Photos From the ST Archives
Over the last 10 years, many of the most iconic and still-talked-about custom trucks have found their way onto the covers and pages of Street Trucks. We started out this issue with the intention of picking the top 10 trucks from the past decade. Soon, we found ourselves overwhelmed with all of the insane, full-blown custom trucks across the issues. After much debating, arguing and a pile of blow-in cards, we wound up with the top 20 trucks, as well as a few honorable mentions and special awards. Whittling the batch down even further would not do justice to the history of the past 10 years of Street Trucks.
Top 20 Trucks
Syndicate of Style
1994 Chevrolet 1500
We started Street Trucks magazine off with a bang. The very first cover truck was a full custom Chevy that would easily still take home a bevy of Best Of trophies at any show today. Kal Koncepts and Air Syndicate put down a multi-color paint scheme that flows through the smoothed bed. A 2-link ‘bagged setup handles the rear suspension, while the front is home to a hydraulic setup. This truck embodies every custom element that you can think of, all over 10 years ago!
1971 Chevrolet C-10
When it comes to building a truck with the intention of being featured in a magazine, black is not necessarily the best choice. Dean Sears went against the norm when building his clean and smooth ebony ’71 C-10. It would become the C-10 that all others would be measured against and try to outdo. It is only fitting that at the time this truck was judged against the previous title holder for that honor. It could still roll into a show today and draw a crowd.
1971 Datsun 521
The Datsun pickup was the first mini-truck and one of the most popular trucks to fix up in the early years of the scene. This 521 from the Land of the Rising Sun epitomizes the origins of the mini-truck scene and some of the elements that mini-trucks have brought to the customizing table. The truck sits on airbags and has Budnik billet wheels inside and out, as well as a clean interior. “Clean” is the perfect word to describe this classic mini-truck from the country that first produced them.
1997 Chevrolet S-10
This S-10 put the mini-truck community and industry on notice and made the S-10 a viable custom in a full size world. The color scheme and tribal flames frequently would be imitated on future trucks as well as the custom Envoy front end swap. The truck also brought in a little bit of hot rod flavor with staggered billet wheels.
1970 Chevrolet Suburban
Sometimes, a truck has so many modifications and custom parts that trying to write a complete article on it is just as daunting a task as building the truck itself. Sublow, from Pro Design features a chopped top that was accomplished using three different Suburban roofs in order to remove the large stock hump. All of the billet parts were anodized to match the paint scheme, and the rest of the custom one-off interior. The amount of bodywork on this Suburban is endless and can be truly appreciated once seen next to its stock brethren. Sublow just barely fits into Mike’s garage (he planned it that way when building it) and he plans on keeping it forever.
1999 Chevrolet 3500
Sometimes a truck doesn’t live up to its wild paint job. This is not the case for “Scooby’s” 1999 Chevy dually. The radical paint job is complemented by the body-dropped stance with color-matched frame, and wild interior complete with fiberglassed headliner. The underside of the cab was painted and polished as well. In the past, many have converted 1/2-ton trucks into phantom duallys, but Jason went the opposite route and converted the suspension from 1 to 1/2-ton in order to fit a custom set of 20-inch Colorado Custom wheels on the heavy hauler. Later on, he converted it back to a 1-ton suspension when 22-inch semi truck wheels first came out.
1928-30 Ford Model A Pickup
The guys at Boyd Coddington’s Garage crafted the first handmade, all-aluminum Model A pickup. The brushed beauty really turned heads and is part of a trifecta of all-aluminum hot rods built by Boyd. Shooting this masterpiece of metal magic was also an expensive proposition. A special, silver grain based film was used and processed to bring out all of the correct tones on the truck—no Photoshop here!
1998 Ford F-150
Being the founder of one of the largest truck clubs in the country kind of sets the bar high when building your own custom truck. Dave Shulman went over that bar with “Catch 22.” That name alone is all that is needed to start out anyone’s top list. The wild paint scheme features hours upon hours of airbrushing, but blends together perfectly thanks to the earth toned hues. The juiced Ford features an elaborate fiberglassed sound system and painted dash that were ahead of their time. Rather than simply welding up the tailgate to the smoothed bed floor, the tailgate opens sideways to reveal a smoothed wall with airbrushed graphics. “Catch 22” refers to the wheel size (huge for the time) and the fact that everything new and innovative done to this truck required modifying something else to get it to function properly. It will continue to be revered as one of the most iconic custom full-size Ford’s to roll the scene for years to come.
Form and Function
2002 Chevrolet Silverado
The title of this pre-runner truck says it all. The line between functioning off-road trucks and show vehicles has long been drawn and rarely crossed. This Silverado built by the guys at CST Performance Suspension jumps over that line in the sand. This truck has been fully detailed inside and out with a custom frame, long travel suspension, and luxurious racing interior, yet it is entirely street legal. This truck not only can romp the sand dunes at 100-plus MPH, but it also somehow always looks perfectly clean and ready for the shows.
The ADD Hauler
Kerry “Duck” Cunningham
1998 Chevrolet 2500
Duck’s dually has been through several incarnations and colors. He picked it up brand new to haul his Nissan around, and of course couldn’t leave it stock. Here are a few of the schemes this dually has seen: white, pearl white with flames, orange, two-tone orange, green, blue, and finally blue and black. A 2000 Chevy HD front end was grafted onto the dually, while the interior is pure race with a roll cage and four racing bucket seats. At the time it was one of the most talked about duallys on the scene.
Street Trucks – Courtney Halowell
2004 Nissan Titan
The Street Trucks Nissan Titan was on the ground, painted and fully customized in the two months before SEMA, not only that, but it was all done before the Titan was even introduced to the public. Having access to a brand-new truck model that has never been customized by anyone can be a double-edged sword. Parts are not available yet, so everything has to be made one-off. With no prior experience with the truck, it all comes down to trial and error. The upside is being the first to customize the truck and be the standard against which all others will be measured.
1952 Chevrolet Pickup
Gaylord’s bed lids have long been a staple of the custom truck industry. The company has also put out a few custom trucks along the way. Its 1952 Chevy shop truck is a radical and loud advertisement that still hits the shows hard to this day. The dropped, sectioned and chopped Chevy is fitted with a twin turbo Gale Banks ZZ3 motor. The loud flames are continued under the Gaylord’s bed cover on the wooden floor. The interior is classic tuck ‘n’ roll white vinyl and is the only thing subdued on this wild creation.
1990 Mazda B2200
Shawn Arcidino was inspired after seeing a $20 World War II model airplane kit to build his beat-up old Mazda mini into a bomber replica. He mixed both airplane parts and custom-made elements to create a theme truck without forking out a lot of cash. The truck features a small-block Chevy, bomber style bucket seats and the standard body drop. But the real spark is in the details. Leather straps hold the radiator, and military accessories blanket the interior, while working exhaust ports bring the sound out past the custom airbrushed body.
1994 Chevrolet 3500
Some trucks out there just make you drool over all of their custom touches. Aside from being a body-dropped dually with a Cadillac front end, this truck features a few touches that had never been seen before and have rarely been repeated since. The interior was transplanted from a ’62 Impala, while the door handles formerly called an Infinity EX35 home. The rear fenders were remolded to fit in with the Cadillac cladding and duplicated on the inside of the bed. Lumina van taillights round out the back end that features lowrider style pinstriping. Pauly created a dually that perfectly blended lowrider influences into a clean package.
1994 Chevrolet 1500
As with the theme of this issue, hot rod caliber and styled trucks have long been a part of the history of Street Trucks. Scott’s 1994 Chevy is more coach-built street rod than it is truck at this point. The step side features a handmade custom sheet metal bed that brings up images of fat-fendered customs and hot rods of the past. The upper bodyline has been smoothed out in favor of a two-tone paint scheme. The front end saw plenty of grinding and welding and the hood was extended over the cowl area. Of course the motor, chassis and interior have been customized and detailed in street rod fashion. The Chevy was also first overall in ISCA points in its day.
1963 Chevrolet C-10
This C-10 was a shoe-in for a cover truck and our pick for one of the top trucks. The chopped unibody C-10 has very little stock sheet metal that wasn’t modified or replaced by Bob Grant at Grant Kustoms. The ’60-66 C-10 has been the ginger kid of the custom Chevy truck world, but not anymore, thanks to this iconic and retro styled sheet metal creation. The one-off parts and detail make this truck one of a kind, so much so that a small crack in the roll pan necessitated weeks of sheet metal work and a complete color change to get the truck whole again.
1992 Isuzu Spacecab
“Isuzu” and “street rod” were never even close to being uttered in the same sentence until Ant’s full-blown hot rod Isuzu mini burst onto the scene. The small-block Chevy motor started the build off right, while the interior was treated with classic peanut butter hot rod style seats and panels with painted accents on the custom-molded dash and speaker box. The amount of detail seen in this mini-truck would put high dollar, turntable street rods to shame.
The Spike Truck
2001 GMC Sonoma
“The Spike Truck” from The Little Shop of Horrors started out as a customer’s ride that went neglected until shop owner Eric Saliba picked it up and finished it. Not only was the truck extremely clean with hundreds of hours of bodywork smoothing out every corner, it had some unique touches that set it apart as well, including the bed’s absent front wall. The truck was featured on the national TV program “Trucks!” making it one of the first minis to gain such attention. Unfortunately, a shop accident left The Spike Truck in ashes. The iconic truck came and went quickly. You know what they say, live fast; die young.”
The Choppin’ Block
2006 Chevrolet Silverado
This crew cab Silverado made street rod caliber truck builds and styling the bar to be reached in the custom truck scene. Not too shabby for a couple of 20-something-year-old kids just starting their own shop. The guys at The Choppin’ Block would produce a few more Street Trucks cover trucks within the next year, with many more still to come in the future.
Street Rod Tahoe
2002 Chevrolet Tahoe
Our final selection for the Top 20 Trucks is the most recent as we capped the year off at the end of 2008. This Tahoe has a full tube chassis detailed to the nines alongside your classic street rod interior and high-powered crate motor. A peek between the doors revealed a handcrafted metal street rod style dash and Paul Atkins threads. The Tahoe we chose is well deserved, as not many people out there would think, let alone try, to build an SUV into a high quality street rod.