By Bryan Martin
Now that I’ve got your attention, ponder this: Is a 300-inch wheelbase truck cooler than a 245-inch one? Is a four-color multi-striped paint job cooler than a basic two-tone? Are jumbo exhaust stacks cooler than stock mufflers with long chrome 5-inch tops? Is a painted slammed low-rider cooler than a high-rolling fully chromed-out rig? Is an old tough looking “Rat Rod” cooler than a stainless trimmed-out, lit-up truck?
Let’s talk about this for a bit. What is the definition of cool, according to the dictionary?
Cool: excellent, very good, fashionable, hip.
So, we don’t want to confuse cool, as defined above, with trendy, impressive to others, or – a project built to gain the praise of those around us.
If it’s you who own it or built it, and you wholeheartedly, genuinely like what you see – if it’s cool to you, then it is undoubtedly “cool.”
Cool is truly in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it? Two drivers may have trucks that are at the opposite ends of the spectrum.
Let’s say Truck A is an all red flat-top, 310-inch wheelbase, painted rear full fenders, 8-inch pipes, a big painted drop visor, huge chrome bumper, no cab lights, virtually no chicken lights, and sitting long and low, clearing the ground by just a few inches.
Truck B is a 270-inch wheelbase, with a stand-up sleeper, polished stainless steel half fenders, shiny bow-tie sun visor, 18-inch box end bumper, amber lights under the cab/sleeper and on the front of the air cleaners with 11R24.5 rubber and a ‘bull bar” front grille guards.
Who’s it gonna be? Who is the “Coolest Cat” on the block?
In the case of Truck A and Truck B as described earlier, there is no wrong answer. As long as each truck owner sincerely digs the style and appearance of his truck, then believe me, it is cool. If it trips your trigger and you like a particular style, then go for it. We all got opinions, so you go ahead and do what you like. You hear me?
Accessorizing your truck is like art. Make it your own, have fun, be proud of it, do it up right, go your own direction if you like, and step out there if you feel the need.
But let’s exercise good judgment. OK, boys and girls? For instance, don’t mix styles. We don’t need to see an ultra-low slammed hot rod with an exotic modern paint job and sporting a bunch of vintage-retro accessories or design features. Keep it all complementary; make it tasteful with features that flow together.
If you like the looks of a bow-tie visor, quarter fenders, 13 cab lights, cab and/or sleeper panels with double-bubble lights, a chicken wing on the roof, and a tall set of 6-inch mitered stacks … then, that’s cool.
If you prefer a radical drop visor, low rider full fenders, shaved cab lights, and smooth painted cab and sleeper panels, and 7-inch chrome turn-out stacks that are 13-6 tall … well, then that’s cool.
Personally, I like pretty much all of it. The old retro look of the late ’60s and ’70s, the clean cool look of the modern day bad attitude all-paint-no-chrome semis, or even the European aerodynamic racy look can be a hit if done correctly.
One of the coolest trucks I’ve seen was an aerodynamic FLD120 Freightliner that sat “just right” and had many painted accessories that seemed to just draw your attention to the truck.
Just like fashion as it pertains to clothing, if it was sought after 20 years ago, chances are it will still be a good bet nowadays. What goes around, comes around. Soon, we may all be painting yellow diagonal stripes on our front bumpers, painting our air cleaners to match our truck, putting them smoked bug shields back on the hood, or trading in the leather wheel for a big ol’ 22-inch ivory steering wheel!
Regardless of the make, model or year of your truck, give some thought to what you want the end result to be, plan the makeover over a length of time that fits your budget, and then just pick a starting point. You will be on your way. Each upgrade or modification will add to your cool factor if you stay focused and follow your plan to get to that end result – your vision of a super cool rig.
Go with your gut. Light that bad boy up. Run with a set of 5-inch chrome straight pipes. Get yourself a down-filled vest, a CAT ball cap, a basset hound co-driver, book a load of Coors to deliver on a tight deadline and let’s roll. LL