Saturday, November 04, 2006

Compact pickups? No, old school mini trucks.

(Photo: Mike Dominguez in his Nissan 720, Freestylin' Magazine, ??/1986)

Holy crap I love old-school mini trucks. The very attributes that made mini pickups of the '70's and '80's so popular: simplicity, low cost, and economy; made them excellent canvases for customization too. Unfortunately, the mini truck scene has lost sight of the aesthetic. Modern custom mini trucks are a garish mess of graphics, huge rims, hydraulic pumps, and DVD screens. Classic mini trucks, although flashy, exhibit quite a bit of constraint in comparison. For example:

Cool: Monochrome magenta
Not Cool: Lime green with graphics

Cool: Static drops
Not Cool: Airbags, hydraulics

Cool: Cranked torsion bars
Not cool: Body drops

Cool: 15" wheels
Not cool: 20" wheels

Cool: Subwoofer walls
Not cool: LCD screens

Cool: Tweed
Not cool: Tweed

When I calculated 16.26 MPG for the last tank in our Xterra today, I thought again about finding a unique, frugal alternative f0r c0mmuting and Home Depot runs. And I d0 need a place to apply my NOS Freestylin' and Rockville BMX decals...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Whatever happened to compact trucks?

Jalopnik posted pics of this sublimely un-pimped 1967 Toyota Stout from SEMA today. This vehicle is almost completely perfect; I'd probably add a set of chrome steel fake slot mags to the "low-profile" 70 series Drag Rite bias plies. (What width are those babies? E? F?)

What happened to compact pickups? Today's "compacts" have grown in size, weight, price, and thirst until they carry few advantages over full-size pickups. If Toyota would release a truck in the spirit of the original Stout today, they'd have a runaway sales hit. The same could be said of Nissan's 620 "Bulletside" and Mitsubishi's original Mighty Max.

Until then, I'll have to reminisce about my uncle's new 1979 Plymouth Arrow Truck with rainbow tape stripe, chrome Fenton wagon wheels, and Wide Trac radials.