By G.R. Whale
Generally speaking, there are two schools of thought on pickup trucks. One is to leave them completely stock — and by stock I'm referring to electromechanical functions, not wallpaper, pinstripes, window tints and air fresheners. The other is to BOMB, which is short for better off modified baby!
I'm a student of the BOMB school. Most BOMBers are full-time students because they're always learning new ways to screw up a perfectly good pickup. Although specialty rigs such as the Dodge Ram SRT-10, Ford F-150 Raptor and Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 are good attempts at factory-modified trucks, there is always a way to make a pickup better. Improvements can be mild such as changing the lights, adding a cat-back exhaust or using stickier, taller tires., And then there's crazy, which is often on display at the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association Show.
The trick to modifying a pickup the right way is integrating upgrades with the truck. A pickup owner I know thought a train horn was a good addition — until the ignition essentially dropped out whenever the monster air compressor ran. Not the best way to honk and run. Anyone can make a suspension lift or cut a fender to fit bigger tires, but unless you do it correctly — ensuring all associated parts up and down the chain are upgraded too — it won't work out well in the long term.
That's one reason factory parts are more expensive — the manufacturer knows the original truck, knows how to upgrade it and knows how to keep the warranty intact. The manufacturer could even build it all in stock, but the bottom line must be considered since relatively few consumers buy the special editions referenced above.
So if any of you have a completely stock truck, what are you waiting for?
Cars.com photo by Mark Williams; Cars.com graphic by Paul Dolan