Still Hammerin’
Rob Fortier Headshot

ere we are, hopefully putting 2020 as far back in the rearview mirror as possible and looking toward a sign of semblance for the coming new year. I won’t use phrases like “new normal” or “great reset,” as I don’t want to use this as a political pulpit—there’s enough of that going on around us. Let’s just say, I hope 2021 is what we all hoped 2020 would be before it turned into the nightmare kickoff to the new decade that it ended up being in so many aspects.

Just the other day, I got to thinking about the various roots of the classic truck hobby—as a whole, and my own personal ones as well. When you step back and take a hard look at what we’ve become versus where it all started, you then start to realize just how diverse we really are.

A little history lesson, if I may. It was back in 1992 that the first magazine dedicated solely to the classic truck market was created—and guess who was responsible for that? Not I, as my career was still a year shy of beginning—it was our very own ITGM Publisher Tim Foss! Along with Steve Stilwell as the main inspirator behind it, Classic Trucks magazine was launched by McMullen Argus and not only began covering the “classic” segment of the truck aftermarket, it, for the most part, began to create a hobby in and of itself. Back in the day, as it were, it was all about the Effies and the fat-fendered Chevys … you wouldn’t find a wheel larger than 16 inches, and even those were mostly the original-equipment steelies on the earlier GMs! Pastel paint and tweed interior was in, billet was just making its way to the mainstream of parts and accessories, and bikini-clad models with teased and highlighted “big” hair were the norm for the cover shots (it was a by-product of Truckin’ magazine, of course!).

By the mid 2000s, following Jim “Riz” Rizzo’s successful reign at the helm, I took over as editor for Classic Trucks thanks to, once again, Mr. Foss. At the time, I was heavily into ’50s-’60s customs (still am, for the most part) and thus was fairly skeptical about my ability to run a “truck” magazine. (Prior to that, I’d spent my years learning the ropes on Street Rodder magazine followed by a number of years running Custom Rodder, which I very much enjoyed—none of which, however, really had anything to do with trucks!) But, as Tim put it, I was a “magazine guy,” and he felt that my not being directly involved in the classic truck hobby (as I was with hot rods and customs) would have positive results on how I ran the magazine content wise … that, or there just wasn’t anyone else available for the job at the time?! Well, as it turned out, lo and behold I was a truck guy, and the following years spent working with the industry as well as the builders and hobbyists ended up being more enjoyable than all the years leading up to that period.

While an opportunity to take over Rod & Custom magazine took me away from working directly in the classic truck market, I was and remained to be an enthusiast. But during that time away the hobby grew exponentially, and not being part of it on a day-to-day basis, I missed so much of that diverse growth. So, when we as a collective (myself, Tim Foss, and my longtime coworking manager, Brian Brennan) put our brains together this past year and decided it was due time to start something fresh and new—especially in lieu of what we’d spent the last quarter-century doing somewhat having come to an end—I couldn’t wait to jump back into the classic truck hobby headfirst … no matter how much water was (or wasn’t) in the pool!

Nearly 28 years into my career/hobby, here I am back at the helm of not only a classic truck magazine but the best classic truck magazine! And as scary as times are these days, I couldn’t be happier or more eager to build another legendary periodical!