Truck of the Year – Mike Hill – 1991 Ford Explorer 

Thanks to your votes online at, we have a winner for 2022 Truck of The Year! 

Standing out in a sea of modified vehicles takes something special—and that’s what Michael Hill from Edgewater, Florida, did with his 1991 Ford Explorer you see here. In 1998, Michael bought this truck when he was in school as something to get him around town. The Explorer had 33-inch tires, and Michael was known to bury it in mud on a regular basis. 

The truck managed to go through several changes over the 24 years he has owned it to suit his needs and likes of the time. But none of them can be compared to the caliber it is today.

“Special thanks to James Graham and Tim Haywood at Jimmy’s Rod N Customs for all the metal work, Daniel Smith at Smithworkx for painting the graphics, Shane Shewfelt and Victor Salas for doing the bodywork and paint, Brian Prather for painting the drivetrain and exhaust, Alvin Lawrence at Auto-Fanatik for completing the interior, and, of course, my beautiful wife, Michelle Hill, for always supporting my decisions and helping push me to complete this build. Built in memory of my mom and dad.”

For the Full Story, Click Here!

Lifted Truck of the Year – James Stewart – 1974 Chevy K5 Blazer

“After all that loss, I needed something to distract me,” James says. “I wanted something that I could focus on to keep my mind clear day or night, and I couldn’t think of a better way to do that than to build my high-school dream truck—an old-school Chevy K5 Blazer.”

Get the full story and complete truck build specs at the link.

Mini-Truck of the Year – Chad Louque – 2003 Toyota Tacoma

Chad Louque of Gonzales, Louisiana, currently walks the fine line that divides his love of classic mini-trucks and the convenience of modern, midsize pickups. For the same amount of money that could’ve bought him a brand new, fully loaded, full-size truck today, Chad felt that money would be better spent to alter his ’03 Toyota Tacoma to meet all of his needs. Hey, the heart wants what it wants, and his was dead set on building his older mini-truck around his growing family. 

“I needed a truck with more room,” Chad says about his dilemma regarding his truck’s simple lack of space. “To take care of that issue, I figured out the perfect way to keep my 20-year-old Toyota truck while still being able to pack up the entire family for a cruise.”

    2003 Toyota Tacoma
    Negative Camber 
  • Engine
    1997 Toyota 2.4L four-banger
    1997 Toyota transmission
    OEM port and polished intake manifold
    LC Engineering 1.75-inch headers
    Magnaflow exhaust and muffler
    Powdercoated pulleys and valve covers
    Smoothed and painted engine bay
    Hose Candy hose wraps throughout
    Volant custom cold air intake
    Custom two-piece driveshaft w/ carrier bearing, Spicer U-joints and custom slip yoke
    Rear differential by Driveline Specialties
    1982 Toyota rearend factory shortened 5 inches 
  • Chassis & Suspension
    1997 Toyota frame modified by Chad Louque and Jeremie LeBlanc
    Mid-section stock floor body-dropped (OEM front clip and rear clip)
    Custom-machined spindle spacers
    Air Lift Dominator 2500 ‘bags and 3H air management system
    Monroe shocks smoothed and painted
    Pete and Jake triangulated rear 4-link
    Four Viair 444 black compressors
    Toyota steering box
    Wheels, Tires & Brakes
    20×8.5 Bonspeed Huntington
    225/30/20 Nitto NT 555 tires
    Little Shop rear disc brake kit w/ e-brake
    LC Engineering cross-drilled and slotted rotors
    Smoothed and painted calipers
    Lokar universal e-brake cables

Manufacturer of the Year – DEI Engineering

Design Engineering Inc. | Heat and Sound Insulation

For 25 years now, Design Engineering, Inc. has been known for producing exceptional quality heat control products primarily sold through the performance distribution system. But there’s another facet of its business that it specializes in: working with other customers to help solve their heat- and sound-control problems. 

The late Dale Markley, a well known and long time performance industry veteran, founded DEI in 1995. Dale and his wife, Nancy, formed the company with a vision of developing dynamic solutions for the racing and performance industry’s ongoing struggle with under-hood, power-robbing heat issues. The business was started in a small space, located in Cleveland, Ohio, behind a convenience store, and within a few years had to double the space. Before Dale’s passing in 2001, he and Nancy worked together and brought DEI and its “Thermal Tuning Products” to a whole new level.

“At Design Engineering Inc., YOU, the customer, are behind every decision. DEI tries to look at every product and service we offer from your perspective. We strive every day to bring you innovative, quality products that exceed your expectations.” 

More on Design Engineering Here! –

Builder of the Year – Fat Fender Garage – Jason Noel

Three years in a row as Builder of the Year, Fat Fender Garage started as a hobby and a dream before it turned into a reality in 2013. The crew feels that becoming good at something requires being consistent at it. FFG specializes in Coyote swaps, full classic, and hot rod restoration builds. Developing brand new custom chassis and custom products bring the Fat Fender Garage experience to your garage at home.

Jason Noel, owner and CEO, started out his working life as a bus boy at a Mexican restaurant in Arizona. He then went on to become an airplane pilot, then a carpenter, then a real estate agent, and then truck builder, which he’s been for the last eight years. Although he’s been a Ford guy all his life, he has a soft spot for all vintage trucks. Jason’s favorite FFG builds are usually the last one built, and his favorite decade of truck seems to change by the week. 

From design to completion, FFG can create the build of your dreams. 

More on Fat Fender Here! –

Club of the Year – Negative Camber 

Negative Camber is one of the oldest clubs around and has repeatedly set its mark in the history books of mini-trucks. Founded sometime around 1992, Courtney Halowell and four close friends from different clubs formed a new group of friends with the same passion for modified trucks. 

“The first five members of NC didn’t believe in the rules of the other clubs at that time,” Courtney says. “It seemed like the rules were set so one guy could act bigger or more important than the next guy. But, to these first five, mini-truckin’ was more than rules. It was about hanging out with your real friends, enjoying a cold brew, all while watching people enjoy your ride. NC has stuck to its same beliefs over the years and lives by them today.”

We have had the honor to feature quite a few trucks from this quality-first community of cruisers. Both the 2023 Truck of The Year and Mini-Truck of the Year are from the Negative Camber family.

NC has a few hundred members all over the U.S. and in a few other countries, such as Australia and Japan. To be considered for this elite group, somebody has to vouch for you and your ride. You really have to put your work in as its more about the people than just the truck.

NC has had shop owners, magazine editors, fabricators, painters, and more become members over the years. These guys seem larger than life at the biggest ruck shows in the country, but we assure you they are humble and willing to chat trucks if you have the time.

Club: Negative Camber
Date Founded: Winter of ’92
Founder: Courtney Halowell