One of the best ways to customize your late model vehicle is to change the factory interior and exterior surfaces using a vinyl wrap. Changing the stock trim to an updated style personalizes the look of any vehicle.
To demonstrate the ease with which you can achieve this style upgrade we took a 2010 Toyota Tundra Platinum Edition and changed the factory simulated wood trim on the dash and door panels.
There are many articles and videos on how to vinyl wrap a vehicle to change the vehicle’s exterior. We wanted to show you how quick changes to common interior finishes add a dramatic style change and make your ride less factory… and more you.
We contacted Miguel at 805 Wraps located in Ventura, California and showed him our Tundra’s outdated faux wood accents. He took one look and said “No problem, what do you want to change it to?” He pulled out a huge key ring of sample styles to choose from. Wow, with so many choices we are going to have a hard time picking just one!
Back in the ‘80s when wrapping surfaces with vinyl began to be an option, it was limited to basic primary colors but today the choices are almost endless. With finish options that range from gloss to a flat matte style, all the way up to a color-changing chameleon wrap – in case you didn’t want to settle for just one color.
With so many choices it was difficult to choose but when Miguel showed us a carbon fiber-style wrap we thought it would look perfect on all the door panels of the Tundra. Sweet! Let’s do it!
Within minutes Miguel had the armrests removed and he was prepping each of them by wiping down the surfaces with a 50% Isopropyl alcohol/water mix to remove any dirt or oil so the vinyl wrap adheres to the faux wood finish armrests.
Once the surfaces were clean it was time to fit the carbon fiber wrap. The first thing was to stretch the fabric over the armrest and basically start molding it around all the curves and the areas where the switches would go. With a little help from a heat gun the fabric bonded tight to the armrest. This is where experience and technique come into play. Knowing how much to stretch the wrap and how much heat is applied to the certain areas that you are working on so there isn’t too much distortion to the vinyl and you achieve good adhesion. Miguel made it look easy.
Once the armrest was wrapped, Miguel used an X-acto knife to carefully trim all the excess material and cut out the areas where the window and door lock switches would be. A quick once-over with a heat gun and the former boring, fake wood trim armrest was now a bitchin’ looking carbon fiber finish piece.
Miguel repeated the process on the rest of the doors and within an hour our fake wood-trimmed armrests were a thing of the past. We didn’t have Miguel do the same treatment to the dash because of our limited time and budget but just changing the armrests made a huge difference in the way the interior looked.
Miguel’s keen eye spotted our worn and scratched side window pillars which came from the factory in black. Miguel recommended applying a new swatch of black vinyl so it covered the old, scratched pillars. He said he could have it done in about 30-minutes. True to his word, he transformed the old faded black window side pillars into ones that looked brand new! Good job, Miguel!
Once everything was done and looking spiffy, we asked Miguel if there is a special way to take care of your vinyl wrap and he said there was. Avery Dennison is one top-brand that manufactures an assortment of products made specifically for the care of vinyl wraps. Miguel advised us if you do normal care of your vehicle and use these products as directed on the bottle. With proper care, your wrap will last 3-4 years before needing a makeover.
The interior and exterior vinyl wrap treatments made this OG Tundra look better than new. Our Tundra looked very stylish with its new carbon fiber armrests and window pillars. We said goodbye and thank you to Miguel.
As we sped off we played “Wrap it Up” by the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Seemed appropriate.
If you’re in the Ventura / Oxnard, California area give Miguel a call and see what he can wrap for you.
INSTAGRAM / @EightOFiveWraps
6353 Ventura Blvd., Unit 41
Ventura CA 93003
What if we said someone is swapping out the combustion engine in an old classic farm truck for a new fully electric Tesla Model S motor. Pretty cool, but you’ve heard that one before, right?
That’s what Mikey Rolleri and the crew at Savage to Salvage in Boca Raton, Florida, thought when they were planning their next big build. So, when someone mentioned adding a second Tesla Maodel S motor in the front, brainpower overtook horsepower and the excitement built up faster than the price tag, which is a factor to consider when taking on a project like this.
With this particular classic Chevy truck, money doesn’t exist. Only the absolute best will be considered, and Mikey better be able to do epic burnouts when it’s complete. On top of all that, the team decided it would be a good idea to film it all and share the progress a few times per week on their quickly growing YouTube channel. Based on the soaring numbers their videos get, we would say this was possibly their best decision to date, other than stuffing two motors in one squarebody, of course.
Dual Tesla motors from 2017 Model 3 vehicles were plucked and shipped to the bay at S2S. These were the long-range units with original specs of 220 miles of range, a 0-60 time of 5.6 aseconds, and a top speed of 130 mph.
This single-location speed shop that employs less than five fabricators at any given time is always looking to push the boundaries. Their motto: “We are misfits, proud to stand out from the crowd on a daily basis. We are fast flyers, ass kickers, name-takers, and heartbreakers.”
With a tag like that, their work has to be good, am I right? The completion goal for this build was SEMA 2021 and they actually made it to the Toyo Tires booth with time to spare. But enough about the concept, let’s talk about the combination.
Starting off with a clapped out 1985 Chevy C10 truck that was sitting in the back lot of S2S, the complete crew cleared their schedules, workbenches, and minds to tackle the teardown. All the new technology Mickey is hoping to shove in the Square definitely cannot get bolted onto that old Chevy framerail, so the Salvage to Savage crew built an all-new chassis with a 117-inch wheelbase designed to sit low and hold the Tesla Model 3 battery pack centered in the frame.
The suspension components that were attached to the frame are comprised of Front Corvette C5 spindle, Tesla Model S rear spindle, Tesla Model S rear control arms, Part Shop Max front control arms, a rear Pushrod Suspension, and Viking Performance springs.
New body panels from Auto Metal Direct were added to the new chassis, but even some of those parts would get the custom treatment as well. The front and rear fenders were cut and an all new carbon fiber wide body was built and installed in house. Door handles from a Nissan GTR are a trick addition and a big window kit adds a cool custom detail not many will notice. Finally, to top off all the madness, the truck was combined from front to back to make one large unibody. Did you notice?
Now let’s get to the good stuff, and I mean power! Dual Tesla motors from 2017 Model 3 vehicles were plucked and shipped to the bay at S2S. These were the long-range units with original specs of 220 miles of range, a 0-60 time of 5.6 seconds, and a top speed of 130 mph. A Tesla gear reduction and custom built 1,500-hp half-shafts from the Driveshaft Shop transfer the power to the wheels, while Wilwood front brakes and Tesla rear brakes bring the truck to a stop with the help of an original Tesla master cylinder.
The truck needed multiple coolant radiators and fans from Mishimoto to keep temperatures in check, while all the fittings and hoses came from Earls and Holley Performance. Controlling the batteries and motors turned out to be one of the trickiest parts of this project. Luckily Mikey has a large network of supporters that can get him out of any sticky situation. The final fix was to include a ZeroEV Battery Control Unit by GenX.
Rounding off the list of major mods were the interior upgrades and exterior graphics. To protect that insane person driving this rocket ship is a 1 5/8-inch chromoly roll cage was built to perfection and a set of Status Carbon Fiber racing seats were bolted up. A custom Carbon Fiber dash and door panel combo was formed in house before adding the Haltech digital gauges and IC7 gauge panel. A few last touched include a Status steering wheel and Billet Restomod A/C vents and controls which look amazing.
The final piece of the S2SLA puzzle was an exterior design that would impress the best. After adding new Auto Metal Direct bumpers and grille, the complete body and S2S Carbon fiber wide body kit were wrapped in this killer design thanks to the team at Mimessi Auto Design. Holley Classic Truck headlights and some trim pieces were last on the list before the first test fire.
“Nothing is impossible” says Mike, and after this ambitious undertaking, it’s clear that there is a new talent in town. This truck has already made a presence at The SEMA show in 2021 as well as the first ever Holley High-Voltage EV fest. The project has had a few unexpected issues when it came to understanding how to operate an all-wheel drive powered truck, but after making some very valuable relationships in the EV world, Mike’s team cleared the problem path and are now on their way to victory.
Technically speaking: The material composition of modern tires are synthetic rubber, natural rubber, fabric, wire, carbon black, and other chemical compounds. They are comprised of a tread and a body. The tread provides traction while the body provides containment for a quantity of compressed air.
Early versions of tires were simply bands of metal fitted around wooden wheels to prevent wear and tear. Early rubber tires were solid. Pneumatic tires are used on many types of vehicles, including cars, bicycles, motorcycles, buses, trucks, heavy equipment, and aircraft. Metal tires are still used on locomotives and railcars, and solid rubber (or other polymer) tires are still used in various non-automotive applications, such as some casters, carts, lawn mowers, and wheelbarrows.
The tires you choose affects your ride-quality, maneuverability, and safety… choose wisely. Your smartest options come from a knowledgable professional.
We’ve compiled a short list of brands that can alter the way you feel behind the wheel. Whether you are running on the wear-bar and need replacements, or looking for a lower profile and more grip in the corners, these will get you down the road satisfied and safe.
Q: What is the term for the process of cutting thin slits across a rubber surface to improve traction in wet or icy conditions?
Trail Blade MTS
Atturo’s Trail Blade MT Sport is the race inspired evolution of the MT. An ultra modern aggressive sidewall draws buyers while the new tread pattern is a mudslinging phenom. Made for 12” wide wheels, the 35×13.5R20 is now available. The Trail Blade MTS size range is from 17” up to 24”, including select 12 Ply rated sizes.
The AZ850 asymmetric tread design features different inside and outside tire contours to achieve optimum balance across the tread face. This design evenly distributes the pressure of the contact surface to enhance comfort and handling.
The unique compound and tread design of the AZ850 were specifically engineered for the contemporary performance utility vehicle. The result is a rubber compound that helps reduce rolling resistance, which, in turn, allows the tire to run cooler at high speed. High-tensile steel belts and jointless nylon bands increase stability at high speeds and provide secure braking, handling and durability.
Mud-Terrain T/A® KM3
Representing the latest innovation in BFGoodrich’s 40-year history of advancing off-road tire technology, the Mud-Terrain T/A® KM3 tire is must-have equipment for those who need tires to perform in nearly any off-road scenario.
“The KM3 tire is essential equipment for serious off-road enthusiasts. We designed this tire for extreme toughness and traction,” said Harold Phillips, global general manager of the BFGoodrich brand. “Whether building for off-road fun or for extreme capability to reach outdoor activities, this tire was made to take drivers anywhere they want to go.”
(1) These numbers tell you how big your tires are. In this case, the tire is 245 millimeters at its widest point (when it’s mounted on a wheel of a specified width). (2) The number after the slash indicates its aspect ratio, or profile. In this case, this tire’s sidewall height is 40 percent of its width. (3) The “R” stands for radial construction. (4) The number 18 indicates that this tire fits an 18-inch wheel. (5) Service description provides insights into the tire’s performance: how much weight it can carry and how fast it can run safely. (6) Some tire makers note the heaviest spot of the tire with a red dot. It ultimately has no bearing on tire-and-wheel balance, so it’s of little importance. (7) The numbers after the word “tread wear” indicate the tread wear life of the tire. (8) The letter after the word “traction” is a rating that results from a test of how much grip a tire generates when dragged across wet pavement without the tire rotating. (9) The letter following the word “temperature” is an indicator of how well a tire dissipates heat, which increases severely at high speed. (10) This is a list of the tire’s construction materials. (11) Some tires carry an “M+S” marking, which stands for “mud and snow.” It means that the tire has a little extra space between its tread blocks. (12) If a tire has the three-peak mountain snowflake icon molded into its sidewall, it has significant snow capability and should be considered a viable winter tire. (13) This area of the tire may display an (OE) marking. Automakers sometimes take a standard, off-the-rack commodity tire and modify its construction or rubber compound to work better on one of their models. (14) This is U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) labeling. The first two characters indicate the factory of manufacture, and the next five or six are manufacturer-specific jargon (for tracking purposes, as in the case of a recall). The last four numbers give the date of production which let you know how old your tires are with the first two digits indicating the week and the latter two the year (for example, “2318” means that tire was produced in the 23rd week of 2018).
Continental Tire’s next generation premium Crossover and small SUV all-season tire line developed with a focus on long tread life. Engineered to be quiet, fuel efficient and responsive, with styling to compliment today’s crossover vehicles.
Mastercraft Courser AXT2
The Courser AXT2 tire is made for people who use their vehicles to work hard and play hard. Specifically crafted to combat cuts and chips from gravel/dirt roads, the Courser AXT2 tire is ready to take on tough worksite hauls and muddy dirt roads thanks to its durable cut and chip tread pattern, tough off-road sidewall, and improved 55K warranty.
Phoenix Race Tires 28×10.5 Drag Racing Slick
Phoenix Race Tires enters the “small tire” market with new four new 28×10.5-inch drag racing slicks, designed for optimal traction, stability and consistency on prepared or unprepared surfaces. The 28×10.5-inch size is a staple in the small tire outlaw racing scene, including “no prep” racing.
American Classic Model A+ Whitewall Radial Tire
The American Classic Model A+ Radial tire is new and improved for 2020, now available with a wide whitewall. This revolutionary tire has the vintage look of an authentic bias ply tire, and the comfort and safety of a modern radial. This new tire is designed for 1928 to 1931 Ford Model A, but also fits many other applications from the ‘20s and ‘30s.
The Firestone Destination A/T2 is an all-terrain truck and SUV tire built for dependable on and off-road traction and longer-lasting performance.* This all-weather tire is built for wet performance and on-road handling, plus 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake certification. Backed by a 55,000 mile limited warranty, the Firestone Destination A/T2 is built tough for dependability on or off road. *as compared to the Destination A/T
The Firestone Destination X/T is an all-terrain light truck and SUV tire built for dependable off-road traction and heavy-duty toughness that lasts. Backed by a 50,000 mile limited warranty, this all-weather tire delivers year-round performance and is 3 peak mountain snowflake certified. The Destination X/T is built tough to give you proven “anywhere” traction and durability you can count on.
Kenda Klever A/T2 KR628
Premium Performance for value-driven consumers. Exceptional ride and comfort for an all-terrain tire with strong durability, aggressive styling, and an optimized tread design. Best solution for SUV, light truck and 4×4 owners on the road, in snow or off-road. Klever A/T2 is 3PMSF Winter Snowflake certified and has 50K (LT) or 60K (Metric) warranty.
Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Inflation is key to proper wear and rolling resistance of pneumatic tires. Many current vehicles have monitoring systems to assure proper inflation. For passenger vehicles and light trucks, the tires should be inflated to what the vehicle manufacturer recommends, which is usually located on a decal just inside the driver’s door or in the vehicle owners handbook.
ET STREET® S/S – Street tire for the drag strip
A street tire that can be driven on the track, the ET Street S/S from Mickey Thompson is a high performance street to strip tire with radial construction, R2 compound and more; 15- to 20-inch fitments.
Years of grueling on-track experience and advanced engineering shine through in this extreme-performance summer tire. The Proxes R1R helps you drive hard through the corners and quickly accelerate in the straightaways. Features include an aggressive, arrowhead tread design, extra wide footprint, high-grip compound, and autocross-inspired casing design.
AVID Ascend LX
U.S.-made, Yokohama’s premium touring tire, the new AVID Ascend LX, is available in 39 T-, H- and V-rated sizes ranging from 15” to 18”. Made for passenger cars, minivans and crossovers, the Ascend LX offers longer treadlife, superior wet traction, dependable winter traction and a quiet, smooth ride, plus a hefty 85,000-mile tread life warranty.
Pressure, tread, rotation, alignment—these are the top four when it comes to ongoing tire maintenance. Spending a little time on these essentials every month and every few thousand miles will help your tires keep you safe.
1. Tire Pressure
Proper inflation pressure—perhaps the most important tire condition to monitor—gives tires the ability to support the vehicle and you to control it for maximum performance. Bonus benefit: Maintaining proper inflation pressure maximizes fuel economy, too.
Under inflated tires generate excessive heat build-up and stress, causing irregular wear and internal damage.
Over inflated tires are more likely to be cut, punctured or damaged when hitting an obstacle, such as a pothole.
Checking your pressure
Use a tire gauge to check inflation pressure, measured in in PSI (pounds per square inch). You’ll find recommended pressure on a label on the driver’s door or in your vehicle owner’s manual. And don’t forget about your spare.
When to check
Check your tires at least once a month, and check them when they’re cold—meaning parked for at least three hours. Note that inflation pressure increases (in warm weather) or decreases (in cold weather) one to two pounds for every 10 degrees of temperature change.
Also, check your pressure before you head out on any long trips, carry heavy loads or tow a trailer.
Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) detect loss of inflation pressure and warn drivers when tires are 25% under inflated. For many vehicles, this warning may be too late to prevent damage. TPMS are not a replacement for monthly tire pressure checks with a gauge.
2. Tread Depth
Tread equals traction—giving your tires a grip on the road, especially in bad weather. Lose too much tread and you could lose control.
Once your tread wears down to 2/32nds of an inch, it’s time to visit your local tire shop. Take a few minutes each month to visually inspect your tires for uneven wear, high and low areas, unusually smooth areas and other signs of damage.
Tires have built-in tread wear indicators, or wear bars. When the tops of these bars are flush with the tire’s tread, the tire needs to be replaced.
Here’s a quick and affordable tread test: Place a penny upside down into a tread groove. If part of Lincoln’s head is covered by the tread, you’re good to go. If you can see all of his head, it’s new tire time.
3. Tire Rotation
Rotating your tires based on the recommendations in your vehicle’s owner’s manual can prevent irregular tire wear. If no rotation period is specified, USTMA recommends every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.
Once you’re done, make sure the inflation pressure is set to the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications.
4. Tire Alignment
Striking a pothole or other road hazard could cause alignment issues. Misaligned wheels can lead to uneven, rapid tread wear and should be corrected by a tire dealer. Have your alignment checked at any indication of trouble, such as “pulling,” and periodically, along with your tire balance, as specified by your vehicle’s owner’s manual.
Thanks to the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association for this content.
Rugged gets redefined with Yokohama’s new GEOLANDAR X-AT extreme all-terrain tire. The X-AT is available in 27 sizes, ranging from 15” to 22”. It offers ultimate off-road performance without sacrificing any on-road comfort, making it a great performance upgrade for a variety of pick-up trucks and SUVs, no matter how or where they’re driven.
By SEMA Editors
Yokohama Tire announced that its all-terrain GEOLANDAR X-AT and the performance SUV/crossover GEOLANDAR X-CV each won 2019 GOOD DESIGN awards in the transportation category from The Chicago Athenaeum.
The X-AT was the most decorated tire in the industry this year. It was also named “Best New Tire” at SEMA and earned two Global Media Awards as well. And the X-CV was a 2020 SEMA New Product runner-up.”
According to The Chicago Athenaeum, the GOOD DESIGN awards program, which began in 1950, creates awareness about contemporary design and honors products and industry leaders in design and manufacturing that have chartered new directions for innovation and pushed the envelope for competitive products in the world marketplace.
When you’ve got it, you’ve got it. And when the world around you doesn’t know you’ve got it, you show them you’ve got it. That’s a quick summary of Howard “Howie” Kendrick’s life, and to say that the man has had some pretty interesting adventures would be an understatement. Howie is a known classic watch collector, as well as an established photographer, but what many don’t know is that he’s also an avid car enthusiast and has worked on many of his own projects over the years. Oh yeah, he also played a bit of baseball and helped get the Washington Nationals to a World Series championship in 2019.
Raised by his grandmother Ruth, Howie has always made it clear that he owes his life and career to her, and with that career-topping World Series win under his belt, he certainly has a lot to be thankful for considering she’s the one who signed him up for T-ball at age 5. Growing up in the South around lots of trucks, Howie has a big soft spot for anything built to haul, whether it’s a bed-full of hay or, as the case may be, a bed-full of friends on a high school cruise around town. And so, Howie has always had some sort of truck in his garage throughout the years.
Recently, Howie had the itch for another truck to add to his collection. He had wanted to build another for a while, and the ’64-’66 C10s were right up his alley, so he had his eyes peeled for the right deal. Luckily, the perfect candidate was located nearby.
“I found the truck for sale from a local seller and quickly bought it,” Howie says. “It was supposedly a frame-off restoration, and the truck appeared to be a great running and driving truck with a nice blue and white, two-tone paintjob.”
Sounds like a score so far, right? Well, as is often the case with nice paint jobs, there was a different story to be told underneath.
“When we started diving into the truck it was anything but nice,” he says. “Once we found rust underneath the paint, we decided to have the truck stripped to see what else the paintjob was hiding. After having to replace the fenders and some rust in the rocker panels, I decided to ditch the patina paint idea I had for something much nicer.”
We think everyone would agree that Howie made the right choice in going with the fresh paint look, but the project ended up snowballing from the original plan of a new paintjob and GSI air-ride chassis swap into what you see here.
After hitting up Fat Fender Garage to tackle the work, the plan evolved and was slowly refined to make this one of the baddest C10s on the planet. Before long, a Chevy LSA engine was ordered up alongside a 6L90E transmission, setting the tone for a top-tier build that FFG owner Jason Noel admits was one of the most involved projects he has ever taken on. If you know Jason, you know that’s saying a lot!
The truck underwent a complete transformation, with some very unique features such as zebrawood throughout the bed and interior, along with soft trim from Hydes Leather, and even Cerakote on parts that would traditionally be chrome-plated. And by now, you’ve probably stared at those carbon-lipped 22-inch AG Luxury AGL60 forged wheels.
So what does Howie think of the truck now that it’s done and he’s had a chance to enjoy it for a while?
“From the chassis, interior, and exterior color choices, along with the powerplant, I’d say we knocked it out of the park [We see what you did there, Howie – Ed.]! One of the main reasons I ended up at Fat Fender was their attention to detail and craftsmanship,” he says.
“Ruth has turned out to be everything I could want out of a classic truck and more. Just like my grandmother, she manages to put a smile on my face every chance I see her. I couldn’t have thought of a better way to celebrate the memory of my grandmother than with my passion for trucks,” Howie says. “Fat Fender Garage has accomplished everything we set out to do with this truck and more. Ruth is still putting smiles on my face, and hopefully inspiring other people’s dreams and builds.”
CHASSIS & SUSPENSION
WHEELS & TIRES
ENGINE & DRIVETRAIN
BODY & PAINT
INTERIOR & STEREO
No major racing championship has converted itself entirely from fossil fuel to electrons until now, as Chaels Morris from Evannex reports:
The racing world is gradually going electric. Formula E has been delivering thrills for eight seasons now, and the more rough-and-tumble Extreme E is midway through its second season. Electric racers, both 4-wheeled and 2-wheeled, have distinguished themselves at the yearly Pikes Peak Hill Climb. Teslas have been shaking up the street racing subculture.
Rallycross racing has been a thing for over 50 years, and the FIA-accredited World Rallycross (RX) championship has existed since 2014. Now, as James Morris writes in Forbes, World RX has “ditched dinosaur juice and chosen a fully electrified future.” The inaugural all-electric World RX race recently took place in Hell, Norway.
Rallycross is considered a hybrid of offroad rally driving and on-track racing—the courses include both tarmac and gravel sections, and they’re full of sharp turns and hills. Each race is short—only a few laps—and massive acceleration is required. This, of course, makes Rallycross a perfect use case for EVs.
Morris reports that the drivers are finding the new electric racers to be much faster than the old ICE ones, and none seem to want to go back. The RX1e car does 0-62 mph in under two seconds, making it quicker than a current Formula 1 racer.
The cars all use an all-wheel-drive powertrain supplied by the Austrian firm Kreisel Electric. The 52 kWh battery pack only weighs 330 kg (total car weight is around 1,400 kg), and the motors deliver 500 kW of power (680 hp) and a massive 880 Nm of torque.
A dielectric fluid cooling system can be supplemented with a trackside conditioner (perhaps similar to the outboard liquid cooling system used by Formula E). World RX expects the packs to last for four years of racing.
Source: Evannex.com (Charles Morris)
Life tends to take a few wild and unexpected turns from time to time, and so do careless drivers. Still, each obstacle that life throws out tests how we’ll handle adversity. Paul Rogers has met his challenges with perseverance and optimism.
More than a decade after purchasing his beloved ’97 GMC Sierra, Paul was T-boned in a car accident. Thanks to his love for customs and a supportive community, Paul got to work rebuilding his truck. His “Work Truck,” as he still calls it, however, would not be returning to OEM condition. Making the best of a bad situation, Paul decided to build a custom-body-dropped OBS with the platform he had. Setting to work with his own two hands, Paul finished a beautifully put together street truck, one that features classic cues, cohesive styling and rock-solid execution.
“Paul’s Work Truck is the quintessential enthusiast’s solution to an unfortunate accident: Build it better.”
His first order of business was establishing chassis modifications to accommodate the massive drop. He placed the frame on the chopping block and added a C-notch to the back half, which also required that the rearend be narrowed 4 inches. Custom Moser axles were added to get the job done. Additionally, the spring pockets were trimmed to create clearance for the new suspension components. A Thorbeck triangulated 4-link holds the rear suspension together. The front opts for Michigan Metal Works upper and lower control arms with 2-inch drop spindles. Both the front and rear use a combination of DJM lowering shocks with Slam Specialties RE7 airbags.
The five-spoke rollers underneath Paul’s Work Truck strike a perfect balance between visible and tucked. The GMC sports a set of staggered Bonspeed billet Huntington wheels. The front pair measures 9 inches wide, and the rears 10. All four boast a 22-inch diameter. The tires are paired with Toyo Proxes, 255/30R22 front and 285/30R22 rear. Factory GM brakes provide plenty of stopping power, using discs in the front and drums in the rear. Supplying power to the wheels is a bulletproof GM 5.7L Vortec V-8. The SBC has been accessorized with a K&N intake and Magnaflow mufflers. The result is a modest yet throaty exhaust tone that speaks volumes to Work Truck’s classic styling and persona. The motor is mated to a five-speed transmission, furthering the look and feel of a work truck.
“His GMC has been completely transformed from a modest daily-driver into a show-stopping performer, one that’s still capable of handling daily work.”
Paul’s truck bears a wide array of exterior modifications, including a traditional body drop. Thanks to its classic paint and styling, however, these fly low under the radar and create a cohesive, understated look that’s perfect for the GMC. The front styling is comprised of a stock chrome front bumper, paint-matched grille insert and sealed beam headlights. Shaved and smoothed door handles, roof seams and gas filler trail down the sides of Work Truck. Paul himself expertly carried out the bodywork, leaving only the ultra-smooth OBS body lines visible.
In the rear, stock tails light up the corners with additional tinning for a custom look. A smooth roll pan took the place of the bumper to continue the body lines and draw the eye to the truck’s minimal ground clearance. Behind the scenes, retrimmed and reinforced inner fenders, front and rear, tighten things up. Finally, the stock bed floor was raised to accommodate the C-notch and air suspension. It was finished in classic black bedliner for an OEM appearance. Then Paul painted Work Truck in Akzo Nobel Subaru Silver.
The interior is the only space where Paul outsourced some of the work. J Cat Customs helped reupholster the interior, creating a clean and elegant driving experience. The front and rear seats are outfitted with gray leather and suede inserts. The silver theme stretches floor to ceiling with custom gray carpet and headliner. The door panels and other interior accessories have also been paint-matched to the custom-smoothed dash. A Bonneville billet steering wheel matches Work Truck’s rolling attire. The five-speed trans is controlled with a billet Lokar shifter.
The dash and center console have both been beautifully customized to OEM quality. The center console houses the AccuAir e-Level controller and the dash fits a Kenwood double-DIN touchscreen head unit. The sound is sent through Kicker CX 1200 and CX 600 amplifiers to Alpine R speakers. The rear sports dual shallow-mount 10-inch Kicker subwoofers. The advanced stereo system is assisted by stealthy 3M sound deadener stretched throughout the cabin. The GMC’s system is fed plenty of power with dual Interstate Megaton batteries controlled by a digital isolator.
Paul’s Work Truck is the quintessential enthusiast’s solution to an unfortunate accident: Build it better. His GMC has been completely transformed from a modest daily-driver into a show-stopping performer, one that’s still capable of handling daily work. Its execution relies on simple styling and proven recipes for success. The polished billet wheels and accessories complement the bright silver exterior. The custom gray-adorned cabin finishes the monochromatic appearance. OEM body panels contrast with the frame-laying drop for a clean and bold presence. The truck is entirely well rounded, leaving Paul with a beautifully built resolution.
[divider] TRUCK SPECS [/divider]
1997 GMC Sierra
St. Charles, MO
CHASSIS & SUSPENSION
WHEELS & TIRES
BODY & PAINT
INTERIOR & STEREO
Special Thanks From the Owner: “Akzo Nobel for supplying the paint, Jim Tate at J Cat Customs for doing my seats, Chico for tons of advice, and last but not least, my family for allowing me to spend so much time in the garage.”
Hennessey, the Texas-based hypercar manufacturer and high-performance vehicle creator, has announced the development and engineering for the new “VelociRaptor 500” Ranger. The high-performance midsize pickup is based on the all-new 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, to which Hennessey’s engineers applied their extensive expertise to boost power and improve capability.
The team at Hennessey, which has been “making fast cars faster” for more than 30 years, significantly enhanced the pickup’s twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine. The powerplant is rated at 405 bhp and 430 lb-ft of torque in stock configuration. Thanks to a new high-flow air induction system, a larger front-mounted intercooler, and an engine management software upgrade, Hennessey’s engineers boosted output to 500 bhp and 550 lb-ft of torque.
As is the case with the Hennessey VelociRaptor 500 Bronco Raptor, the powerplant is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission sending power to an all-wheel-drive system that has locking front and rear differentials and a low-range transmission for additional off-road capability. The extra horsepower will further improve the capabilities of the Ranger Raptor, which is fitted with an active exhaust system, Fox 2.5-inch Live Valve internal bypass shocks, and factory G.O.A.T driving modes: Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery, Sand, Mud/Ruts, Rock Crawl, Baja, and Tow-Haul.
Priced from $24,950—exclusive of the base Ford Ranger Raptor—the VelociRaptor 500 package features enhanced air induction, a high-capacity intercooler with a blow-off valve, and an upgraded engine management system. Hennessey will also transform the exterior with custom VelociRaptor bumpers, LED off-road lights, unique Hennessey 18-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels, 35-inch off-road tires, and “VelociRaptor 500” badging. The interior features Hennessey’s embroidered head restraints, all-weather floor mats, and a unique build number plaque.
The new Hennessey VelociRaptor 500 Bronco is available to order now through authorized Ford retailers or directly from Hennessey by calling 979-885-1300 or visiting HennesseyPerformance.com. International shipping begins in Q4 2023.
Ford is on track to increase production of the F-150 Lightning at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center this fall to reduce customer wait times. The high-demand F-150 Lightning XLT model gains the largest initial production increase with new retail orders made today estimated to deliver as early as September.
Ford also continues to accept retail customer orders for the Lariat and Platinum models. You can order exactly the F-150 Lightning you want from your local Ford dealer online at Ford.com or in-store. The F-150 Lightning XLT, with a starting MSRP of $64,474, delivers an EPA-estimated range of 240 miles. The available extended-range battery has an EPA-estimated range of 320 miles and 580 horsepower starting at $78,874.
The F-150 Lightning XLT—with standard range battery and most configurations for extended range battery—is eligible for $7,500 in potential federal tax credits.
The production increase for the F-150 Lightning is part of Ford’s plan to scale electric vehicles and make them more accessible to customers. Ford is on track to triple F-150 Lightning production by the end of this year to an annual rate of approximately 150,000 units to help meet customer demand for the high-tech truck.
Customers can order their F-150 Lightning from their local dealer at Shop.Ford.com or in-store.
General Motors Co. has announced plans to invest $632 million in Fort Wayne Assembly to prepare the plant for production of the next-generation internal combustion engine (ICE) full-size light-duty trucks. This investment will enable the company to strengthen its industry-leading full-size truck business. Product details and timing related to GM’s future trucks are not being released at this time.
The announcement brings GM’s U.S. manufacturing and parts distribution facility investment commitments to more than $31.6 billion since 2013. This investment bolsters GM’s U.S. manufacturing operations, which include more than 50 assembly, stamping, propulsion, and component plants and parts distribution centers nationwide. It also highlights the company’s commitment to continue providing customers a strong portfolio of ICE vehicles for years to come.
Fort Wayne proudly builds the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500. The quality and care of the Fort Wayne team members, both hourly and salaried, helped the 2023 Chevrolet Silverado to be the bestselling retail full-size light-duty pickup in 2022. Fort Wayne Assembly hourly employees are represented by UAW Local 2209.
This investment will support new conveyors, tooling, and equipment in the plant’s body and general assembly areas. GM has announced nearly $2 billion in investments for Fort Wayne Assembly and more than $2.8 billion in Indiana manufacturing operations since 2013.
Ford Motor Company, the Ford Fund, and Team Rubicon announced Team Rubicon Powered by Ford, a new disaster relief initiative that will serve the growing number of communities across the United States that are impacted by hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and wildfires. According to studies, 90% of U.S. counties experienced a federal climate disaster between 2011-2021. Ford’s investment—which includes a fleet of vehicles, a $2.5 million philanthropic donation, and a commitment to deploying employee volunteers—greatly expands Team Rubicon’s ability to provide no-cost services to vulnerable communities in the wake of these disasters and crises.
Team Rubicon Powered by Ford builds on nearly 25 years of disaster relief efforts by Ford. The company has invested in disaster relief efforts since 1999, when a catastrophic earthquake struck Turkey. Ford mobilized vehicles, volunteers, and other lifesaving aid in the region.
Since then, Ford has consistently supported disaster relief efforts in communities across the country and around the world. From Hurricane Harvey (2017) to the Texas ice storms (2021) to deadly storms in eastern Kentucky (2022), Ford has shown up for communities in need by deploying vehicles to provide emergency transportation and power, delivering essential goods, and funding direct service providers.
Over the last few years, the Ford Fund has donated $7 million to disaster relief efforts globally, including $1.5 million in previous investments to Team Rubicon.
GM Energy recently announced product details and specifications for its initial suite of upcoming Ultium Home offerings.
They will be the first solutions to be made available to residential customers through GM Energy and are designed to provide greater energy independence, resiliency, and value, enabling the use of backup power for essential home needs during times when energy is unavailable from the grid.
In addition to the initial suite of Ultium Home products, customers seeking to integrate solar energy will have the opportunity to work with SunPower, GM Energy’s exclusive solar provider and a preferred EV charger installer, to deliver power to their home and vehicle with clean energy generated on their roof, providing additional value and potential electricity cost savings.
Each of these Ultium Home products will be connected to the GM Energy Cloud, a software platform that will allow customers to seamlessly manage the transfer of energy between applicable and connected GM Energy assets.
MSRP and timeline for delivery for each of Ultium Home’s initial product bundles will vary. For more information about GM Energy and its ecosystem of available product and service offerings through Ultium Home, Ultium Commercial and Ultium Charge 360, please visit gmenergy.gm.com.
Lordstown Motors Corp. of Warren, Ohio, announced a strategic restructuring process to maximize the value of its assets: its on-the-road Endurance all-electric pickup truck and the intellectual property, platform, and people who developed it.
In addition, and as a consequence of Foxconn’s alleged material and irreparable harm, Lordstown is commencing a comprehensive marketing and sale process for the Endurance vehicle and related assets. To accomplish this expeditiously and provide a prospective buyer that the asset is free and clear of any legacy issues, Lordstown is restructuring under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in bankruptcy court. Lordstown further anticipates that the restructuring will enable an expedited timeline for hearing Lordstown’s litigation against Foxconn.
Edward Hightower, chief executive officer and president of Lordstown, said, “As one of the early entrants to the EV industry, we have delivered the Endurance, an innovative and highly capable EV with significant commercial and retail potential, and had subsequently engaged with Foxconn in a purposeful, strategic partnership to leverage this expertise into a broader EV development platform.
“Despite our best efforts and earnest commitment to the partnership, Foxconn willfully and repeatedly failed to execute on the agreed-upon strategy, leaving us with Chapter 11 as the only viable option to maximize the value of Lordstown’s assets for the benefit of our stakeholders,” Hightower continues. “We will vigorously pursue our litigation claims against Foxconn accordingly.”
After nearly two decades as the champion of the mid-size pickup truck market, the Toyota Tacoma is ready for its next chapter. This go-anywhere truck is entirely new for 2024 with epic adventures in mind, improving upon every winning aspect that has made it a stalwart for truck buyers for years along with Toyota’s legendary quality, durability, reliability, and much, much more.
Redesigned from the ground up and built upon the TNGA-F global truck platform shared with Tundra and Sequoia, the all-new Tacoma was designed and engineered for the U.S. market. For its fourth generation, Tacoma utilizes a new high-strength, boxed, steel-ladder frame; adds numerous features that off-road enthusiasts can play with; features an available fully redesigned multi-link coil rear suspension that improves ride and handling; and offers two powerful and efficient turbocharged four-cylinder powertrains, including a top-of-the-line i-FORCE MAX hybrid producing 326 horsepower and a massive 465 lb-ft of torque. Tacoma will also introduce the world to Toyota’s all-new Trailhunter grade, first revealed at the 2022 SEMA show as a Trailhunter concept, that’s a purpose-built overlanding rig available right off the dealer lot.
The all-new 2024 Tacoma will go on sale later this year with i-FORCE MAX models arriving in early 2024. Manufacturer’s suggested retail pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale dates.
The all-new 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor is coming to North America, based on a proven legacy of performance and built with uncompromised suspension design, power, purposeful technology, and rugged styling.
Ranger Raptor starts with a purpose-built suspension that includes lightweight aluminum upper and lower control arms and a long-travel rear suspension with a Watt’s linkage and trailing arms for control and confidence in off-road conditions. The FOX Live Valve internal bypass system changes damping performance based on Ranger Raptor’s drive modes. The modes include Normal, Tow/Haul, Sport, Slippery, Off-Road, Rock Crawl, and Baja. The active valve exhaust system can also be tuned to several modes including Quiet, Normal, Sport, and Baja settings. Ranger Raptor also comes with Trail Control so drivers can navigate tricky spots while the truck manages the throttle and brakes.
The Ford Performance tuned twin-turbo 3.0-liter EcoBoost V-6 produces 430 lb-ft of torque and best-in-class maximum available 405 horsepower, the most powerful Ranger ever built for increased performance on gravel, dirt, mud, and sand.
Flared fenders with functional fender vents house aggressive 33-inch BFGoodrich all-terrain KO3 tires on 17-inch wheels that can be mounted to optional beadlock capable wheels with available beadlocks for running extra-low tire pressures in sand and rocky conditions.
The 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor will be proudly assembled at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, with orders beginning later this month and availability late this summer.
The Ram Truck brand recently announced the exclusive new 2023 Ram 1500 Rebel and TRX Lunar editions join the light-duty lineup.
The Ram 1500 Rebel Lunar Edition offers off-road performance truck enthusiasts a unique exterior design for even greater personalization. Available with the Rebel Level 2 equipment group and the 5.7-liter HEMI eTorque V-8 engine, the Ram 1500 Rebel Lunar Edition features a 12-inch Uconnect 5 touchscreen with Off-road Pages, black sideview mirrors, heated front seats and steering wheel, and an eight-way power adjustable driver seat. Other features include an exclusive Ceramic Gray exterior paint color; a Rebel graphic on the hood and bed; black badging, bumper and grille; and 18-inch gloss black wheels. The Ram 1500 Rebel Lunar Edition is available at a starting price of $70,310, plus $1,895 destination.
The Ram 1500 TRX Lunar Edition enhances the well-appointed TRX Level 2 Equipment Group and includes an exclusive Ceramic Gray exterior color, TRX hood and bed graphics, 18-inch black beadlock capable wheels, dual-pane panoramic sunroof, spray-in bedliner, cargo tie-downs, bed step, and an LED cab-mounted brake light. Inside, the TRX Lunar Edition includes Surf Blue accent stitching, an embroidered “TRX” seat back logo, carbon-fiber accents, a leather and carbon-fiber flat-bottom steering wheel, unique center console badge, and a Head-up Display. Safety features include adaptive cruise control, Lane Keep Assist, and pedestrian emergency braking.
The 2023 Ram 1500 TRX Lunar Edition offers the proven and reliable high-performance 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI V-8 engine, delivering top output for extended driving sessions without degradation in performance. Rated at 702 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, the 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI V-8 engine powers the Ram TRX to a top speed of 118 mph. Combined with a high-torque-capacity TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission, the Ram TRX delivers a new level of performance: 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds and the quarter mile in 12.9 seconds at 108 mph. The Ram 1500 TRX Lunar Edition is available at a starting price of $106,445, plus $1,895 destination.
“Racing Mimi Evo” is a Mini Cooper SE that has been prepped for Romanian hillclimb competitions (Campionatul Naţional de Viteză în Coastă) in the 2022 season. With a stripped interior, roll cage, KW coilover suspension, and Mini Challenge wheels with slicks, the lightweight racing machine makes maximum use of its stock 184-horsepower motor. Stopping power comes from a Brembo John Cooper Works brake setup, which has been additionally fitted with a hydro handbrake.
The EV monster will have made its debut by the time you see this at the Trofeul Râşnov hillclimb event.
Torque is an off-road vehicle’s best friend, so it made perfect sense when Land Rover specialists E.C.D. Automotive Design out of Kissimmee, Florida, debuted one of its latest builds, Project Britton. The six-seater sports tons of custom touches, with the major one being the 450-horsepower Tesla motor swap. Although only a single motor was used (powered by a 100kWh battery pack), it still retains its four-wheel-drive configuration. Range is stated to be about 220 miles under normal street driving conditions, and 60mph can be achieved in just 5 seconds when in a hurry.
General Motors has announced that it will be introducing various EV components for different industries, including the automotive aftermarket. Among the most exciting are the Electric Connect and Cruise eCrate motor package, aimed at making the changeover to electric propulsion much easier for owners of internal combustion engine-powered vehicles. Examples, such as the ’72 El Camino developed in collaboration with Lingenfelter, are aimed at showcasing GM’s dedication to electrifying classic vehicles with advanced electric drivetrains.