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  • Letters to the Editor - Mail Truck - March 2008

Letters to the Editor - Mail Truck - March 2008

Mail Truck

Bruce Caldwell
Mar 1, 2008
Contributors: Mike Finnegan
Photographers: Charlie Hayward
Poor Grammar And A Poor Paintjob Won't Win The St Challenge
A few weeks ago I bought your rag off the shelf as I saw: Show 'N' Go 16 trucks that look good and haul ass!
I was searching for info to help me hook my '63 pick up. The brown '70 C10 you featured in this issue I though might be of some help. While thumbing through it I got to Dad would be proud (he's talking about the cover feature on Mike Cotten's C10 -ed.). Yes I was the one that wrote in telling you how unfunctional that truck is (he's talking about a previous e-mail he sent saying how Cotten's truck wouldn't run with the N20 shot and big throttle body mentioned in the story -ed.). I had to set your magazine down after that and told myself I did not want to ever pick one up again.
After finishing some of my other magazines having skimmed CC, HR a few more times, there laid your rag again, so I picked it up again to read the article I originally bought it for. I got to the article and what did I find? 16 trucks of which, six of them I would consider moderately fast to fast.
Come on guys.. You have:
Two 19.xx trucks
Two 16.xx trucks
Four 15.xx trucks
One 14.xx truck
The rest I'll give you as moderately fast to fast. Since when are 19.xx trucks/cars haulin ass?
Here is a link of my 63's debut at Sacramento raceway. Ran it Fri night and Sat:
There are 9 passes in all on the video. Not the prettiest truck, but faster than 90% of the trucks you Featured.
Few minor changes and I can see it going 11.9x on the motor. Just wait till I actually turn the bottle on. The 2 stage hit should get it in the 10's.
Shaun Liddy
Aromas, California
Thanks for all the e-mails you sent,Shaun. that's a great video of your truck running as well. did you miss the part of the story where we spelled out the rules of the Sport truck Challenge? having a greatlooking truck is every bit as important as having a fast truck. Your truck is fast for sure, but you'd better throw a paintjob on that thing before you talk smack on last year's Challenge competitors. in case you didn't read the whole story, the fastest truck didn't take home the cash, the trophy, or the winner's jacket. if you think your truck can win, then by all means bring it to havoc '08. We'll be in bowling Green, Kentucky, August 2-3.
Find Me A Custom Truck
I am looking to buy a low-mileage custom show truck that can be driven daily. I am really into the '96-'02 Chevy Silverado and '99-'02 Ford F-150. Can you suggest any good websites or know of any out there for sale?
Robert Carwell
Las Vegas, Nevada
The internet has really simplified truck shopping, especially when you are looking for a show truck. here are a few good sites to shop at:,,, and we've got a classified section on our site at Happy hunting!
Photo 2/6   |   mail Truck online Forums
Wanted: Tahoe 2d 2Wd
I'm having a terrible time finding a good deal on a loaded, low-mileage, '96-'98 Chevy Tahoe two-door with two-wheel drive and barn doors. Prices seem way too high for the high-milers I'm finding. Do you know a good place to find these trucks? Why are they so expensive?
Jason O'Connell
via e-mail
If we knew where a great deal was on the tahoe you describe, we'd buy it. the problem is the old supply and demand. Everyone begged Gm to make 2Wd fullsize blazers/ tahoes (especially custom-truck magazine editors). Gm made them but didn't sell enough, so it quit. then all the procrastinators (us included) complained, but to no avail. The smart guys got theirs and now people want them more than people that have them want to sell. hence, high prices.
Photo 3/6   |   mail Truck truck Tattoo
Tats And Dats
I enjoy two major hobbies: custom trucks and tattoos. I was thinking recently that I might be able to combine the two. I own a vintage '82 Datsun (the last year of true Datsuns before they changed their name to Nissan) King Cab. It's been a custom mini-truck since day one, so it's been through lots of changes.
The last paintjob is on its way out, so I was thinking maybe I could incorporate some tattoo designs in a new paint scheme. Specifically, I'd like to copy some of my personal tats onto the truck. I'm not sure how to go about doing this, so I was hoping you guys could help. The truck is currently bright (well, actually somewhat faded) orange, but I'm open to any colors. I've done complete color changes two times before.
I'd appreciate any ideas you could give me. Thanks.
Ron Abrahamson
via e-mail
Truck tattoos could be thought of as elaborate pinstriping. the cool part where this deviates from striping is that most tats are far more colorful than traditional pinstriping. the colors and designs of your tattoos will dictate the best color for your truck. if you left it orange it might look like one of those people who spend too much time at fake-'n'-bake tanning salons.
Most tattoos that we've seen tend to be shades of black, blue, red, green, and yellow. therefore, a color other than those would be a good idea. White would be too plain, and it would make the tats too obvious. Beige or light tan might be too much like real skin, but maybe that would work. if it were our truck, we'd consider bright silver with lots of metallic in it or maybe high-metallic titanium. German luxury cars seem to have a good variety of silvers.
Our thought behind the high-metallic silver is that it might offset the tattoos a little so they aren't overly obvious, but they'd still be easy to see. it would be wise to shoot a couple of test panels before committing to a total repaint.
As for transferring the tattoos, you need some decent digital photos taken of the tats you want to copy. Find someone who's computer savvy and get him or her to scan the images. a custom painter with access to an artograph image projector could project the tats onto body panels to use as a guide. another possibility is to give the scans to a vinyl sign shop and have a vinyl mask made.
We could see representations of your arm tattoos running along the outer edges of the hood (left arm on the driver side and right arm on the passenger side). anything on your chest could go on the roof and any back tats could adorn a hard tonneau cover.
We might leave the artwork off the sides of the truck, so the truck could have a dual personality depending on the angle of view. that would be sort of like the difference between wearing a long-sleeve shirt or a muscle shirt.
An idea that could relate to any truck whether the owner is inked or inkless is to incorporate some of the bold, traditional tattoos favored by South Seas islanders.
Billet Conspiracy
I used to belong to The Wheel of the Month Club, but I got tired and broke trying to keep up with the latest styles. The more fashionable and trendy a wheel is/was, the more it cost. It also seemed like the more I paid, the less the wheels were worth a year or two later. That's why I switched to a set of 18x8 and 18x10 Torq-Thrusts. The cost was reasonable, and the look is timeless. I'll never be cutting-edge, but I'll never look like a billet dork with some three-spoke Renault Le Car-inspired wheels either.
I'm a die-hard Chevy guy, so I kept the wheels and tires when I sold one truck and have put them on the next truck. In fact, I usually advertise a truck with the Torq-Thrusts on so it looks good in photos. Then I boost the price a little, and if someone wants to pay full price (it hasn't happened so far) I'll include the wheels. If they want to negotiate, I put the factory rally wheels back on.
I think the ever-changing customwheel styles and sizes is the auto aftermarket version of women's clothing. I think they change things just so they'll have something new to sell to our consumption-crazy society. I don't blame companies for doing this, but, to paraphrase Damon Wayans, "This homie don't play that game anymore."
Jim Edwards
via e-mail
We think the real reason wheel companies keep developing new wheel styles is so they can buy more ads in Sport Truck. We're fond of american racing torq thrust wheels and all their variants. We've owned several sets and have a set on one truck right now. You're correct about torq-thrust wheels spanning many decades and trends, but the world would be pretty boring if everyone ran the same wheels.
We're a short-attention-span society, so we like change. Change is invigorating, both from a personal perspective and as a business model. if you're adverse to change, we suggest checking out the amish racing wheel catalog. they've got some bitchin wood-spoked rims that haven't changed in a hundred years.
Where Can I Find...
Where can I find stock parts for an '88 Chevy Scottsdale 3/4-ton pickup?
Dave Smith
Irvine, California
Latemodel restoration Supply specializes in restoration and custom parts for '88-'98 Chevy trucks and has everything you need to fix up your Scottsdale.
Photo 6/6   |   mail Truck wheel
Wheel It Ever End?
Am I the only guy who's getting tired of seeing Conestoga wagon wheels on trucks and SUVs? I like big rims and low-profile tires, but there's got to be a limit. I've got some Foose 20x10s on my '02 Escalade and I think they fit the truck very well and look great. I'm fine with the factory 22s on the new Escalades, but it looks like wheels are headed into the 30s. When that happens, how long before someone makes a 48-inch wheel? I'm not sure if covered wagons had wheels that tall.
My biggest gripe is the clowns who can't properly fit the big wheels inside the fenders of their trucks, so they jack the bodies up off the frame to gain clearance. If you're gonna run the big wheels, do the chassis and body work necessary to tuck the wheels inside the fenders.
Besides looking like some dopey Tonka trucks, the clowns with the body lifts are mixing truck styles. If you want the big wheels and lifted look, use big, aggressivetread- pattern monster-truck-type tires. Thirtyseries rubber bands look stupid on a lifted truck.
I'd like to hear from other readers if any of them feel the way I do about the direction of custom-wheel sizes. Thanks for listening.
Joey D'Amato
via e-mail
Don't shoot us-we're just the the recent Sema Show in las vegas there was a huge area of the show devoted to custom wheels. there were wheels in excess of 30 inches on display. that's a lot, but in a sea of bling and billet, wheel companies have to do something pretty spectacular to stand out.
Maybe it's part of that whole Vegas bigger-bolder-and-more-brazen mentality, but we view las vegas and some of the automotive extremes more as entertainment than everyday fare. a statuesque Vegas showgirl might be fun to look at, but you'd probably be embarrassed to walk around a shopping mall with someone wearing 3-foot fuchsia plumes and 10 pounds of rhinestones.
We agree with you about the tonka truck or hot Wheels look that people get when they have to lift their trucks to gain enough clearance to actually steer and turn corners. our stand on the tucked-insidethe- fenders look goes a step further-we think the wheels and tires should be perpendicular to the pavement when the truck is aired out. We'll let a little negative camber slide, but we hate it when the tops of the tires look like they're going to touch the exhaust manifolds.
Photo Secrets
I really admire the excellent photography in Sport Truck, and I'd like to improve the quality of my own photos. I don't have any aspirations of turning pro; I'd just like photos of my '99 Silverado to be nice enough to enlarge and hang on a wall.
I know you can't teach photography in a letters column, but maybe you could give me some insight into how the reflection photos were taken of the '95 GMC 1500 on pages 66-69 of your June '07 issue.
I have a Nikon D40 digital camera. Is it sufficient for I want to do? Do you use computer graphics programs to alter your photos? I'd welcome any tips you can give me.
Ross Vinther
via e-mail
The key to good photography is similar to success in real estate-location, location, location. a good location can make a world of difference. Study photos you like to get a feel for what makes a good location. lack of background clutter, lack of power lines, poles, trees, etc., and lack of parking or road stripes are all important.
Another key element is light. the more dramatic, diffused light near sunrise or sunset is preferable to the harsh, direct midday light. Cloud cover is an asset when shooting midday.
Long exposures are necessary in low light, so a tripod is a must. Shooting from a distance with a long lens will help emphasize the truck while diminishing the background. low angles (even from ground level) are good with a long lens. Shooting from high on a ladder is a good way to isolate the truck when using a short lens or shooting in a crowded location.
Be aware of distracting objects (including your own reflection) in both the background and foreground. Shoot photos with the parking lights on and with them off. the red and orange glow can add drama. Shoot tons of images. The more you shoot, the more likely you are to get a great shot.
The reflection technique requires lots of water and a large chunk of pavement. Wet the area far past the truck and keep it wet. any dry or unevenly wet areas will spoil the effect. don't splash the truck.
Your Nikon d40 is an excellent choice. Many magazine photos have been taken with less sophisticated digital cameras. Set the image size to the maximum. You want the largest .jpeg files possible. Yes, computer programs such as Photoshop are sometimes used to minimize background problems, but the best shots are those that don't require tweaking.
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