DetonationMeeting future emissions and fuel-economy standards in medium- and heavy-duty trucks is becoming more and more of a concern for manufacturers and users alike. Over the last few years, we have seen major players in the game push to develop technology that meets more stringent requirements and still allows trucks to efficiently do their jobs. Companies are accepting the challenge in different ways. Many OEM engine suppliers have put effort into converting and building engines that use alternative fuels like natural gas to lower emissions. Toyota Motor Corporation took a different direction and developed an upsized version of the hydrogen fuel-cell technology found in its cars, for fitment in two Class 8 test trucks. The second test truck, a Kenworth T680 tractor, features improvements derived from data of the first Class 8 tester. The Kenworth is 1 ton lighter and went 100 miles further on a fill-up, for a total of a 300-mile range. A 10 percent increase in power over the first truck was also achieved. Fuel-cell vehicles are powered by electricity produced on board by oxygen and hydrogen. The Kenworth has a 12-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery and six carbon-fiber–wrapped tanks that hold 60 kilograms of compressed hydrogen gas. This combination powers twin electric motors that are good for 670 hp and 1,327 lb-ft of torque, which put them in the ballpark of a Cummins X15 Efficiency Series diesel engine.
Midsize Pickup Revealed in Full on Enthusiast ForumThe Jeep Gladiator Forum (formerly known as the Jeep Scrambler Forum) has reportedly discovered a leak of press materials on the 2020 Jeep Gladiator, a pickup version of the stellar Wrangler JL. The forum claims this information came from Jeep’s public media website, where it was accidentally published and hastily removed, but not before one forum user was able to snap up “a treasure trove of photos and info,” according to the forum’s authors.
News, Rumors, Trends, StuffAh, the SEMA Show. Each year, nearly 200,000 automotive industry professionals make the pilgrimage from around the world to Sin City for a weeklong celebration of everything that makes our hobby and profession special. Covering more than a million square feet of floor space, the SEMA Show is not only the largest event of its kind but also among the largest conventions in the world. While the SEMA Show still isn’t open to the public (although the Ignited after-party is), they do let us media folks in amongst the exhibitors and buyers in hopes that we’ll tell you all about it. While technically not a car show, the display vehicles are what draw the attention of fans around the globe. Each year, companies attempt to outdo each other by building bigger, better, faster, louder, and more expensive vehicles. It’s simple, really: Create something people want to see, and the buyers will flock to your booth. At least, that’s how it works in theory.
Compact Off-Road Crossover Takes Aim at Jeep Compass and Renegade TrailhawkKeen-eyed reporters at Off-Road.com have captured images of what they think is the 2020 Ford Bronco, found at a “publicly accessible part of a Ford website.” We haven’t seen these pictures before, but they do indeed appear to reveal a member of Ford’s upcoming off-road SUV lineup. However, we think there’s a chance these are actually photos of the “baby Bronco” that which will be based on the same architecture as the Focus and Escape. While the big Bronco will likely get Ford Ranger bones to make it a dedicated Jeep Wrangler rival, the smaller Bronc will be aimed primarily at Trailhawk versions of the Jeep Compass and Renegade.
Year/Make/Model: ’92 Ford F-350
Owner: Phil Mcmurchy
Hometown: Selkirk, Manitoba, Canada
Engine: 5.9L Cummins I-6
Transmission: Getrag five-speed manual
Odometer: 392,000 kilometers (244,000 miles)
Fuel Economy: 15 to 18 mpg
Modifications: Cummins engine swap, converted from automatic to manual transmission, LED headlight bulbs, all interior and exterior lights converted to LED, killer dowel pin delete, brakes converted to hydro boost
Owner says: “This has always been a great truck for me, but the old 7.3L IDI and automatic transmission were a bit underpowered for my liking, so they were removed and replaced with a 5.9L Cummins engine and five-speed manual transmission. I’d like to give a very special thanks to John Y for performing the Cummins swap, painting the cab, and helping with the rest of the truck. This truck wouldn’t be as good as it is without him.”
AMP’d Up!It doesn’t matter whether it’s in the deep chill of winter or the heat of summer, on a work truck, emergency vehicle, or personal rig—the last thing a driver wants to see or hear are dim headlights and the clickity-clickity-click sound of a dead battery. All too often that’s the case when diesel-pickup owners run the heat or air-conditioning at full blast, with a raft of auxiliary lights shining brightly…while doing things like slowly plowing deep snow through the night. Depleting a battery’s charge due to a stock alternator’s inability to support the demand for power isn’t of much concern for most diesel owners, because the unit generally provides enough amps to handle normal demands. “What many truck owners forget about alternators is their purpose is to support a fully charged battery or batteries under increased electrical loads—not to charge up completely dead or dying batteries,” says Matthew Logan of Mechman Alternators.
Electrical accessories such as power inverters, winches, business radios, snowplows, emergency lights, onboard air compressors, trailer battery chargers, and similar auxiliary components place a big electrical load on the charging system.
Cummins Fans Take R2.8-Swapped Rigs on an Epic Cruise Across the Pacific Northwest“I installed the Cummins 2.8L turbodiesel engine and headed across the country for a testdrive.” Climbing into his Land Rover Defender 110, Ron Thomas pontificated the virtues of the latest modification to his olive-drab utility rig. We were somewhere between Bozeman, Montana, and the Pacific Ocean, mid-span on Cummins Repower Cruise 2018—and nearly 2,000 miles from Ron’s home near Detroit. Not a bad testdrive! In the parking lot were Jeep Wranglers and Grand Cherokees, corn-binders and Dodge Ram Power Wagons, a few Land Rover Discoverys, and the odd man out: a pancake-flat Vixen motorhome. The Cruise wasn’t an organized pay-to-play event, but an ambulatory gathering of staunch Cummins aficionados, most of whom were using the company’s drop-in–ready R2.8 I-4. I joined the convoy in Idaho Falls, Idaho, for an evening barbecue at Legacy Classic Trucks, purveyors of exquisite vintage truck restorations. The next morning, I slipped into one of the Discos with Stephen Sanders, Repower program manager. As we made our way north toward Montana, he shared details of the 2.8L’s pedigree and the early workings of the company. With Cummins’ 100th anniversary on the horizon, the following hours were an edification into America’s diesel days of lore (stay tuned to Diesel Power for more on this).
You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers
Oil Change Intervals
QUESTION: I just picked up a ’17 Ram 3500 with the 6.7L Cummins engine. What’s your recommendation on oil change intervals? It’ll be used mostly for towing landscaping equipment or a live-in horse trailer. I used to change the oil every 3,000 miles in my old 5.9L ’01 Ram 3500.
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Faster Than the Speed of NightWhat happens when your father, uncle, and brother work on semitrucks? For Harley Dampier, the answer is: work on semis! Growing up alongside his father as he built custom semi-tractor trailers, a young Harley saw custom building as second nature. Aside from commercial rigs, Harley’s father, Brad, also had a collection of classic Chevy C10s at the house. When Harley turned 14, his father handed over the title to a ’71 C10. By the time he turned 15, Harley had a new drivetrain in and was driving the classic. By 16, the truck was painted and lowered, starting Harley’s passion for customizing trucks. Although his name would suggest he works on motorcycles, trucks ran through Harley’s blood. When the C10 was on its last leg, he purchased a ’00 Silverado and began customizing the newer model. He and his brother David were both cruising with custom Chevy trucks when his brother decided to get out of the scene to start a new family. At that time, Harley thought maybe he should just concentrate on his work instead of trucks, so he sold the Chevy. That proved to be a mistake, as he yearned for another one shortly after.
Pure as the Driven SnowWe have all spent countless hours in the garage or driveway assembling parts and building custom vehicles—and Jose Coria Jr. is no different. Growing up in Humble, Texas, he assisted his father as he ran power tools all through the night, utilizing his skillset to modify his collection of custom trucks. Jose and his pops constantly had to answer to the police, because the neighbors called to complain about the noise. After each incident, the father and son team insisted they would “keep it down.” What started as just a hobby turned into something much more when Jose built a 6,000-square-foot shop called Finesse Concepts.
Smog-Legal ’16 Ram 2500 Is a “Big Gun” That Packs a Wallop On- and Off-PavementHowitzers are very effective weapons in modern warfare and have been for many years. These short-barrel cannons shoot ammunition over high trajectories with a steep angle of descent, requiring relatively small charges to fire. During the Vietnam War, Cooper Rasmussen’s dad was a navigator in a U.S. Air Force AC-130E Pave Aegis—a gunship that sported a pair of 105mm Howitzers—which is how Cooper’s ’16 Ram 2500 got its unique moniker. Cooper is the general manager at Diesel Power Products and a key player in Howitzer’s build. When Cooper and others at DPP head out to explore the backcountry’s most difficult trails, Howitzer’s power and capabilities point to competition rock buggies rather than the emissions-compliant expedition rig that it is. Think of Howitzer as a hybrid of a rugged, powerful Ram 2500 Heavy Duty and a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon on 40-inch tires. It has the agility of such a Jeep’s supple, long-travel linked coil suspension matched to the stout underpinnings and drivetrain of the Cummins-powered Ram.
Midsize Pickup to Boast Segment Exclusives, “Jeep Off-Road Capability”The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL improves in many ways upon its successor, but the question that has truck and off-road enthusiasts buzzing is what its rumored pickup variant will be called and what it will offer. Well, we’re getting closer to answering those questions, as the good folks at the Jeep Scrambler Forum have unearthed one significant detail: The 2020 pickup, initially thought to be a 2019 model, will be called Gladiator. The name comes courtesy of an accidental leak on Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ media site, which published an empty page featuring the truck’s name and model year.
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Chevrolet offers fix for airbags that deployed while off-roadingYou may have seen reports online and in the news about the roof-mounted side airbags deploying on the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2. Pictures were posted through social media of the airbags deploying while driving off-road. Owners claimed they were using the truck as it was intended on mild off-road trails. Chevrolet has now announced an easy solution to the airbag issue. According to a statement released by Chevrolet, they found 11 official reports of the roof-mounted side airbags deploying. Chevrolet took immediate action to understand the root cause and create a solution. Their team took the real-world data from those airbag deployments to help fix the problem. The statement says those ZR2 owners will be reimbursed for repair costs. The fix is simple and includes a software flash into the computer of the ZR2. Chevrolet just needs to change the calibration threshold for the deployment of the airbags. The updated calibration is available immediately and will be installed free of charge. Chevrolet ZR2 owners should contact their local dealer or Chevrolet Customer Assistance at 1-800-833-2438. The statement goes on to say, “We are incredibly proud of the ZR2 and the off-road capability it offers, and are encouraged to see customers are using the truck as intended.”
Marginal Headlight Scores Preclude a Top Safety Pick AwardThe 2019 Ram 1500 has been crashed, bashed, and smashed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and the dummies inside came through relatively unscathed. According to the agency, the all-new pickup aced every crashworthiness metric with a good rating, including the challenging passenger- and driver-side small overlap tests, the common moderate overlap test, and the side impact test. The 2019 1500’s performance on the driver-side small overlap test improves over its predecessor, which only achieved a second-worst marginal rating—the outgoing 1500 wasn’t evaluated for passenger-side small overlap, and it achieved a good rating on moderate overlap and side impact.
Small Truck Destined for Production in Brazilian MarketVolkswagen introduced its newest pickup concept, the compact Tarok, at the 2018 Sao Paolo International Motor Show. VW promises that a production version of the Tarok will soon arrive on the Brazilian scene with barely any changes from the concept.
Let the Grand Finale BeginThe SEMA Show shuts down promptly each year on Friday at 4 p.m., which means one thing—everything that came in must go out. The tightly knit logistical masterpiece quickly unravels as people flood to the monorail, line up to pick up their new products, or report to their vehicles. It’s an exciting but bittersweet time, marked by hangovers, fatigue, relief, and anticipation to come back bigger and stronger the next year. Within the week, many will come down with the dreaded SEMA Death Cold.
Hydrogen Fuel Cell Powered truck could be coming to the battlefieldRecently formed GM Defense, a division of General Motors, is working on a concept military vehicle built around the Chevrolet Silverado platform. According to a video GM Defense posted on its website, the truck features a Hydrotec hydrogen fuel cell. The technology was developed for General Motors as an affordable fuel cell power solution for land, air, and sea applications.
The Jeep Wrangler JL and the Mercedes-Benz G-Class are two sides of the same coin. Both are rugged off-roaders with old-school styling and proven technology, but one’s just a lot fancier (and more expensive) than the other. Well, Venomrex is about to bring the two a bit closer together, thanks to the company’s new carbon-fiber exterior accessories for the JL Wrangler. Now available are a set of hood vents, fenders, and bumper moldings, crafted from exposed carbon fiber, giving the Wrangler an aggressive and high-end appearance that apes the G 550 4×42. Venomrex also claims they improve performance by reducing weight on the corners—without sacrificing durability—but we must admit, these products are probably designed more for show than go. Still, not a bad way to give your brand-new Jeep some premium flair.
Live From the 2018 SEMA Show in Las Vegas
A First-Time Show with SuccessWhen Sean Randall and his partners decided to put on a custom truck show on the Bayou, he knew that the location had to be Laketown Park in Kenner, Louisiana. Just minutes from New Orleans, the location proved to be prime real estate for the first-time show. 337 entries showed strong on the debut event throughout the spacious showgrounds just walking distance from the casino.
Switching Brands Leads to a 610hp Do-It-All GMC Sierra 2500HDBrody Olson is quick to remember his first diesel pickup: an ’02 Ford F-250 with the vaunted 7.3L Power Stroke V-8 engine. He was sucked into the diesel hobby through that rig, and he hopped it up with a programmer, cold-air intake, exhaust, and gauges. With those basic modifications, the Ford was quick—but it left Brody wanting more. “I started adding it up, and building a 7.3L to make more than 500 hp was going to be a pretty expensive proposition,” he says. “It was a great truck, but there were more sensible options out there for the power I wanted.” In a bold move, Brody switched brand allegiance, moving to an ’06 GMC Sierra 2500 HD powered by the legendary 6.6L Duramax engine. “I knew Duramax-powered trucks could get close to 500 hp with just a tune and a lift pump, so for me it was a no-brainer,” Brody adds. After buying the truck, he did just that. Then he began tinkering with ECM tuning through EFILive.
Light Duty Heats UpChange comes to the front of the light-duty pickup game for 2019, as not one, but two trucks are shaking up the segment long defined by Ram and recently entered by Nissan. Both Ford and Chevrolet are offering turbodiesel six-cylinder versions of their popular light-duty rigs. If you’re looking for a truck or van, you’ve got options that cover all the bases between efficiency and big-power capability. With the number of freshly redesigned and improved models on the market today and several on the way to dealer lots, 2019 is the right year to look for a new diesel-powered ride. We’ve detailed changes and additions of new content for carryover models and given you the rundown on several all-new models. Go out and get behind the wheel of one, as the new crop of diesel trucks and vans is better experienced than read about. If you’re wondering where the Ram ProMaster is, you can stop here: for 2019 there is no diesel engine offered. Whether that’s a permanent change remains to be seen. F-150For the first time ever, Ford is offering its F-150 with a diesel engine. The newest Power Stroke is a 3.0L V-6 that puts out 250 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque, and with a 10-speed automatic transmission, it’s also capable of nailing 22 city and 30 highway mpg in two-wheel-drive form. The range is good enough to beat the 3.0L EcoDiesel Ram 4×2, and the F-150 is a match for the 2.8L Duramax-driven Chevrolet Colorado. With a maximum towing capacity of 11,400 pounds, the F-150 out-tugs both trucks as well. Just like that, the light-duty fullsize-truck segment got competitive.
Particulate MattersI must confess I’m a little late getting this column written, and my “Uptight KJ” alter ego is uncomfortable as all get out. While Particulate Matters is typically composed near the beginning of Diesel Power’s monthly production cycle, it’s now the end of the period and I’m finally putting fingers to keyboard to share my thoughts with you all. The tardiness, while frustrating, is a bit of a good thing in this instance. Our team just knocked out another great year of wall-to-wall SEMA Show coverage (check out our content by using hashtag #MTSEMA18), and I’m pretty stoked about all the information we gathered and the photography captured during our week in Las Vegas. Images…photos…and the .JPG, .BMP, and .PNG files most of us endearingly call “pics” highlight my comments this month. As print- and web-content creators, taking photos—“shooting pics”—is a big piece of our work puzzle, and sometimes, photography is more important than the words. A confession: Despite all of this, taking photos and “getting the shot” is one aspect of my job I’ve never really been enamored with. Don’t get me wrong. Of course it’s something I do, and as these things go (not in a conceited way), I think I’m a fairly good photojournalist, having captured images that helped tell awesome stories, as well as graced covers (the most coveted photo position of any publication, for subject and photographer) of Diesel Power and other magazines over my 14 years in this business.
| Words can’t describe the elation, excitement, and apprehension that hit me all at once when I received this 2018 NHRA media credential confirmation. After many years of photographing drag racing, my shot at the big time arrived, with the opportunity to shoot at the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Championship Drag Racing Series’ Auto Club NHRA Nationals (World Finals) at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California. Me and the heavy artillery are ready!
Live From the 2018 SEMA Show in Las Vegas
Go Big or Go…Bigger?
Live From the 2018 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, NV
Jeep Trots Out its Road Trip Wagoneer, Ram Brings Two Custom 1500 PickupsThe aftermarket got sent a massive shockwave from Mopar at the 2018 SEMA Show thanks to the release of the Hellephant, but the accessories company didn’t leave Ram and Jeep out to dry just because the restomod 1968 Dodge Charger was getting some of the attention. Instead, Mopar brought out two different takes on the all-new 2019 Ram 1500: one intended for the street and the other destined for the sand. We’ve already discussed them, but they’re still a sight to behold in person. The company also brought out several Jeep concepts seen previously at the Easter Jeep Safari, allowing us to lust after the wonderfully restored 1965 Wagoneer Road Trip once again.
2019 Mopar Ram 1500 “Low Down”
The “Low Down” is instantly identifiable as something special thanks to its unique color scheme—a Gloss Black upper body, Billet Silver bodysides, and Brass Monkey accents adding pops of color throughout. But its most significant adjustment comes via a concept 2-inch lowering kit that hunkers the truck down over its 22-inch accessory wheels. A hard tonneau cover and massive exhaust tips add a bit more street cred, although we wish Mopar had chosen sleeker fender flares. The exposed bolts on these don’t match the streamlined appearance of the rest of the truck.
A Vintage K10, Electric Race Van, and Several Silverado 1500sChevrolet doubled down on the all-new 2019 Silverado 1500 at this year’s SEMA Show, offering plenty of accessorized goodness for the fullsize truck. But that wasn’t the only interesting thing happening at the Bow Tie stand at SEMA 2018, as the company also trotted out one very nicely restored ’78 K10 Silverado, an all-electric Bolt race support vehicle, and a few Colorado pickups.
1978 Chevrolet K10 Silverado
Lovely though this square-body K10 Silverado is, sitting proudly in red and black, it was actually built to showcase the Chevrolet Performance line of crate engines. Sitting under the crisp hood of the truck is an L96 6.0L V-8, similar to the LS-based engines found in the Silverado HD. This fuel-injected application makes 360 hp and 390 lb-ft, more than even the mighty 454ci engine this vehicle was available with when it was new. The K10 received a frame-off restoration at GM’s Milford Proving Ground to prepare it for its modern, sophisticated powertrain.
Dozens of Trucks and SUVs, Including One Wacky EcoSportFord previewed its 2018 SEMA Show offerings last week, and we finally got a chance to get up close and personal with them. Predictably, there was a huge smattering of F-Series trucks—SEMA members chose the pickup line as its Truck of the Year for how much investment it garners in the aftermarket. But there was also a large showing from the 2019 Ranger contingent, and Ford brought several SUVs and crossovers to SEMA as well. Covering Ford’s entire show stand could take days, so here are a few of our favorites from the 2018 SEMA Show.
2019 Ford Ranger Base Camp by Ford Performance
The Ford Ranger Base Camp has it all, with a robust stance delivered via a Fox 3-inch leveling kit and tires with a 32.6-inch outer diameter. There’s also a SkyRise rooftop tent and plenty of onboard storage, thanks to a Yakima roof rack, roof baskets, and plenty of customizable rack mounts and cleats. The black and silver color scheme with red accents is suitably badass, as well.
We Finally Find the Rangers!The thing to know about the SEMA Show is that it’s enormous. The sheer volume of people, vehicles, and square feet of exhibit space is impossible to comprehend if you’ve never attended. This makes it very easy to miss not only vehicles, but also entire sections of the show. It takes the entire week and a detailed plan to catch everything. On today’s visit to the Las Vegas Convention Center we rounded up 26 more customized 2019 pickups by visiting some of the OEM manufacturer booths and unearthing a few that we’ve missed earlier in the week. Incase it wasn’t clear before we’re only hunting for 2019s. The show is chock full of 2018 model trucks, and there’s plenty of SUVs as well. So spare us the flaming pitchforks if we didn’t include your favorite feature vehicle or brand, as they likely weren’t 2019 models. Back out front we stumbled on a 2019 Ram 1500 laying frame, a lowered Silverado, and a lifted pair of both. In their Central Hall booth Chevrolet brought out five 2019 Silverados that were customized with parts from the Chevrolet Performance catalog, which includes items such as an intake, exhaust, brakes, lift, steps, wheels, and more. Also in Chevy’s booth was a 2019 Colorado ZR2 sporting the full compliment of Chevrolet Performance accessories available for it. Toyota brought two customized 2019 Tundras, one of which is powered by hydrogen and cooks pizzas. Honda cut the skin off of a Ridgeline to build its open-air concept vehicle. Goofy as it may be we’d totally rock it. As usual Ford went all out with a booth packed full of amazing vehicles. While many were 2018 model year we did find a trio of 2019 Super Dutys; one built as a work truck, one dropped on the ground, and the other just returned from an epic wilderness adventure. A single 2019 F-150 was found in the mix, rocking a Hot Wheels paint job and epic desert-inspired long-travel suspension. The real star of the show, however, was Ranger. Returning for 2019 after a nearly decade long hiatus, Ford commissioned seven custom Rangers to display in its booth; six from different aftermarket partners and one built by Ford itself. While we’re sure there are more trucks hiding in nooks waiting to be found, that wraps ups this year’s hunt. We can’t wait for SEMA 2019 and the inundation of new HD pickups that will undoubtedly happen.
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40 Shades of Gray Takes Toyo Top HonorsThe winners of the Toyo Tires SEMA Top Build Awards for the 2018 SEMA show have been announced. The winner of the Best Toyo Tires SEMA Truck/SUV Build, who received a check for $5,000 and a Toyo Tires trophy, was Chris Church of Church Built Customs out of Portland, Oregon, and his pristine 1940 Ford pickup that rides on 19- and 20-inch Toyo Proxes R888R tires. Sorry lifted truck contenders, this was going to be a hard one to beat. According to the Instagram page for “40 Shades of Gray,” as the truck is known by, the truck came from a swapmeet in 2016 and is described as a “European inspired, huge horsepower, detailed show truck.”
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A new suit, same ol’ bow tieEarlier this year, the bow tie brand released its newest look for the Silverado Full-size Pickup. Automotive aftermarket manufacturers wasted no time adapting their products or creating new ones for the Chevrolet mainstay. As the 2018 SEMA Show approached, those manufacturers got their parts out to the right builders to make sure their newest offerings were displayed at this year’s event. Whether lifted or lowered, performance driven or utility workhorse, there’s a version of the 2019 Chevy Silverado for every type of truck enthusiast. At the Chevrolet booth in the Central Hall, there were several styles to choose from in various factory upgrade forms but the real attention grabber was an RST Street Concept with standard turbocharged engine, silver metallic paint, blacked-out emblems, carbon fiber accents and many other options available from Chevrolet Performance. McGaughy’s Suspension had one in their booth with their new 4/6” drop kit as well as another truck outside with their 7.5-10” adjustable lift kit. Outside the South Hall, the Truks N’ Stuff built version is the first with a straight axle swap to go along with an absolutely massive lift. In the laid-on-the-ground department, Phat Phabz brought out two trucks with big wheels tucked under the big body-dropped new style pickup. Check out a few more from the 2018 SEMA Show and figure out which style 2019 Silverado fits your preference.
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The popularity of the Chevrolet C10 along with all of its variants, continues to rise and the SEMA Show 2018 is unquestionable proof. See them all here!The popularity of the Chevrolet C10 along with all of its variants, continues to rise and the SEMA Show 2018 is unquestionable proof. In past years, we have seen many different iterations and styles but new ideas keep coming to fruition. Many manufacturers had new products on display and integrated into feature vehicles at the show. There were a couple of slammed K5 Blazers right outside the convention center to garner immediate attention upon arriving as well as an incredible red 67-72 built by Vision Rods and Customs. Inside the Central Hall, the focus seemed to sway toward squarebody and ‘60-‘66 body style C10s. The 1976 Syndicate Series squarebody with a Roadster Shop Chassis, LS3 under the hood and distinct paint scheme in the Royal Purple booth had a massive crowd studying every detail on it. In the K&N booth, a 1969 Suburban sat in well-aged form next to a small tablet with Renderings flashing on the screen. Devious Customs will be building one of those concepts based on fan votes and will be right back in the same spot next year in its completed form. The 1963 beauty sitting outside the North Hall belonging to Candice Wheeler was worth at least a few minutes of studying. At the end of the day, manufacturers are going to keep cranking out new products for the 3 generations of C10 trucks, builders will continue to find new ways to modify them and photographers will inevitably capture the final product for publication here in Truckin Magazine.
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Grand Exhibitions Of The South HallA question we get asked every year is which vehicle is our favorite of the show. Honestly, it’s too hard to choose just one. Companies are constantly raising the bar and trying to outdo each other in an attempt to bring bodies into their booth—after all, the SEMA Show is a trade show first and foremost, so getting people to stop and talk is mission one. While wandering the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, we picked out seven displays that caught our eye and made us stop. Pitbull Tires had on display an amazing monstrosity built by Hauk Designs. This 6×6 Dodge Power Wagon sports a turbodiesel engine and more feet of gorgeous TIG welding than should be legal. We hesitate to even lump it into the same class as a typical rat rod, because this thing is an amazing work of mechanical art. We are in love. We can’t pass the Fab Fours booth without stopping these days, either. This year the crew brought out the newest version of their Grumper, an all-inclusive grille and bumper system, for what we have to believe is a Jeep Wrangler. Seriously, it’s getting hard to tell. They also had a Ram HD with no lift and 40-inch tires, with a buggy stacked on top. The pair is definitely an eye-catching setup. Mickey Thompson had a gigantic Ford Super Duty wearing Fab Fours accessories in its booth, which was showing off the company’s latest off-road tires. American Truxx brought a wicked cool old-body-style Chevy pickup, complete with a swapped-in Cummins diesel engine. We took a few minutes to soak this one in, as the body was so straight it seemed fake. We’ve been surprised by the lack of ’19 Ford Rangers found during our travels and were excited to see what we thought to be one from across the floor. Alas, despite what the window says, this truck is not what it seems. While it might look like the Ranger we’ll soon be seeing at dealers, this Wildtrak came to us from a land far away. Please Ford, may we have one someday? Skyjacker had on display a Ford panel truck built by the magicians at Five R Trucks. This beauty had a Cummins diesel engine under the hood and was painted in the legendary engine company’s livery. If we’re caught steeling one truck this show, it’ll likely be this one. If crowd size is any indication, Ranch Hand Bumpers won the show this year. The company displayed a customer’s totaled Chevrolet Silverado 1500. While driving down the highway with cruise control set at 70 mph, the left front tire of Seth Spiker’s truck hit a pothole. As the impact occurred, a ball joint failed sending the suspension and tire flying off the truck, taking the brake line with it. Veering violently to the left, the truck flew off an overpass and into the ground 40 feet below…nose first. Seth walked away from the accident and credited his Ranch Hand bumper for saving his life. Seth was on hand at the show talking to people as they passed through the booth, recounting his harrowing tale and how he still managed to make a flight to Cancun that same day.
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This May Be the Coolest SUVWe caught up with our friend Hank Robinson of Hanro Studios Engraving, the guy who uses Dremel tools to engrave crazy artwork on metal surfaces. You may remember him engraving the F-150 named “Freedom Blues” in the American Force booth two years ago, or his crazy engraved Super Duty “Aluminati” from last year’s SEMA Show, which landed the cover of the January 2018 issue of 8-Lug magazine. His work is simply amazing, and, as I like to say: You had me at Hanro. He’s back at it again (actually, he’s never stopped) for the 2018 SEMA Show, this time engraving the Mrs.’s 2018 Ford Expedition named “Ominous” in the outdoor DUB booth. The leather smock isn’t a Halloween costume, and he’s not a serial killer. He’s spending the week actually engraving the Expedition in front of large crowds along a main thoroughfare to and from the show. Although not the biggest SUV at the show by any means, the Expedition is actually pretty legit for what it is, and it’s definitely the only engraved new SUV we know of. It features custom engraving on the sides, which Hank will flesh out as the week progresses. The rear has a tasty tramp stamp, including an “Ominous” engraved badge, and the 22-inch TIS Forged wheels wrapped in 35-inch Nitto Trail Grapplers are also engraved. Hank is no one-trick pony, as these SEMA builds aren’t the only thing he does all year. Landing a gig engraving for Monster during this past year, he’s been busily working with the energy drink mogul, engraving stuff and drawing crowds at different events across the nation. You better believe we picked up a few cans of Monster at the DUB booth to keep us going strong the rest of the day.
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Even More Lifted and Lowered Rams, Silverados, and Sierras from the 2018 SEMA ShowExploring the outdoor areas of the 2018 Sema Show yielded a bounty of about a half dozen customized 2019 pickups. Knowing the GMs just started arriving at dealer lots in the past couple of months—and the Rams back in May—we were genuinely impressed with both the volume present and the amount of work done. Little did we know that lurking in the upper South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center were 35 more! While we found Rams and Silverados outside, inside brought GMC’s Sierra into the mix as well. We even found a lone ’19 Ranger and ’19 Colorado Bison. We suspect the bulk of the Rangers are residing in the Central Hall, which we’ll explore tomorrow. The most extreme Sierra was built by Full Throttle Suspension and featured the company’s new 10-to-12-inch lift kit. For Silverados, it was a clone of the black LT we found outside built by Phat Phabz; this time it was a red LTZ. No one has gotten overly crazy with a ’19 Ram 1500 yet, and the classiest one at the show has to be the red Sport model built by Addictive Desert Designs. American Expedition Vehicles had a ’19 Chevy Colorado Bison in its booth, naturally. And the only North American 2019 Ranger we have yet to find was outfitted by Yakima. We’re enjoying our time scouring the 2018 SEMA Show for custom 2019 trucks and can’t wait to see what’s still hidden!
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This restored 4×4 sports a 360hp direct-injected V-8Take a production-based engine, offer the consumer all the additional items required to make it run in a non-production chassis-like front accessory drive system and wiring harnesses, stick it in a box, and sell it with a warranty. Do this for every performance engine in your inventory and maybe add a custom-assembled race engine or two here and there with high-quality parts. Make it available at a realistic price to anybody wanting a quality drivetrain that will make great power and not cause headaches. Nobody does that better than Chevrolet Performance. The company literally wrote the catalog on the process, and although other OEs and OE manufacturers have tried to duplicate GM’s success, there is simply no match to Chevrolet Performance in this realm. To drive home the fact that Chevrolet Performance offers a drivetrain repower for anything from full-mambo drag racers to hot rodders to restoration folks, it had on display this super-clean 1978 Silverado stock-spec restoration. Well, almost stock spec. Although the Corporate 10-bolt front and 12-bolt axles, brakes, T-case, interior, and exterior were all pretty legit representations of what would have rolled off an assembly line in 1978, the drivetrain was straight out of the Chevrolet Performance catalog, with a 6.0L L96 direct-injected V-8 sporting 360 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque, a SuperMatic 4L70 overdrive automatic transmission, and all the stuff required to wire and fire it in the non-2018 chassis. That’s right—a vintage 1978 Chevy pickup that time-warped 40 years into the future. What’s not to love?
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Top-10 PartsPickup trucks have become a huge part of the Specialty Equipment Market Association show that takes place annually at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Trucks of every size and configuration are scattered among the hot rods and show cars throughout the Convention Center halls for eye candy and the displaying products. We strolled about the show taking in the sights and tracking down the best truck parts to bring you the Top-10 Parts for Pickups at SEMA.
Phoenix Automotive’s plug-and-play 12.1-inch Audio/Video/Navigation Receiver adds a fully functional Android tablet to the dash of ’14-to-’18 Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras. The new 12.1-inch vertical touch screen retains factory functionality (minus the CD player), while adding Here WeGo Navigation, MirrorLink, Media players, Google Chrome browser, and an ability to have any Android app at the touch of your finger.
The Wild, Weird, Wacky, and Wonderful World of SEMAIn the tradition of the city in which it’s housed, the annual SEMA Show does not disappoint when it comes to nontraditional and even downright bizarre vehicles. Rat rods are clearly still in vogue, as a quick overview of the Las Vegas Convention Center has uncovered nearly a dozen examples, each more outrageous than the last. There are wild smashups of vehicles that never existed, like the Big Bandit, built from five different vehicles, including a ’77 Dodge motorhome, F-5 COE, F-4, F-47, and F100. The Big Bandit was built by The Zombie Shop by the skilled hands of Tyler Turton, Dave Yates, Dwayne Wiltshire, Tony Kratzer, Darren Ralke, and Colin Funk. The build blends nicely and the cowboy motif is perfectly over the top—we’d rock it in a heartbeat. Also found tucked away out front was an amazing Ford F100. Now, we know what you’re thinking: Amazing Ford F100s are nearly a dime a dozen at the SEMA Show. Well, tucked under the hood of this truck was a Ford Performance Aluminator 52X3. In English, that’s a tuned-up crate version of the company’s wicked flat-plane crank 5.2L V-8 found in the Mustang GT350 (though this version has a cross-plan crank, keeping the flat-plane GT350 exclusive). This engine will empty your pocketbook of $16,000, just in case you were getting any ideas. Last—for this installment anyway—is probably the hottest display of the SEMA Show. Well, what used to be the hottest, anyway. Wheel company Forgiato brought out a burned-out Mercedes-Benz and slapped a set of the company’s wheels on it. We still haven’t heard the full story, so if you know it, feel free to send our way!
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When It Comes to Nearly EVERYTHING on Display at SEMA, Diesel Is Responsible for Getting It ThereAs the 2018 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show soldiers on at the Las Vegas Convention Center, we’re going against the grain a bit with this report on our daily findings. Instead of giving you more photos and information about all of the customized diesel trucks on display we turn our focus on one of many unsung heroes that plays a crucial role in the annual confab’s success: The tow vehicle. In most cases, the rigs that transport vehicles, parts, display equipment and almost anything else that’s associated with SEMA (from all over the U.S.), are dirty, bug-splattered, and after being driven great distances, far from being “pretty (in the car-guy sense of the word).” Instead, we view tow rigs as being utilitarian first, and if an owner chooses to spruce up appearance with aftermarket wheels, or artistic graphic/promotional signage, then, so be it. Of course, ECM programming for better fuel economy and basic bolt-on performance upgrades (cold-air intake systems, high-flow exhaust, etc.) typically make up the extent of upgrades that these trucks receive, so it’s very clear that they’re separated from the show pieces they transport by veritable light years. But, looking at this from the real-world perspective, a majority of the Dodge, Ford, Chevrolet/GMC, Peterbilt, Freightliner and other tow and support rigs that are parked throughout the convention center’s surrounding area, are all powered by diesel engines (yes, even the Volkswagen). Diesel gets it done, and we feel that these trucks also deserve a moment in the spotlight. On Wednesday, Diesel Power Editor KJ Jones detoured away from the bustle of SEMA 2018 and spent an hour roaming North Parking Lot at the Westgate Hotel, to check out and collect photos of the rigs that really do the heavy lifting for builders and companies displaying at show. Not much shine here, but the rigs featured in the gallery are as real-deal as they come. Enjoy our look at just a small sample of the tow rigs of SEMA (there are hundreds—or more of them here), and be sure to follow Truck Trend Network and all of the Motor Trend Group’s coverage of the 2018 SEMA Show by using the hashtag #MTSEMA18.
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Fresh Off the Race Course and On Display at the SEMA Show!We love race trucks, like, really love race trucks. And the Trophy Truck, the vehicle that runs in Score International’s top-tier Unlimited Class, is the alpha of the species. For the past several years, the race organization has had a presence at the SEMA Show, residing in the lot in front of the South Hall. Adding to the fun, qualifying for the organizations pinnacle race, the Baja 1000, is held on a custom-built course at the Las Vegas Speedway, about 30 minutes north of the convention center. In the past, there have been more trucks on display, but we’ll take whatever we can get. Getting up close and personal with nearly a dozen of these amazing 800hp, 5,000-pound machines is always a treat. With nearly 3 feet of suspension travel, Trophy Trucks are able to glide across the roughest desert terrain at speeds approaching 130 mph. If you’ve never had the chance to see them in person, you are missing out. Qualifying saw 29 out of this year’s 37 entries in the class compete for starting position (those electing not to qualify will receive a position in a random drawing). Veteran racer Ricky Johnson took the top spot, completing the 1.2-mile course in just 1 minute, 51.92 seconds. Following in Second was Luke McMillin, with Robby Gordon rounding out the top three. 1 – 6 Ricky Johnson, 1:51.922 – 83 Luke McMillin, 1:53.053 – 77 Robby Gordon, 1:53.524 – 60 Cole Potts, 1:53.845 – 7 Bryce Menzies, 1:53.976 – 33 Dale Dondel, 1:54.127 – 11 Rob MacCachren, 1:56.738 – 32 Ryan Arciero, 1:57.999 – 19 Ryan Millen, 1:58.1810 – 97 B.J. Baldwin, 1:58.4311 – 23 Dan McMillin, 1:58.7312 – 16 Cameron Steele, 1:58.9513 – 1 Carlos ‘Apdaly’ Lopez, 1:59.1714 – 85 Mike Lawrence, 301:59.3015 – 31 Andy McMillin, 2:00.4016 – 70 Kevin Thompson, 2:00.5417 – 15 Billy Wilson, 2:00.7918 – 50 Zak Langley, 2:01.4119 – 5L Armin Schwarz, 2:01.5020 – 88 Mike Walser, 2:01.5721 – 4 Justin Matney, 2:01.6522 – 57 Mike Palmer, 2:02.8823 – 20 Robbie Pierce, 2:03.3124 – 54 Christian Souapas, 2:03.8925 – 62 Mike Cook, 2:04.6826 – 86 Joe Bacal, 2:06.7527 – 12L Gustavo Vildosola, 2:08.2128 – 61 Richard Armstrong, 2:11.1229 – 81L John Swift, 2:11.4730 – 10 Alan Ampudia,13:28.28
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Can’t Get Enough of a Good ThingIt’s crazy. It’s overwhelming. It’s SEMA time. It doesn’t take long to feel overpowered by the magnitude of the SEMA Show, and 2018 is no exception. The quantity and quality of trucks are nothing short of impressive, creating a type of SEMA brain fog that makes it hard to even summarize what you saw that day. After a day of journeying the outdoor area, it became evident that “ReRun” needed highlighting for three reasons. First, like many custom vehicles at SEMA, it was tucked in a corner—literally a corner along the south wall of the South Hall. There was nothing behind it and nothing beside it, on a path that led to nowhere. Unless you deliberately sought it out, you’d miss it. Second, with a dose of nostalgia, a pinch of resto, and a heap of personalization, customized campers are just awesome. Sure, this has been done before, but due to the nature of such builds, no camper is built the same. There is so much room for individualization that no two have the same body or shell craftsmanship, driver’s compartment, or engine setup. There’s a lot of work to be done and a lot of skill needed to handle all the aspects of such builds. I could have spent hours investigating all the intricacies of the interior. I tried not to touch, but I can report that the leather was so, so soft. Third, I happened to hear its 402 big-block fire up. It sounded like a hot rod.
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Lifted and Lowered Rams and Silverados From the 2018 SEMA ShowIt feels like just yesterday we were getting our first glimpse of the all-new and completely redesigned pickups Ram, Ford, and General Motors were bringing to market for the 2019 model year. And our first drive stories are just now hitting the press as vehicles slowly make their way to dealer lots. What makes the SEMA Show special is the fact that no matter how new or hard to find a truck is, you can count on there being at least a couple fully customized. This year’s show has not disappointed. In just the outside lots, we found two very lifted Rams (a Laramie and a Rebel), a solid-axle-swapped Silverado, and a Trail Boss with 3-inch King racing shocks. Also outside were a Silverado LT and Ram Laramie slammed and laying frame on the ground. All except the Trail Boss were rocking 26-inch wheels, including the two lowered trucks, and the largest tire measured 42 inches tall. American Force wheels and Fury tires are standard issue around SEMA this year, or so it seams, so it’s no surprise these trucks are sporting them. TIS Forged, KMC, and US Mag also make an appearance. Tomorrow, we’ll head inside the halls where we hear there is an equally impressive collection of custom 2019s, including a bunch of new Ford Rangers.
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Calling All Titans a Major Theme at Nissan BoothThe 2018 SEMA Show is a sprawling mass of people, cars, and culture, with neat treats all over the property. Nissan’s booth was a bit smaller this year than at shows past, but the company nonetheless brought its A-game with two of its largest vehicles ever built (as well as the luscious
Nissan Clubsport concept