I don't get to watch the boob tube that often because, frankly, I'm never home. Usually, by the time I crawl into bed, I can stay awake just long enough to watch 10 minutes worth of whatever happens to be on Comedy Central before falling asleep. Most times, I drift off to the banter of the kids on South Park and never pay much attention to what's forcing my eyelids away from the glow of the television screen.
Last night was different. As my head hit the pillow and I began counting bypass shocks, I heard the undeniable sound of horsepower and dirt roost from the TV. Picking my head up from the pillowcase, I found my eyes transfixed on two different commercials appearing in succession, each one depicting folks having fun off-roading.
The first commercial was for Toyota's new Double Cab Tacoma 4x4. This eye-catching bit of cinematic excellence showed a group of twenty-somethings thrashing a brand-new Taco' in the dirt. Since this was the first commercial to pique my interest last night, I was half-asleep and probably missed the point. What I gathered from the short clip was that new Tacoma is so tough that you can push it off a 40-foot cliff, and it'll survive and drive away intact. Suffice to say, I was less interested in what Toyota's marketing company was trying to say about the Taco's durability and more excited to see trucks playing in the dirt. Who cares that the truck supposedly survived a 40-foot fall from a cliff when more importantly, off-roading is on my TV?
The second commercial went by so fast, it was mostly a blur. I remember seeing a group of sandrails, what looked to be CORR trucks, possibly a couple of Class 7S trucks, and other desert racing machines blasting off jumps in what appeared to be either the Glamis or Pismo Beach sand dunes. I was so excited at the sight of what looked like Rick Huseman's Ranger (don't quote me on this - the commercial was over so fast, I had to remind myself of what I was looking at), I completely missed the point of the commercial or what new truck was being displayed. I'd like to think it was a commercial for Nissan's Titan fullsize pickup, but then why would Rick Huseman's Ford Ranger be shown driving around in a Nissan commercial?
Maybe I overdosed on Captain Crunch before crawling into bed, and the whole thing was a sugar-induced dream. Whatever it was, the fact is that I saw off-road trucks on television and haven't been this excited since seeing my first Mickey Thompson stadium truck race at the Los Angeles Coliseum when I was just knee-high to a nerf bar.
Seeing off-road trucks on television is a good thing. It reaffirms the idea that we're here to stay. This issue is a good example of how fast the off-road industry is growing. We have more new suspension kits than ever, more parts and more companies to serve our needs, and so much new tech that it's impossible to show it all to you.
This month, Off-Road is bringing you a small sample of the latest and greatest lift kits we could fit into the magazine. First off, we have a complete replacement four-link and air-spring suspension for Ford Super Duty trucks from Kelderman, which is completely adjustable from within the cab. We also have photos of Skyjacker's new Z-link coilover conversion for Fords that turns a mediocre-riding workhorse into a pliable, comfortable off-road cruiser. We've also included a 6-inch independent front-suspension lift from CST Performance Suspensions for those of you with a heavy-duty Chevy. Those readers with older trucks shouldn't fret, though, as we're about to roll out several old-school projects. To get you primed and ready for this trip back in time, we have mandatory upgrades for older Ford F-250/350 pickups, which include crossover steering and a shackle-reversal kit from Off Road Unlimited.
Every day, I come into work and find a ton of new press releases for new shocks, new suspension lifts, better axles, bigger tires, or more powerful motors. It's as if the entire automotive industry has accepted that trucks are outselling cars, and the aftermarket is ready and willing to build parts for just about anything with a cargo bed attached to the framerails. It's a great time to be a truck owner and off-roader, so stick with us and we'll show you all the greatest parts for your rig. See you next month!