Top Trucks of 2009

December 3rd, 2009

Every year the staff of Street Trucks sits in the office conference room with a whole year’s worth of magazines and we deliberate. We look at the best custom trucks we either featured or put on the cover and try to narrow down an incredibly impressive field down to the Top 10.

The 2009 Street Trucks Truck of the Year Competition

Every year the staff of Street Trucks sits in the office conference room with a whole year’s worth of magazines and we deliberate. We look at the best custom trucks we either featured or put on the cover and try to narrow down an incredibly impressive field down to the Top 10. Our criteria for judging include paint and body, chassis and suspension, engineering, interior and audio, and fit and finish. This year the debate got heated, and although Mulligan and I came close to throwing blows and giving each other black eyes, we managed to walk out of the room unscathed, having reached a compromise on several battles. Overall we are confident in the outcome, and present to you on the subsequent seven pages the Top 10 trucks of 2009.

School’s Out
Josh Barnes
2003 Chevrolet S-10
April
Innovation is a key element to building a truck that will get noticed in this scene. Having the vision to step outside the box and craft something no one else has had the stones to do is a major bonus. Josh Barnes had that vision with his 2003 Chevy S-10. Starting with a crew cab S-10 that had been totaled, Josh pulled out all the stops and hit one out of the park with a custom-built square tube frame from the firewall back, employing a dually rear axle and custom fiberglass bed sides with molded dually fenders to tuck 22-inch Alcoa Semi wheels. Laid flat on the ground with a turbocharged small-block under the cowl induction hood and steered from the right side behind a smoothed and painted Dodge Caliber right-hand drive dash, Josh’s truck put chins on the pavement the moment it rolled onto the scene.

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All in the Family
Scott, Steve and Lynne Lawrence
1968 GMC C-10
May

Not many can say that their 40-plus-year-old truck has been in the family since it was brand new off the dealership lot. For Scott Lawrence and his ’68 GMC that rings true. He built the truck as a tribute to his Uncle Joey, who once owned it. The attention to detail in this classic pickup is phenomenal, from the full mandrel bent frame by Mike Scott to the fully polished and built big-block motor under the hood and Sunset Pearl paint job by Lee Milinich. What set this truck apart even further was the choice to retain much of the factory exterior trim with a custom twist.

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The Blazing Brick
Ike Ray
1984 Chevy C-10
July

Square body Chevy C-10 pickups have been some of the most popular builds in recent years. Ike Ray of Council Hill, Oklahoma, reaffirmed this trend by laying his ’84 C-10 laying flat on the rockers and coating it with sick custom color. Of course, staggered 22- and 24-inch BAD wheels buried in the fenders and a highly detailed and tire-smoking 400-ci small-block between the frame rails didn’t hurt. What really pulled our focus to Ike’s truck were the wild flames intertwined with twisting tribals, making our hearts race with one glance.

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Bull’s-Eye
Josh Rousseau
1993 Toyota Pickup
August

Creating suicide doors on a Toyota mini-truck is nothing new, but chopping the top 3 inches as well can be an uncomfortable proposition. The proportions of a truck that comes up almost waist high are visually perfect, but they can make it tough for a driver to get in and out of the truck. Josh combined these elements, thanks to a stock floor body drop from IF Customs with some custom interior and motor work to create a 3-foot wonder. Along the way a few accidents tempted his patience and determination on the build, but he bounced back each time and pushed the truck even further.

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Wreckless
Ryan Alvidrez
1972 Chevrolet C-10
September

Not looking to build your run-of-the-mill, bolt-on suspension and seat cover laden SEMA truck, Ryan Alvidrez, with the help of Steve Chapman, built his 1972 Chevrolet C-10 for display in the Earthquake booth and to outdo his S-10 Blazer from the year before. Under the hood, a LS-1 Corvette motor was detailed and outfitted with a ProCharger supercharger unit. The bed not only features a full custom fiberglass and painted subwoofer enclosure, but an innovative under-slung wishbone suspension and mandrel bent frame too. The interior is just as one-off as the rest of the truck to complete the “no area left untouched” C-10 just in time for the SEMA floor.

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G.T. F-100
Rick Johnson
1968 Ford F-100
September

Performance is a big part of the custom package on any pickup, and Kirk Johnson of Carmichael, California. nailed it with his Shelby-inspired ’68 Ford F-100 pickup. Having been with Kirk since his high school days, lots of memories are packed into that old cab, so a complete rebuild was in order. A built Cobra Jet engine detailed to the nines thumps between the ‘rails, while a retro, Shelby-themed interior with wood gauge panel and a Shelby three-spoke wheel join the black leather buckets for a festival of retro. Roseville Rod & Custom created this performance picture and topped the look off with a silver topcoat, complete with gray G.T. F-100 stripes hitting below the belt, and one-off billet wheels fashioned after Shelby GT350 wheels. Kirk’s truck has quickly become recognized as one of the finest custom examples of this body style F-100 ever built.

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Hardcore Do Lay
David “Potter” Williams
2007 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD
October

Let’s face it, dually trucks always look badass laid out flat on the ground. If they are tucking custom 24-inch semi wheels and feature a custom interior, they are that much hotter. David “Potter” Williams enlisted the help of Ekstensive Metalworks to build a full 3 x 5-inch custom frame to get the heavy hauler’s rockers on the ground. The beefy frame and suspension work would ensure that Potter could still use the dually as a tow pig. One the inside, Potter molded a 13-inch monitor into the Chevy’s dash and built an insane fiberglass center console to house a bevy of Rockford Fosgate subwoofers.

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Down and Dirty
Edgar Lopez
2003 Dodge Ram
December

Going outside the box always gains respect in the custom truck world. Edgar Lopez chose to go all out on his 2003 Dodge Ram to combine a muscle truck vibe with luxury styling. What’s even better is that he did a majority of the innovative work himself. The horned heavy hitter was laid flat out by Metal Minds Fabrication over a set of wide 24-inch Forgiato wheels. To fit the wide rollers and add to the modern muscle style, Edgar widened the body. The motor is outfitted with a Vortech supercharger, and is alcohol injected. Edgar reshaped the front bumper to act as an inlet for the intercooler. The truck was then blocked smooth and sprayed black, the custom interior finishes the black-on-black theme.

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Dream Chaser
Travis Montgomery
1998 Chevy S-10
December

We have seen a lot of custom S-10s come through the scene over the past few years, but Travis Montgomery’s ’98 knocked us over when we first laid eyes on it. Being ‘bagged and body dropped over a custom frame, with right-hand drive and a built V-8 sets the stage. Toss in a custom steel-fabricated, street rod-style dash and door panels with digital gauges and a swing pedal assembly, and the hot rod theme on this magnificent mini is pushed even further. All of the exterior metal artistry was dripped in a smooth earth tone and accented with simple graphics. The detail runs deep on this S-dime, with a sheet metal laden and smoothed inner bed with an opening cut for access to the fuel cell, which also provides a window to the exceptionally detailed frame. Hats off to Travis for creating a turntable-quality mini.

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Street Trucks’ Truck of the Year 2009

ST-0912-TRUCKS-10AVS Blazer
Jeff Jacoby
1971 Chevrolet Blazer
January

 

Travis: The Truck of the Year award takes the best custom trucks featured each year and pits them against each other for top magazine honors. We look at each truck from all the custom angles, including body modifications and paint, chassis and suspension, interior and audio, drivetrain, engineering, detail, and fit and finish. This year the AVS Blazer owned by Jeff Jacoby took our top honors due to its perfect combination of all of those elements. The Blazer packs a wallop with a bevy of custom work by The Choppin’ Block and Settin’ Trendz transforming it into the smooth, detailed and jaw-dropping open air cruiser we displayed on our January 2009 cover. Transformed into a full-time roadster, the Blazer has been meticulously chiseled on every surface with capped doors, a custom-built sheet metal dash and console stretching into the exceptionally engineered rear suspension. The custom, mandrel-bent chassis cranks the volume to 11 and then rips the knob off with the custom-plated exhaust smoothly sloping over the green-coated suspension trickery. Of course, the AVS Blazer would not be complete without some “go” to match all the “show.” A GM Performance Ram Jet 350 pushes all of this metal art down the road with force, while being easy on the eyes with polished and painted detail all set in front of a smoothed firewall. What I like most about the AVS Blazer is that all of the custom pieces fit. Everything was meticulously placed and massaged for the perfect finished picture, and it’s got the stance and detail to stop traffic wherever it is shown, making it our clear choice for the 2009 Street Trucks Magazine Truck of the Year for 2009.

Jason: To be a contender for the Truck of the Year award, the truck has to have everything. Not only do the frame, motor, body, and interior have to be customized top to bottom, but it needs to include plenty of innovation as well in one clean package. My vote goes to the AVS Blazer owned by Jeff Jacoby that graced the cover on the first issue of 2009. The 1971 Chevrolet Blazer was built with the help of The Choppin’ Block and Settin’ Trendz to display AVS’s products at the SEMA show. Every element and square inch of the truck has been fully customized. The Blazer was given the roadster treatment with capped door panels flowing into the one-off sheet metal dash and console. The “bed” of the Blazer had its panels reworked and raised up for cleaner lines. The guys over at The Choppin’ Block put it down, building a fully mandrel-bent chassis that peeks through the custom stereo setup. Of course, it wouldn’t be a winner without a fully built engine compartment. Up front, a 1995-98 C/K grille and lights were modified to fit, and the front roll pan contains handmade intake vents that are matched out back by the exhaust tips. Every section of the AVS Blazer was given the one-off treatment, with a few innovative tricks to top it off, making it the Truck of the Year for 2009!

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