A Brief History
While many Tiny Truckers probably grew up in the R/C hobbies that just wasn’t the case for me. I grew up exploring the outdoors. Summers as a child were spent running through the woods, exploring caves, and climbing what seemed at the time to be cliffs and redwoods. We rode bikes and played backyard football, soccer, wiffleball, baseball and everything in between. As childhood gave way to my teenage years we didn’t stray far from the woods. In place of climbing trees we now mountain biked miles and miles every day, rappelled and camped, fished and hunted.
R/C for me wasn’t even a twinkle in my eye. In truth none of my friends participated in it either, I’d never really even heard of it except for cheap toys that broke and were viewed as a waste of time.
Life as Young Adult
By the time I graduated high school not much had changed as far as my interests went. Varsity soccer was now over but the outdoors was far from over. Having a car never meant that I gave up my interest in almost all things outdoors.
I still loved to fish and hunt, camp and hike. My exploration had now branched out to further places, more technical mountain bike riding as I could now get to these locations. And as that exploratory nature began to set in a car just didn’t cut it. Four wheel drive vehicles were now not just an item I lusted over but one I determined was necessary to continue to expand my adventurous horizons. Mountain biking and hiking trails that weren’t accessible in a car were now within reach. And then the brakes were slammed on….. A budding career all but stopped this exploratory nature of mine. Except…. Now I had an even stronger interest in four wheel drive trucks. Lift kits, off road tires, winches, and lockers front and rear. These were now needed once the offroad bug infected me. That same career that got in the way of my adventures now allowed me to have the means to purchase the items that meant I could push my truck further and further. Eventually swapping the factory suspension in a 1995 Ford Ranger for a full width Dana 44 front axle from a 76 F-150 and a full width 8.8inch rear axle from a who knows what year Ford truck.
A lunchbox locker in the front and a welded rear….. That truck was damn near a billy goat on the trails. We wheeled on weekends. We broke things on Saturday and fixed them on Sunday. These trucks weren’t bought, at this point they were just built with frankenstein parts that the parts store didn’t understand. And then... that career carried on, it got busier, it interfered more with life, specifically my love of four wheel drives. It didn’t however interfere with the lifelong friendships I had developed during the course of going off road.
The Introduction to Tiny Trucking
One of my closest friends introduced me to Tiny Trucking one day. For the sake of this story we’ll call him Rob. I met him through the internet somewhere around 15 years prior. Isn’t that where you meet all your friends? Well, we met due to Four Wheel drives and off roading. I also met his girlfriend back on that fateful day. For the sake of the story we’ll call her Panda...uhh..Amanda. Rob and Panda have since married, which I still remember as I was in their wedding. Well, one day we had been out fishing (you see how the lifestyle just doesn’t change) and Rob introduced me to an Axial SCX10. I had never heard of such a thing. I was, however, immediately in love with this toy.
The Trials and Tribulations of Tiny Trucks
Upon playing with this newfangled toy I decided I had to have one. Like, now. So Rob introduced me to RCCrawler. He found me a good deal on a used Honcho which had some upgrades and I immediately purchased it. I played with that toy for a time. I changed the body, the motor and esc, learned how to solder and build links, toyed with building rock bouncer chassis’, but something was missing. REALISM! There wasn’t anything remotely realistic about the way those things drove. Everything is a walk in the park with what would amount to a 60+ inch tire. I grew somewhat bored with it. It was too easy. Competitions held no interest to me. They were incredibly unrealistic. No four wheel drive can drive up these “scale” obstacles.
One day Rob called me and was discussing the improvements in things. Initially I wasn’t really listening and then he told me about this smaller manufacturer that was making much more realistic chassis’, realistic looking transmissions and transfer cases. Smaller, realistic sized tires and realistic sized and looking axles were becoming available. Hard bodies were coming around that looked real and just didn’t press out of the way like lexan. Then he told me about this event that catered to vehicles built to look and drive realistically. I was hooked again. I built my first hard body, put the cheapest, smallest tires I could find on it and then, all of a sudden, the hobby was fun again. Obstacles were actually hard, even when they were realistic. I could imagine myself behind the wheel of this Tiny Truck, drive it like I would a real four wheel drive, slow and controlled. No need for massive power, ridiculous wheel speed or enormous tires.
So Why do I Tiny Truck…..
Why? Because it reminded me of the incredible times we had in our lives. The fun, the history we shared, but most importantly the incredible friendship that we have that has lasted through so many changes in all of our lives. It brought me back to the time when we were on trails in North Georgia, Tellico in North Carolina, Royal Blue in Tennessee. Sitting around a campfire, camping by a stream, telling tall tales and more importantly sharing our lives together. Today we Tiny Truck and so much more. Tiny Trucking has so little to do with R/C and so much to with the friends you do it with. At least that’s my story, what’s yours?