Not knowing these trucks intimately, I'll have to concoct a way to filter 13 awesome trucks (January had two Rangers on the cover) down to one nomination. It's ultimately all subjective. What makes a truck stand out to me may be an eye-sore to you. What matters to me may not matter to you. This is the beauty of creativity and uniqueness; this is the beauty of custom trucks.
Note that all of these mini trucks made the cover. They all reached the pinnacle achievement in the niche world of custom mini truck building. I can't tell you how often we get emails saying, "Someday my truck's gonna be on the cover." Hey, make it happen! Each guy (gal) whose truck made the cover had that same dream and made it happen. Crazier things have happened - mini trucks were my high school hobby, and now they're my job.
So let's get to it. I've collected my stash of 2012 Mini Truckin' issues. (Aren't you lovin' this new, thicker paper?) First to get "the ax" will be trucks with no engine swaps. Sorry, I just came off a weekend of 800hp race trucks, so I need to see something under the hood. I don't recall off-hand the engine work of all the cover trucks, so I may regret this first criterion! This eliminates 8 trucks:
-Fowler's Ranger (shoot, that's such a beautiful truck!)
-Hughes' Hardbody (love the glass roof!)
-Balusek's Tacoma (so clean!)
-Gilliland's Toyota (simply amazing airbrush detail!)
-Moore's Tacoma (class all the way!)
-Macias' Mitsu (but it's so pleasing on the eyes!)
-Lomas' Dakota (*** that's low!)
-Oliver's Tacoma (amazing body work!)
What next? That actually took out more than I thought it would. We're down to 5 trucks now. Big wheels are a hot item for mini trucks - hello, it's 2012! I roll 15s, but my truck's not on the cover of a international magazine and I'm kind of stuck in 2004. So - I need to make sure my nomination is rollin' on at least dubs (20s). Let's see what that does. This eliminates one truck:
-Cox's Hardbody (dang, this truck is so badass!)
Next, I feel obliged to eliminate any truck that is not bodydropped. However, that got us nowhere. The remaining 4 trucks are all bodydropped.
I think it's time for the blanket criteria to end and my personal thoughts to begin.
I'm surprised by how much Naylor's Blazer is growing on me. It's just a very clean truck and I'd rock it any day. I can see why it got best interior at Showfest, and the engine compartment is impressive. With that being said, there was just something that I couldn't put a finger on, until I ran across this quote from the feature article, "Dustin tells us that he still has more in store for this Blazer." That's it - there is room for (promised) upcoming progress. So sorry! That leaves us with 3 trucks.
...a pair of I-beam Rangers and an S10. First off, Pearson's '94 Ranger is an overall very clean package. The two-tone black and grey, separated by the flames, combined with the bed work looks awesome. The interior has a lot of custom work to it. It's unfortunate that those 20s look small on this truck!
Dennison's '89 Ranger - how do I put it. This truck is so smooth and beautiful that it makes me want to... well, I'm contemplating if that's appropriate to say out loud. Let's just say, I love this truck. This body style Ranger is gorgeous. The Bonspeed Clutch wheels tuck massively, there's a ton of body work, the interior is creative, and the bed is finished and useable. The only thing that overshadowed this truck was his wife's wedding dress.
Finally, Juarez's S10. Cliffnote: this is hands-down 100% my nomination for the 2012 Cover Truck of the Year. It's hard to progress the level of customization in a scene that appears nearly tapped-out, but I think this S10 does just that. Let's review: this was an August 2009 feature and June 2011 Construction Zone feature. My heart's on fire for this truck (sorry - I had to!) I'm not biased towards S10s (even though I have one and this is the only S10 cover of the year.) Okay, so I'm only a little bit biased. But considering that this S10 is about as much S10 as Ken Block's Ford Fiesta is Fiesta, it's pretty easy to defend my claim that the make and model have little to do with it; this S10 hardly resembles the everyday S10. Adorned with body mods galore (look closely!), right-hand drive, cool paint, engine swap, ever-popular Intro Vista II's, and much more, I'm sold on Pure Hatred.