy clip), a fully shaved envelope, Cadillac taillights, and a custom Sir Michael's roll pan this bright DuPont Boyd Red stunner definitely got people talking. Caddy Hack boogies down the highway, thanks to a 500hp small-block 350ci Chevy stuffed with a Comp Cams bumpstick and breathes freely with a pair of World Products cast-iron cylinder heads. A polished Whipple huffer tops the mill, which is complemented by polished Zoops aluminum valve covers and breathers. Spent gases are shown the door through JBA block-hugger headers, which are routed to a custom-built CGS exhaust system. Inside Caddy Hack, a full custom metal dash covered in DuPont Boyd Red is laden with VDO white-face gauges and accented by a Colorado Custom steering wheel. Seating is handled by a pair of Glide Engineering buckets covered in buckskin leather by Radi's Custom Upholstery in Garden Grove, California. Caddy Hack is still one of the nicest '88-'98 Chevys in existence, and it also helped Casey propel his business, CGS Motorsports, to great success.

Heavy Metal 1 - Scott's Hotrods- Sep. 2004There is nothing quite like a shaved, slammed, and bright-red roadster. What's even cooler is when that roadster has a bed. Justin Padfield of Scott's Hot Rods (SHR) in Ventura, California, had a vision to create a classic '55 Chevy pickup with an open-air cabin. The project was kicked into high gear when the TLC (The Learning Channel) show Rides expressed some interest in documenting SHR's buildup of what is now known as Heavy Metal 1. The factory frame crossmembers were removed and the stock framerails were boxed in preparation for the Scott's Superslam IFS frontend complete with Air Ride Technologies air bellows. Out back, a first-class suspension was put in place consisting of a Scott's stainless parallel four-link mated to a Speedway Engineering Quick Change rearend. Air Ride Technologies airbags moved the tail end up and down while QA1 shocks damp the suspension. Rolling attire in the form of 18x8-inch front and 20x12-inch rear Colorado Custom one-off billet wheels dressed in Falken rubber spin inside the wheelwells. There was a lot of metalwork on the exterior, including shortened bedrails with a handformed tailgate and roll pan skin, a handformed windshield frame, molded and widened rear fenders, molded step plates, LED taillights, shaved doors and welded window openings, a laid-back windshield, a smoothed and shaved cowl panel, Mercedes-Benz headlights, a reworked and smoothed front bumper, and Buick style hood bullets. A custom dash and center console fill the cockpit and perfectly match the off-the-hook exterior modifications. The finished product was coated in DuPont 2004 Ferrari Red, and with a detailed LS1 powerplant topped with a Magnuson blower under the hood and a tan-leather interior highlighted with alligator skin, this wild '55 was on the prowl for competition and trophies. Justin Padfield's smooth '55 Chevy roadster pickup is definitely not your average shop truck and is extremely worthy of our Top 10 group.

Colorado Custom Hauler - Jim "Bones" Noteboom- Sep. 1998Back in the late-'90s, there was one particular Ford F-100 that was getting quite a bit of attention on the show scene. That truck was none other than the Colorado Custom Hauler owned by Jim "Bones" Noteboom of Hemet, California. This slick '56 Effie featured a chopped top, a sectioned hood, and a shortened bed for cosmetic appeal, and it also wore a front roll pan to dress the leading edge. Out back, a roll pan with a few rows of louvers took the place of the factory rear bumper, and a smoothed tailgate with filled bedrail endcaps cleaned up the factory lines. A late-model 350ci small-block motivated Bones' Effie, while a Camaro front clip and Ford 9-inch rearend handled the underpinnings. In order to create the perfect pavement-pounding stance, Air Ride Technologies air springs were installed front and rear for show shock value and driving adjustability. In honor of the Colorado Custom Wheels promotion, the truck was built around 18x8-inch Colorado Custom Wild Horse billets placed up front with 20x12-inch versions, accenting things in the rear. High-performance rubber from Toyo protected the billets from rough roads. Candy-Purple and faded Butterscotch-Yellow hues were applied to the body along with Silver-Flake and Candy-Magenta stripes added for accent by Santini Paint & Body Werkes. The coolest of tricks performed on Bones' Blue Oval beauty was the custom rim rack mounted in the bed, built by Ron Scranton at CGS Motorsports, holding an assortment of Colorado Customs' current offerings of the time. The interior reflected a simple street rod approach with gray tweed and vinyl stitched over an Olds power bench seat, the custom door panels, and the headliner. The dash was coated in purple to match the exterior and the Stewart-Warner gauges, and a Colorado Custom steering wheel rounded out the bling factor. For a bit more detail, purple- and orange-vinyl stripes were sewn into the door panels to tie in with the exterior scenery. Bones' truck set the bar pretty high for creators of custom F-100s back then, and his truck continues to be admired years after its appearance within our pages. During our staff battle in choosing the Top 10 trucks for this article, this F-100 was one we didn't argue about.

Sky Scraper - Doug DeBerti-DeBerti Designs- Jun. 2002Lifted rides have always been part of the custom truck scene, and recently their popularity has skyrocketed. Back in the 1980s, lifted Toyota's with countless shocks ruled the roads and enthusiasts couldn't get enough of those fluorescent shock boots. Thankfully, today's lifted truck enthusiasts have shifted their style to chrome and polished aluminum-laden undercarriages, and ditched the KC lights in favor of a smooth roofline and trick paint and graphics that grace a smooth body. Doug DeBerti, owner and operator of DeBerti Designs in Bakersfield, California, impressed the Truckin' crew back in the Jun. '02 issue when he busted out this custom '02 Ford Excursion. Riding high on Firestone air springs supported by custom-made billet spring cups and sporting one-off flamed billet trailing arms valued at $6,000 a piece, this exceptional SUV is a true work of art. Capping off the elaborate suspension are 16.5x10-inch Weld Stone Crusher wheels mounted on insect-trampling 44x18.5x16.5-inch TSL Super Swamper tires. Doug's ride features a custom crossover steering system fabricated by Maurice Rozo at Off Road Unlimited in Burbank, California, and House of Kolor Passion Purple from the body line down, kicked off with House of Kolor Candy Teal flames. The factory taillights were deleted in favor of custom-cut Ford Blue Oval logos in the back of each rear hatch door. A peek inside this monster reveals passion-purple-pearl leather stitched over the factory seats by Lear. For entertainment, a pair of 20-inch ASA TV monitors were installed along with a PlayStation 2 unit and an ASA DVD unit. Doug's mile-high Excursion is an exceptional example of the detailed lifted rides that are currently permeating the Southern California show scene, and its numerous tricks and custom features landed it in our Top 10 list.

Krew Kut - Rob Maggi- Aug. 1999When thinking of wild custom dualies, most minds go right back to the grandaddy of them all. Rob Maggi, former owner of Master Image Customs, created the truck known as Krew Kut, which raised the bar for all dualie owners as soon as it hit the scene. Juiced, body-dropped, and roofless, this wicked Crew Cab roadster sported a plethora of body alterations buried under a House of Kolor Lime Time Pearl basecoat licked up with a Steve Vandemon flamejob using House of Kolor Purple, Yellow, Blue, Black, Cherry, White, and Gray hues. Airbrushed skulls were used to accent the flames, while gray and purple leather sewn up by Stithcraft Custom Interiors filled the cabin. The colors covered the custom bucket seats and handformed rear couch. Up front, the nose was flanked with a Cadillac Escalade front clip with a sectioned bumper, while the rear featured a fully molded and smoothed tailgate and roll pan with Toyota Supra taillights. The doors were capped and smoothed to flow with the bedrails, and three 12-inch Alumapro subs supplied the driving tunes for those impromptu beach cruising sessions. Moving back into the interior, Rob focused on a full custom dash laced out with a fabric smackdown by Stitchcraft Custom Interiors' Steve "Revo" Reeves, and gripped onto a DeBerti Designs billet skull-themed steering wheel. Under the hood, the original 454ci big-block Chevy was outfitted with oversized pistons by Pro Machine and bored out for added efficiency. A Pro Machine intake took care of induction upgrades, while chrome and paint underhood accents drew additional focus to the doghouse. Much of the credit for this insane crew goes to Sean Mahaney, a master metal fabricator at MIC, who at the time performed much of the metal surgery on this long and low masterpiece. If it weren't for the MIC Krew Kut dualie, we bet today's custom dualie owners would not have been as inspired to build such quality rides. The originality, ingenuity, and craftsmanship present on Krew Kut secured it a spot in our Top 10 lineup.