In our continuing coverage of SEMA 2023, the guys wander around the show and catch up with AEV, Brett King from King Shocks, Skyjacker Suspension, RealTruck builder Roy Wallace, Truck Guru Chris Payne, the Flated dudes, Wilwood’s Mike Hammrick, Roadster Shop, and Fiber Forged Composites. The Truck Show Podcast is proudly presented by Nissan, in association with Banks Power and Hellwig Products.



The following transcription of The Truck Show Podcast was generated using a speech recognition software, and will contain errors. Please review the timestamp and listen to the corresponding audio for accuracy. 

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1 (2s):

The Truck Show Podcast. Live from the SEMA Show in Las. Vegas presented by Nissan in association with Banks, Power and Hellwig suspension.

0 (21s):

You. very much.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (22s):

Alright, Holman, we are rolling. We are inside the West Hall.

Sean P. Holman (26s):

We’re standing

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (28s):


Sean P. Holman (29s):

Barely standing. My voice is barely hanging on, so this is gonna be a rough show for me.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (34s):

Okay, so what you guys don’t know is we have rooms opposite each other. And this morning we, we wake up, it’s like eight 30 in the morning, which by the way is the latest. We’ve woken up all week, period. And I text Holman from one room to the other. Of course, I could have knocked on his door and chose not to. I couldn’t hear you. This was through a text. No, I need a few more minutes. So,

Sean P. Holman (53s):

Well, that’s, that’s not actually true. The way it happened is I had my, my third number two of the day and I was delayed, and then I opened the door,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (60s):

Which, which you texted to me by the way. I did with, with that face that’s making that grimace. Yes,

Sean P. Holman (1m 4s):

It is awesome. And then the door opened and you came out and he had all your bags. And I’m like, a and you’re like, oh, that’s not good. I’m like, it was worse last night.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 12s):

Yeah, he had no voice. And we ran into a couple of people on the way here and he goes, hello, I’ll see you later. There was not much So I to you. So I. I’m just saying, ladies and gentlemen, you’re getting the best that Holman has right now.

Sean P. Holman (1m 24s):

This is all I, this is all I got. I’m, I’m giving you everything I have to get through the show and lightning’s, like every word matters. So that’s a every

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 32s):

Word does matter.

Sean P. Holman (1m 33s):

That’s our hashtag for the day. Every word matters. Every word matters. And I’m gonna try and get through this. It’s gonna be, it’s gonna be rough, but, but I’m here for you truck Show, Podcast audience. And I’m gonna, I’m gonna do my best.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 45s):

You were smoking cigars and hanging out with Jordan Mauer update.

Sean P. Holman (1m 49s):

I had one cigar.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 51s):

Oh, only one

Sean P. Holman (1m 51s):

Cigar. Cigars not, isn’t what did this, it’s this fricking, I live at the beach and you come to Vegas. My hotel room was So dry that I felt like my arms were peeling off. And I would wake up and my entire mouth had no moisture to it. I literally had to run my shower for an hour just to like steam up the room. Oh really? So. it was survivable. And, and three days of that just wiped me. I’m like, yeah. Oh, I could feel it coming. Do you get

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 17s):

The desert boogers?

Sean P. Holman (2m 19s):

No, that’s dust.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 20s):

Oh, that’s just

Sean P. Holman (2m 20s):

Dust. Yeah. No, that’s not the issue. The issue is I have no moisture. I can’t even make boogers. And so lighting was laughing because I brought with me like a, you know, a pack of Dr. Pepper and had ’em in the fridge. And so today was my last cold one. ’cause This is the last day of SEMA. You’re

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 37s):

The only one by, this is a Pepsi pour here. Pepsi. Pepsi,

Sean P. Holman (2m 40s):

Pepsi. And I knew that Pepsi town. I knew that. And so Pepsi’s everywhere. And there’s, and then you have Cherry Pepsi. You just have crap. Pepsi So I had my ice cold Dr. Pepper. I put it the last one in like a little ice area that was all frozen over inside the fridge. And EGR as part of our deal in their booth, gave me a cozy So I popped that cold, icy cold Dr. Pepper in Nacuzzi. This is why we call it the Elix of the Gods people. Because I am able to function right now, both off caffeine and my throat feels way better. All thanks

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 9s):

To Dr. Pepper. All. Thanks Dr. Pepper and EGR for the czi. Yes. Okay.

Sean P. Holman (3m 13s):

And also thanks to Nissan for putting that Titan right in our path at the parking structure, there’s the universe telling us, don’t forget Nissan.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 21s):

Yeah. So there’s a no parking sign with a Titan parked right in front of it. So apparently if you drive a Titan, you can park wherever you want.

Sean P. Holman (3m 29s):

So that’s another thing we should tell people about. If you’re looking for a truck that not only looks great, is rugged and reliable, but you can park anywhere, then head over to Nissan Can

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 38s):

They do handicap as well?

Sean P. Holman (3m 39s):

I I’m not, I’m not their lawyer. Oh, okay. You consult your own people on that. All, right? All. right. So listen, Nissan makes a great truck. If you’re in the market from one head on down to your local dealer, pick one out. Drive one home today.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 49s):

And there’s some frontiers represented out here as well. Wonderfully moed.

Sean P. Holman (3m 53s):

I’ve got photos for our social. So head over to at truck Show Podcast and you’ll see some of the frontiers we’ve seen this week.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 59s):

And if you’ve upfitted your truck with some larger wheels and tires, you guys need more power. You need all the power you can get. Especially if you’re towing with 30 threes, 30 fives, 30 sevens forties. Go to Banks, find your Ram air intake or your Monster exhaust or your Derringer tuner Econ Mind six Gun tuner. If you need more power, Banks power is the answer. Banks Type in your year make and model to gain safe, usable horsepower today.

Sean P. Holman (4m 25s):

And we all know that we like to use our pickup trucks, whether it’s towing or hauling, it’s really easy to overwhelm the stock suspension on a lot of these vehicles, especially when those trucks don’t come with rear sway bars. So if you’re looking to control your load, you wanna go to Hellwig Hellwig has everything you need, whether it sway bars or helper springs, they’ll help you control that load, tow that bigger trailer and make your vehicle more safe and confident. And that’s Hellwig Hey,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (4m 46s):

You know who I got a selfie from? Who? Melanie White of Hellwig

Sean P. Holman (4m 49s):

Products. You know who I got a selfie from? No. Melanie White at Hellwig products. Oh, well

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (4m 53s):

That’s not special

Sean P. Holman (4m 53s):

Then. Not for you.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (4m 55s):

Did she give you a hug? She gave me a big old bear hug.

Sean P. Holman (4m 58s):

Oh yeah. We actually walked to the show for a couple days. Oh yeah. Well, any, anyone other one up I can do for you? I see. No, I just thought I was, oh, You know what I I’ll, I

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 5s):

Love Melanie. She’s

Sean P. Holman (5m 5s):

Right. How many, how many listeners came up and asked you for photos?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 10s):

None. Really?

Sean P. Holman (5m 11s):

Yeah. None. Dude, I was walking around. I got five different listeners are like, Hey, how

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 14s):

Are you so noticeable. I don’t know. Is it the beard?

Sean P. Holman (5m 16s):

Well, I was gonna say,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 17s):

Do I just look like any other fat dude? One

Sean P. Holman (5m 18s):

Guy said he heard my voice and I’m like, this isn’t my voice dude. Although my voice didn’t sound like this three days ago. Yeah,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 23s):

I’m lying. The reason that we had the listeners show up yesterday for the last episode is because he heard my voice. Okay. So. I. Guess one. I had one. One.

Sean P. Holman (5m 30s):

Alright, So. it was cool. I just wanted to say thank you to all of our listeners who came over. I got you guys some stickers, anybody who took selfies with me and it was cool. So thanks for introducing yourself. It’s nice to see who our listeners are and appreciate the compliments on the show. We love you guys. And we’re off to cover the West Hall of semo

4 (5m 47s):

The truck show. We’re gonna show you what we know. We’re gonna answer what The truck, truck rides with the truck show. We have the lifted. We have the lowered and everything in between. We’ll talk about trucks that run on Diesel and the ones that run on gasoline. The truck show. The truck show. The truck show. Whoa.

1 (6m 19s):

It’s the truck show with your hosts Lightning and Holman.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (6m 26s):

Now Matt at AEV, does your voice sound anything like Holman?

5 (6m 30s):

Not quite as bad. But what

Sean P. Holman (6m 32s):

Do you mean by that? Gimme

5 (6m 32s):

A few hours. Do

Sean P. Holman (6m 33s):

You see if I look, if I, oh wow. Hold on. If I put effort into leaning forward, I can make it sound less like it has all day come up

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (6m 42s):

On Octave. Does it help? Little Hi,

4 (6m 44s):

Octave up. Hi. Hi Myy. I’m,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (6m 45s):

That’s octaves up.

Sean P. Holman (6m 47s):

Hey Matt, I’m here in your booth. It hurts to do that by the way. It does not

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (6m 51s):

Help. Stop with a of you.

5 (6m 53s):

See you guys again. Again. Thank you. Thank

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (6m 54s):

You. Thank you. This is an amazing Sierra Grande. Let’s take everyone through this vehicle right at the, at the front of the AEV booth.

5 (7m 3s):

Yes, absolutely. You guys are looking at the Sierra Grande concept. This is a collaboration that we did with GMC to really showcase the ultimate overland adventure based Sierra HD pickup. There’s no secret we’re a big fan of the A T four X platform specifically. So GMC helped us out and essentially built us our dream platform to start with a regular cab 2,500 long bed. But the key is it has all the a T four X running gear. So this is a truck that you can’t buy necessarily, but it’s a platform you can start with.

Sean P. Holman (7m 42s):

So you guys not only took this very special regular cab, awesome, four by 4, 2500, but then you basically applied the PXL treatment, what you might do with a prospector XL Ram to the GM platform. So This is the first time that you guys have given that treatment to this truck. So 40 inch tires, these are the brand new BF Goodrich 40 inch tire alters. These are the HD terrains.

5 (8m 10s):

HD terrain. Yes.

Sean P. Holman (8m 10s):

On a new Wheel, because you we’re using seventeens, now you’ve got an 18 inch Wheel.

5 (8m 14s):

Yes. But awesome. But the advantage is this is a load range F tire. So this is more than enough for a one ton truck. No limitations now on our XL vehicle. So. I was gonna say one

Sean P. Holman (8m 25s):

Of the issues with the XL is people wanted, it wasn’t the capability of the platform in 3,500, it was the tire choice. Right? They weren’t f they didn’t have the load. So now, right. Anybody who wanted to tow a fifth Wheel or load it up if on fence, sliding camper

5 (8m 38s):

On fence, fence and air it on the side of caution, now they don’t have to. They

Sean P. Holman (8m 40s):

Don’t have to. ’cause you now have a tire with your partner BFG. Yeah. That’s gonna service that market. So that’s gonna be something that you’ll use on builds going forward in the future on Pxl and hopefully the GM platform. Yeah.

5 (8m 51s):

Yeah. And really as you know, Sean, you, you followed nj, you’ve seen a lot of our builds in the past. Whenever we go into a new platform, we always try and really set the tone and that’s really what this truck is. Will it ever be produced? Probably not. Maybe boo. You know, we’ve made trade beds before, but like this is really to showcase our aftermarket support for these trucks.

Sean P. Holman (9m 14s):

But Jason’s never gonna have a tray bed. so we don’t care about that. The

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (9m 17s):

Fact of that, wait a minute. I think it’s someone much should

Sean P. Holman (9m 19s):

Own. No, it’s rad. But the fact someone should own this. The fact of the matter is that what you’re seeing on the tray bed, you’ll be able to do, hopefully do a crew cab 2,500 through AAV down the line.

5 (9m 30s):

Yeah. This is kind of pie in the sky. You know, This is the dream truck. But. yes. I mean full aftermarket support. This is a phenomenal platform. So.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (9m 38s):

I would rock this thing. It is awesome. It’s got a durmax under the

Sean P. Holman (9m 41s):

Hood. No, it’s awesome. Yeah.

5 (9m 42s):

Yeah. It’s it, it’s quite a And the cool thing is it’s different than the PXL. Yeah. The PXL has has certain attributes that are good. Yep. This has a lot of attributes that are also good and unique. So it’s almost like a,

Sean P. Holman (9m 55s):

They’re complimentary to each

5 (9m 57s):

Other. Strange case, but kind of different depending on how you wanna dial it in.

Sean P. Holman (10m 1s):

I’ll tell the story because it’s funny, I was with you guys in Montana. Yes. And all the journalists were there and they had these waves of the HD and they’re all taking pictures and you know, doing their Instagram videos and their camera guys. And then the buses pulled up and the buses start loading up journalists and I had been riding with Brian mc Vickers from Overland Journal, who’s our OVR competitor, but we’re friends, right. So we’ve been riding all week together and I waited just long enough to see Brian start walking toward the bus. And Dave Harrington, who is the founder of, of AEV and a friend of mine goes, we have to move this to the barn. You wanna go for a ride? And I’m like, hell yeah. So I hop in the passenger seat. He hadn’t driven it yet. We had like maybe a don don’t know, a three quarter mile drive or something.

Sean P. Holman (10m 43s):

And Brian, as he is getting on the bus, turns around, sees me getting, he goes WTF like mouse the words with his hands in the air. And I just winked. And I’m like, yeah, one up the here. So I may be one of the few people outside of AEV who’s actually been in this while it’s moving. Right? Yeah,

5 (10m 59s):

Yeah. I mean Sean. We I mean this happened within a matter of weeks. Yeah. How long ago were, it was two weeks ago. I feel like, you know, we just got this thing into Montana photo shoot reveals to the media. So yeah, you, how,

Sean P. Holman (11m 14s):


Jay “Lightning” Tilles (11m 14s):

Does that work Matt? Like how do you start approach gm? I know that you already have a relationship with gm. You have the, the contact X, you know, always have to sell it. Right? Right, right. I mean you’re gonna call the guy and who you work with and say, here’s our concept, what do you think? And he goes,

Sean P. Holman (11m 28s):


5 (11m 29s):

So GMC and AEV have been working diligently all year to really establish that enthusiast base. You know, we’re collaborating on things like events, Overland Expo, we were helping them out. They were there. And this is really the next step. Like okay, we’re showing our support for the overland market. Now let’s create a buzz. Let’s get people excited.

Sean P. Holman (11m 51s):

Well in the new platform on both the mid-size trucks, well all of them all the way through mid-size, halftime heavy duty, I had a chance to drive them with the full AEV treatment. And there are all these little details. So for example, if you remember the old Chevy Z two bison, it had a big tube in the back to protect the rear fender. Well the new bumpers have like a welded metal plate, but it has a finishing piece of plastic that snaps over it. So you can go drive it, it looks nice, pull that off, go on the trail, scrape it up and protect your bumper, protect the back of the bed and then put that finishing cap back on it. Yeah. When you’re driving the city, like there’s just little things like that, obviously the hot stamp or on steel and just on and on, on.

Sean P. Holman (12m 32s):

And, and I feel like, you know, in Moab this year you had the prototype Ram PXL regular cap tray bed and we got a chance to drive that and you did a run of 10 of those. And so those were kinda the precursor to, let’s see what that, ’cause it was create a lot of buzz. Let’s see what that does on the GM platform. Yeah.

5 (12m 48s):

And so they were really excited. They, they, you know, they’ve seen what we were doing with Ram and they see the excitement and you know, they

Sean P. Holman (12m 58s):

Want a piece of it. They

5 (12m 59s):

Want a piece of it. But also when someone’s looking, you guys, especially if you’re out looking for a new truck, are you gonna buy something with no aftermarket support or are you gonna buy something with aftermarket support? Sure. So it, we wanna be that champion of it. You know, here’s a exceptional product from the factory if you wanna enhance it, take it a little four. You know, we we’re the, you know, name on the top of the list. Okay,

Sean P. Holman (13m 24s):

So you guys started in Jeeps and Rams. That’s, that was, that was Dave’s deal back when he started the company and a few years ago, SEMA, you’re like, hey, I can’t tell you much about it. Be in the GM booth. There’s something you wanna see And, it was the prototype Z two bison. Yes. And the response was So phenomenal Chevy’s like let’s put that in a production. Yes. And at that point it was like you would get a zero two bison And, it would go get upfitted and then get back. You guys are to a place now not only do you have a zero two bison Colorado, you have the zero two bison half ton, the heavy duty now G, the G-M-C-A-T four X AEV addition. You have been in this engineering phase for the past couple years where your parts are now being installed on the production line with everything else.

Sean P. Holman (14m 8s):

But the parts are the exact same quality and meet all of your standards. They haven’t been cheapened down with your logo. No. There’s still a hot stamp warranty on a lot of those parts. And, it was all the things that AEV stands for. There’s no watering down when you get an AEV package for the dealer.

5 (14m 20s):

No, a hundred percent. And that was kind of like our super bowl ring that we always wanted. Getting these parts shipped into the plant. It, it’s hard for people outside the industry to understand the mountain and the achievement that that is. So for us, that’s what we’ve been working towards all along. Yeah. And yeah, you’re a hundred percent right. There’s nothing watered down. And you know,

Sean P. Holman (14m 45s):

How do you create a heavy duty bumper that has to hold a winch? It has to, to work with ados, it has to work with, you know, all your sensors and all that. But not only that, but it has to go on a dunnage cart that gets sequenced in line at the plant. And. it has to meet a weight requirement for the ergonomics for the guy lifting it up and bolting it on the truck. And

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (15m 4s):

It has to use the same tooling, like the same equipment that they installation. The installation tooling.

Sean P. Holman (15m 9s):

Everything. Yeah. Everything.

5 (15m 10s):

So the fact, the way it’s packaged in that dunnage Yeah. Is critical. It every step of the process and the steps leading up Yeah. In between those processes are just like,

Sean P. Holman (15m 21s):

People don’t realize, like you go to the aftermarket and you’re like, oh, let’s just put this bumper on and whatever. That’s not how it works on a, on a production line at a plant. No. There is a huge amount of sequencing and other things that have to happen.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (15m 33s):

They will not slow down for you. No, they will not slow down. They can’t. So you No, you have to And there’s

5 (15m 37s):

Repercussions if you slow them down. Yeah. So yeah,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (15m 41s):

Think of yourself the last time you were in like the, the fast lane and a slow car got got in front of you and how angry you got. Imagine that time’s a million. Yeah,

5 (15m 50s):

Absolutely. Literally. Absolutely. And the thing is, it’s not like, oh hey, it’s bison day and all they build at bison’s. No I mean a bison is rolling down the line. Behind the middle Dual Chevy. Yeah. Behind a, you know, it’s just a mix. Let’s

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (16m 4s):

Move over here to this wall here. Now this shows us the factory skin of the bumper, right?

Sean P. Holman (16m 10s):

Of the GM bumper. The GM bumper.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (16m 11s):

Yeah. Okay. And then it shows the, the the pretty outer skin.

5 (16m 15s):

Yeah. So what you’re looking at This is the heavy duty GMC front bumper. The Chevy one’s not much different. And what you’re looking at is almost an exploded view. So at the core of the bumper, you have a three millimeter stamp steel inner. And this is also, this is what also serves as the winch mount. So This is the piece that the winch would bolt to. This is

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (16m 38s):

The part you can’t see ’cause there’s plastic covering it in your truck. You

5 (16m 41s):

Can’t see this. This This is the part that’s going to the frame. This is like the substructure so so to speak. Okay. Now over here you have your heavy duty nodular iron recovery points. Cool thing with these is, and

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (16m 55s):

That’s yours? That’s not factory, correct?

5 (16m 56s):

Oh, these are a hundred percent ours because they’re ours. Two key features that we always try and incorporate. One they need to serve as also kind of the first layer of defense. Again, like if you’re coming down off something and you’re gonna scrape, we want those to scrape. And if you look

Sean P. Holman (17m 13s):

Not the bumper, look how they hook under the bumper. Yeah. They,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (17m 15s):

They loop around on the bottom. That’s smart. Okay.

Sean P. Holman (17m 18s):

So you have a closed winching system or closed recovery system. Yeah. That and these good plays.

5 (17m 22s):

That’s the other one. So

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (17m 23s):

That’s sacrificial down here.

5 (17m 24s):

Yes. Yes. And as Sean mentioned, we use a closed loop recovery system, which is optimally sized for a large D-ring shackle as opposed to the hook. You know, that stuff can slide off of This is the right way to do it.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (17m 39s):

And I’ve seen the hooks bend. Yeah.

5 (17m 41s):

Yeah. And these are or break. Yeah. So this is kind of a, a signature feature of our, of our bumpers. And then moving to the outer stamping, this is also a three millimeter stamp steel outer with a plastic cap that sits on top. This is what gives it like, it’s a, it the factory fit and finish.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (18m 3s):

So here’s what I can’t wrap my head around. Your hand is resting on the top surface that faces the sky of this bumper, but it has the exact same finish as the steel bumper that it’s connected to.

Sean P. Holman (18m 17s):

Have you seen my Jeep the hoop on my Jeep?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (18m 19s):

I, I know that I’m getting to that. Like, I can’t explain to you guys that you, how did you figure that out? It has the exact same black pigment or whatever the coating

Sean P. Holman (18m 31s):

Is. So people don’t realize on the JL that the hoop that holds the lights is plastic. It has a interior metal structure. And, it’s the same thing ’cause it looks exactly the same. Yeah. Amazing.

5 (18m 42s):

It it’s matching the grain of the powder coat eco finish to the grain that’s applied to the plastic component.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (18m 50s):

The average person won’t be able to tell where the metal ends in the plastic begins.

5 (18m 54s):

Correct. And that same average person will most likely think the bumper’s plastic unless they actually knock on it. Because for that reason it all matches. It all looks like it’s meant to be there integrated with the vehicle. Little things like we have a engine block heater integrated into the driver’s side fog, light bezel for those customers in Canada. You know, northern states that need that engine block heater easy to get to non-invasive. But you know, it’s all there. Everything has to be a hundred percent on point.

Sean P. Holman (19m 29s):

Well you guys know I love you AEV had a long-term relationship. You know, it’s awesome to see you guys go to the next level and have those parts installed on the line. I’ve been watching this last year, I know how crazy it’s been from a stress standpoint, but to see it pulled off your booth here seem is beautiful. Thank you. You guys haven’t been here since 2019, so you’re back. It’s awesome.

5 (19m 49s):

Yes. Yeah. Happy to be back and you know, appreciate the support and yeah, it’s been a wild year, but you know, we accomplished a lot and there’s a lot to be excited for the future

Sean P. Holman (19m 58s):

And more to come

5 (19m 59s):

And more to come.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (20m 1s):

Look who we run into Brett King of King Shocks.

6 (20m 6s):

Oh, how’s everybody doing out there? So we’re, we’re here at the SEMA Show. So

Sean P. Holman (20m 11s):

Last day, how you hanging better than my voice?

6 (20m 13s):

The my voice is going away. They kept me out late a couple nights ago,

Sean P. Holman (20m 17s):

Still recovering.

6 (20m 18s):

I recovered last night. I feel much better today. I’m out walking around the show So. I’m excited to be here.

Sean P. Holman (20m 24s):

Glad to run into You didn’t

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (20m 26s):

Get dragged off to the TIS show with Ludicrous or

6 (20m 29s):

I’m that, that’s tonight. They’re, oh, that’s

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (20m 31s):


6 (20m 31s):

To recover last night. Tonight we’re all going to the concert out here, the SEMA Fest. So we’re excited to be there. So

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (20m 39s):

How is it for you? How’s the show for you? Like as right now you’re a spectator, like you were looking at someone else’s booth right

Sean P. Holman (20m 45s):

Now and we accosted you.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (20m 47s):

Tell us about your experience.

6 (20m 49s):

And that’s basically what I’m out doing today is I left the booth and I’m just out talking to customers and just, I guess being a, a spectator myself out looking at products and all the new stuff that everybody’s working on. So that’s really what SEMA is about, is showing off new stuff and all the companies are here and they’re all showing their new stuff. And the new stuff is what everybody likes to see.

Sean P. Holman (21m 14s):

Well, king has an amazing reputation in the offroad industry. How did you go from a small shop in Garden Grove, California to being one of the premier names and off-road shock technology?

6 (21m 25s):

I guess just work really hard. Do You know what I mean? And my other advice for people, you know, thinking of starting their own, if you need money, don’t start your own business.

Sean P. Holman (21m 36s):

Yeah, no, I agree.

6 (21m 37s):

Because it’s really hard for first 5, 6, 7 years. It’s extremely hard. We have

Sean P. Holman (21m 42s):

A joke where we look at people.

6 (21m 43s):

You have to sacrifice a lot and it’s not for everybody.

Sean P. Holman (21m 46s):

Go ahead and start your business while your head is shaking. No. You know,

6 (21m 50s):

I was fortunate enough that me and my brother and my mom and dad, we all lived at the same house. We all had no bills, we had no wives, no girlfriends. We had an unusual situation that most people and the rest, it was a very short time. And then we found ourself collecting unemployment checks, And. it took me less time to go down the street and start building Shocks than it did to find another job. And that was basically how we got started. Wow. So everybody who loses their job and they’re out like collecting unemployment checks it, think about doing something for yourself because it was a hard time in that, in my life and my parents’ life.

6 (22m 39s):

But something good came from it. Do You know what I mean? And without, if, if I was still working for that company, I would still be working for that company today. Yeah. Do You know what I mean?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (22m 51s):

There would be no King Shocks. There

6 (22m 52s):

Would be no King Shocks. I would still be working there. Do You know what I mean? So sometimes from a bad situation, good things can happen. Do You know what I mean? It’s it’s not always

Sean P. Holman (23m 3s):

Bad. I know what you mean more than you know that. I know what you mean.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (23m 7s):

He was in, he was in the publishing industry.

Sean P. Holman (23m 9s):

I worked at MotorTrend for 20 years, ran the Truckin off road group, got laid off last year and then started three businesses this year. So yeah, I

6 (23m 17s):

I worked the, for other people for 10 years. So I. I get the situation You know what I mean. Like becomes easy You know what I mean. I’m making a living and everything becomes easy. Yeah. Sometimes from change is always good. And I, I always have used my experience growing up as I was a kid. Every job I got always seemed to be better than the first one. Although they were really, it was just me personally. Do You know what I mean? Like you go from digging ditches your first summer out of outta high school and you work construction and you know, then I get a job at the Yamaha dealer shop and I worked there for my way through college.

6 (24m 1s):

And every one of your jobs always seems to be better. There’s, oh, this is a horrible job. Do You know what I mean? The money comes and goes. But it’s really, the job is based on the person, not the necessarily the job.

Sean P. Holman (24m 18s):

Well congratulations on your success and we appreciate you sharing your story with us. Awesome. We’re we’re big fans. I I Good. Grew up in Orange County King’s always been, you know, one of those brands. That’s been my whole off-road life. Yeah.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (24m 31s):

I really wanna know Brett, how does it feel? Because when you started, I, you could not have imagined that the logo that’s on your left breast pocket right here, king off-road racing Shocks would be an icon. Not just in the off-road racing industry, but in the automotive industry. I see your brand post up. You guys will post up a, a trailer and sell merchandise, a t-shirt apparel. And every young person in the entire venue is rocking King like It is. It’s, it’s, to me it’s like Quicksilver, Stussy, rusty Billabong. It’s on that level. The the the name What what the, what the name stands for

6 (25m 8s):

And that I don’t know how happened. And that is the, I understand the shock part of it. I understand, dude, they’re cool. Shocks I totally understand the apparel part. I don’t understand that’s a little bit different. Like really there’s a line

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (25m 26s):

In front. Your brand has become an icon.

6 (25m 27s):

There’s a line in front of my booth, but there could be another a hundred times bigger company and they can’t sell a shirt. Right. There’s a line in front of my booth to buy shirts. That’s, that’s the part I don’t understand. They’re

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (25m 43s):

Paying to advertise your brand.

6 (25m 44s):

Yeah. That’s awesome. And eventually that’s what the originally was. Yeah. It is what it was. Originally we started selling shirts because I’m a shock manufacturer. I’m not an apparel company. Sure. So people would come in all the time wanting to get a shirt, And. it takes a lot of time for me to go do that. So if I do it at the event, then they get the opportunity to get that apparel. And apparel is not available online. You can only get it if you’re at an event. Well it,

Sean P. Holman (26m 12s):

It takes you the same amount of time to write an invoice for a guy for four Shocks as it does for one T-shirt at the shop. Right.

6 (26m 17s):

We want to, I myself specifically work. I need to work on Shocks. Yeah. Yeah. Do You know what I mean? No,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (26m 24s):

I get it. I didn’t mean to take you sideways on that. I just think it’s awesome.

6 (26m 27s):

I get it. Yeah. The apparel is just a little bit of a different thing. You know what I mean. Yep. But everybody wants a t-shirt, a memento, anywhere they go. You know what I mean. Whether it be monster trucks or an off-road race.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (26m 40s):

We would love to come by the shop. We’re both local. I’m Long Beach. He’s, he’s Huntington Beach. If it would be okay with you, we’d, we have always wanted a tour king.

6 (26m 49s):

Well, let’s do it. Okay. Let’s do it. I’m on board. Awesome.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (26m 53s):

I’m on board. Have a fantastic show. Awesome. We will see you soon.

6 (26m 56s):

Great to see you. Thank you. Thank you

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (26m 60s):

Lonnie. What’s up? Doing

7 (27m 1s):

Good. How are y’all?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (27m 2s):

I don’t think I’ve met you in person. Lightning. Shake my hand. There you go. Yes.

7 (27m 6s):

I’ve heard all about you through Sean. So

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (27m 7s):

Oh no, that’s, there’s no way that, that’s good.

Sean P. Holman (27m 9s):

I’m my alter ego today since I lost my voice or almost close to it, so. Oh,

7 (27m 13s):

Okay. It’s like that might be a good thing. Yeah.

Sean P. Holman (27m 15s):

You give to duh Right tip your waitress on the way out. Right. Alright, so we’re standing in the Skyjacker Suspension booth. Ah,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (27m 22s):

Oh the bear. Oh, okay. It’s not real. It’s, it’s a stuffed bear.

7 (27m 26s):

Well people ask us that. Is that a real bear? I’m like, well it was. It was.

Sean P. Holman (27m 30s):


Jay “Lightning” Tilles (27m 30s):

You didn’t like my acting there. No,

Sean P. Holman (27m 32s):

That was horrible. I don’t ever like your acting. We’re standing here in the Skyjacker booth. It’s an important year. ’cause the kickoff to your 50th Anniversary. Yes. Which we’ve talked about earlier. But your booth has the entire timeline and the history of your mom and dad starting the business all the way to today. That’s right. And it’s freaking awesome.

7 (27m 50s):

Thank you. Thank you.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (27m 51s):

See you. We have a ribbon of years starting right here. Right at 1973. There’s a ribbon that goes around the circumference of the booth with all the ears and then milestones. Oh look at the old hats and old

Sean P. Holman (28m 4s):

T-shirts. Oh, you missed it. Earlier in the week they found a bunch of vintage racing shirts and everybody was wearing their old Skyjacker racing shirts from back. It had to be what, the eighties?

7 (28m 12s):

Yes. And we had to juggle around sizes so everybody had one to fit, but you know, so we had enough for a day or two then we had to retire ’em. But yeah, we, we kept them all these years. so we still had it and we, that’s how we found these old hats and t-shirts. And we still had some of the old parts and things and look

Sean P. Holman (28m 28s):

At the old invoices and notes and just engineering drawings. Your

7 (28m 31s):

Old ads where dad had drew out our, our mom drew up little ad back in those days. It was all copy paste to build an ad And. she would take it down to the printer and have them make it. We found a lot of those old sketches and drawings. And even for dad, he had a, an old jig of how he used to, you know, center punch the holes for the, the drop brackets. And we found those jigs and put some of that stuff on the wall.

Sean P. Holman (28m 54s):

I That’s cool. Saw your dad and mom yesterday And it’s awesome to see all the generations standing in the skyjack with the whole family’s in here and everybody’s just, you know, it’s such a rare thing anymore in this industry to have the longevity of 50 years, but let alone to have family members who continue to want to be a part of it.

7 (29m 13s):

Yes. Well that was really my dad’s original dream. He wanted to build something that he could pass on to his children’s children and their children. It wasn’t just about let’s just build a business up and sell it. He wanted something that continue on in the family and support whoever wanted to work here. And like you said, now we have four, the third generation that works here full time and loves it and they, that’s the only thing they see their futures being is being here.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (29m 39s):

Yeah. You know what’s kind of cool is that you’re, he didn’t realize that he was future proofing the company because no matter what the powertrain is, every truck will always need suspension.

7 (29m 48s):

Yes they do. And it has evolved and changed significantly. Oh yeah. Over time. But you just evolve and change with it and, and then we still have all the old stuff. So now we actually are involved in restoration that we never foresaw as an opportunity and now we sell just as much of the old stuff that we did 40 years.

Sean P. Holman (30m 6s):

Well and a lot of your competition as they’ve been bought out by VCs, they’ve gotten rid of the old SKUs. It’s like nobody’s gonna buy. So you’re like the one stop shop if you have an older truck and you want that traditional, let’s say a six inch leaf spring kit. That’s you guys now. Yes, that’s right. And you’re still stocking. You’ve gone through a bunch of them upgraded the leaf springs to more modern technology, more modern technology on the Shocks and the shock valving. So not only do you get a a, a lift kit that’ll fit that old truck, but you’re also getting some modern technology with it too. So you get kinda the best of both worlds. Yes.

7 (30m 33s):

So it. Even this 77 F-150 we ended up here, which was a cool story. It is one that my dad originally built back in

Sean P. Holman (30m 40s):

1977. So lady, take a look at this den side. Okay,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (30m 43s):

First off, there’s only one truck in the booth and it’s dead center

Sean P. Holman (30m 46s):

And there’s a bear in the bed. Yep. All right? Look at the hand painted.

7 (30m 51s):

It was

Sean P. Holman (30m 52s):

Under the Ford logo. The

7 (30m 53s):

Tailgate originally right

Sean P. Holman (30m 54s):

Here. Oh,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (30m 54s):

Oh, oh, I see it here. Oh there It is. It says four Wheel Drive.

Sean P. Holman (30m 58s):

It is Lonnie McCurry. No,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (30m 60s):

There’s Lonnie McCurry. Four Wheel Drive Center.

7 (31m 2s):


Jay “Lightning” Tilles (31m 3s):

Louisiana. Monroe, Louisiana. There we go. Paint

7 (31m 5s):

Bow watts.

Sean P. Holman (31m 7s):

So now come here, check this out.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (31m 8s):

It said green on green and I love the license plate.

Sean P. Holman (31m 10s):


Jay “Lightning” Tilles (31m 10s):


Sean P. Holman (31m 11s):

Amp steps. I wanna show him the redneck amp steps.

7 (31m 14s):

Oh. Yes.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (31m 14s):

Yes. Let me see. Redneck amp step. Okay, first,

7 (31m 16s):

First power step. The

Sean P. Holman (31m 17s):

First power step. Here you go.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (31m 21s):

So wait a minute,

Sean P. Holman (31m 22s):

Hold on a second. Is that amazing or what?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (31m 23s):

This is a step that’s welded or bolted to the bottom of the door. And, it articulates out with the door itself and then So it doesn’t break off. It’s got kind of a a u that supports it. That’s part of the, the body. I can’t describe this. We’re gonna have a second photo

Sean P. Holman (31m 36s):

By the way. Photo way all of our listeners love the way an old door opens

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (31m 39s):

Up. Hold on. I got it. I got it right now. Slam it. Here we go.

Sean P. Holman (31m 45s):

Oh I love that. That’s great. Yeah. So maybe talk about finding the truck and then what did you guys do to it to freshen it up?

7 (31m 51s):

Right. So he had bought this, he, he painted, fixed up this truck 77 and of course you know, over time it found its way to another buyer or another owner. And eventually last year we had a person call us and say, I bought this old truck. I was going to paint it down, slick it up, restore it. But he found that on the tailgate with the Lonnie Macur Ford. Right. You Googled it and said Oh that’s Skyjacker and called. so we bought it back and so it’s part of our history. But we went back through, put a new variable rate coil spring on the front. Now we built an adjustable track bar. ’cause back in the seventies and eighties you just told people cut it, weld it to recenter your truck. You know, put new parts on it that, that people today would just soon buy off the shelf.

7 (32m 34s):

You gotta

Sean P. Holman (32m 34s):

Take for granted that that’s how kits are today versus what you had to do back in the day.

7 (32m 38s):

Yeah. So we’re able to actually make this truck ride better than what it used to because we have like a new new technology in Coil Springs and things that you can do to allow the coil to survive. So

Sean P. Holman (32m 47s):

I. Love it. What are you guys gonna do with the truck after you’re done with the 50th Anniversary?

7 (32m 51s):

You know for me I Think we just keep it. Yeah. Take just some classic truck shows. You should and you know, I don’t wanna take it out and build a rock crawler or an off roader with it and and destroy it. I think it’s good for other shows. You take it to an Indianapolis truck Jamboree and stuff. And it would be awesome there.

Sean P. Holman (33m 10s):

So. it also has a set of super swampers on it and some old race line wagon wheels. White. Yes.

7 (33m 15s):


Sean P. Holman (33m 15s):

It And it just classic. The

7 (33m 16s):

Swampers was a classic Louisiana tire 70 50 years ago. I mean that’s where in the seventies. That’s that’s what we ran in Louisiana. This

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (33m 23s):

Whole thing is a time capsule.

Sean P. Holman (33m 25s):

I was JR the other day ago. The nice thing about these trucks is they’re, they’re so loud you never even hear the super swampers on the highway. Yeah,

7 (33m 30s):

That’s right. You have I mean if you know, we of ’em still, we left the gun rack in the back windshield. There’s the

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (33m 35s):

Gun rack as you should. The c the CB antenna is original. Like everything. It is a time capsule.

7 (33m 41s):

I mean it’s got the big old brush guard bumper.

Sean P. Holman (33m 43s):

PTO win. Yeah. It is brush guards. Oh yeah. And it’s a PTO not a electric winch. Come on that. Come on people look

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (33m 48s):

At this. This by the way has knocked some other trucks off the road. Smaller

Sean P. Holman (33m 52s):

Cars. Well not just trucks.

7 (33m 54s):

Absolutely. Yeah. You know, it survived and and that’s the way we built them back then you had to hold up this kind of weight when you, when you lifted it and you know, it’s all part of the suspension package.

Sean P. Holman (34m 3s):

Well congrats on 50 years my friend. You Thank you. This is a, a epic milestone and we’ve known each other for a long time and I just wanted make sure that we came by the booth because all the hard work deserves to be seen. Is there gonna be a way for people who aren’t at the show or customers to be able to peruse this wall on your website?

7 (34m 22s):

Yes. We’ll, we’ll, we’ll we’ll post a YouTube video of the booth as well as our, our legacy documentary with with running into booth. We’ll we’ll post all this on YouTube. It’d

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (34m 31s):

Be nice to have like a blog on your site that runs from beginning to end. You know, like by year.

7 (34m 36s):

I I like that. And actually explains some of the history of exactly what you’re looking at. I like that.

Sean P. Holman (34m 40s):

Alright, well appreciate it.

7 (34m 42s):

Thank you guys for stopping back back.

Sean P. Holman (34m 43s):


7 (34m 43s):

SEMA. Thank you.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (34m 46s):

Roy. What’s happening? Lightning, Holman truck. Show Podcast.

9 (34m 49s):

It’s great out here last day of the show and it’s kinda open for the public so we’re kind of kind of see what happens.

Sean P. Holman (34m 53s):

Have you had a lot of response to the awesome red FC standing behind us? Not at

9 (34m 58s):

All, right? Yeah, right.

Sean P. Holman (34m 59s):

It is amazing.

9 (35m 0s):

Yeah, no it’s been a crowd around this thing the whole time. Let’s

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (35m 3s):

Describe what we’re staring at. So this is what year? Jeep ffc.

9 (35m 7s):

This is a 1962 Jeep Forward Control fc. They only made ’em from 57 through 65

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (35m 15s):

Short run. Any idea how many they made?

9 (35m 17s):

I think they were guessing total production numbers around three 30,000 I think. Okay. Of total production at that time. But there’s obviously a far less amount but they keep showing up all the time. I mean people find ’em in barn finds or whatever. So it’s interesting what they find.

Sean P. Holman (35m 31s):

So let’s talk about the history of this particular fc. Okay. Because this has been in your family for a long time.

9 (35m 36s):

It has this truck about 20 years ago I was looking for a Jeep project and I was going through one of the green sheets and looking for like another Jeep project. Not that I needed another one but I did. And we came across the description that says Jeep FC one 70 for sale. And I couldn’t think what a Jeep FC one 70 was. so we happened to have an issue of Jp Magazine laying there on the counter, which you know, it’s kinda hard to do anymore. Yeah, right. so we picked that up And, it happened to have a issue with all showing all the Jeep balls and we flipped it and sure enough there was a Jeep FFC one 70. I thought hey that’s cool. There was a guy in town who had one. I said, I always wonder one of those. So that weekend we drove up to the mountains where it was and ended up trailering it back.

9 (36m 20s):

So And then what’d you buy

Sean P. Holman (36m 21s):

It for? I gotta know. What’d you

9 (36m 22s):

Pay for it Back in the day, I think it was about $1,500.

Sean P. Holman (36m 26s):

Now you built this for the real truck booth? Yes. And this is gonna be the next cover of OVR Magazine. And it’s this gorgeous red with a kind of a overland slash service body on the back that’s all aluminum. Unbelievable on I guess 30 sevens. 38. 38. 38. Now we met at Overland Adventure when you had your blue FC out there, which was a crew cab. This is sort of the follow onto that, but it’s a single cab. Maybe describe some of the mods that you did to it. And for people who don’t know an fc, think of it as like a, a bread van nose or something like that. FC Ford control the steering and the driver is basically ahead of the front axle and so they would put ’em on, looks like a miniature cab over big rig.

9 (37m 6s):

As I said, we’ve had this for about 20 years. So when we first got it, we did some modifications then. ’cause it was my very first Ford control truck. So I was brand new to it. There was a lot of information out there on the internet on ’em. So I learned as I went. At that time we had put a 4.3 in it. We put a 700 R four in it. We’ve had Dana, Dana 40 fours in it. And. it worked good for like the first 60,000 miles over this last 20 years. So, ’cause you’re asking about the history, so I’m kind of blending this a little bit. so we took the blue truck you’re talking about we, this last year, we took it down for the Baja 1000 for one of the race teams that we helped with down there. And we were doing a remote pit. So on the way back we were having this discussion about hey, you know, we should, you know, joking around, hey we should make the blue truck or the red truck into a chase truck.

9 (37m 46s):

And we’re kind of joking around about, well joking, got into more little serious, then my son says, dad, we really should do that. so we decided to do some upgrades in this. So with this one we put, now we have a 5.3 LS motor in it. A six L 80 transmission. We have the 14 bolt in the back, Dana 16 in the front one ton axles. We upgrade the size of the tires. We’ve gotten rid of the, the steel and wood bed and went to all aluminum bed tray now from some of the excavation trucks out of Canada who custom built this for us.

Sean P. Holman (38m 14s):

And it’s gorgeous.

9 (38m 15s):

Yeah. And plus if you notice on the back, there’s two tires back there. One is mounted to the bulkhead and the other one is laying flat. And that is where the tires will go for like the race truck. Okay. So since we’re building it kind of doing that, but we also take it out camping. Yeah.

Sean P. Holman (38m 29s):

We got a rooftop 10 on top. Yep. So you gotta have that. And the weirdest thing about these are off-roading them, them. So maybe describe the experience of going over a cliff.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (38m 40s):

It does, does

Sean P. Holman (38m 40s):

Everything feel like a cliff? Well everything feels like a cliff. Yeah.

9 (38m 42s):

Well the best way I describe it to people who go out Jeep and that is when they ask me the same question you’re asking, I say, well go over and instead on the hood of your Jeep and that’s gonna be how it’s gonna kind of feel. Yeah. Pictures sitting on the hood of your Jeep as you go over a hill or over drop over a thing. That’s exactly how it feels in this.

Sean P. Holman (38m 57s):


Jay “Lightning” Tilles (38m 57s):

Do you, do you ever get used to it? Or is it always like oh, oh, oh, like bud pucker?

9 (39m 2s):

Well, you know, it depends on what I’m going it with all the weight up front like this, it’ll pretty much go up anything I pointed at, which is kind of scary. But if I have to come back down, it’s a whole different feeling because it can get light in the back. Yeah. And I’ve had instances where I’ve been coming down and if I hit the little brakes a little too hard, I’ll feel it back in, get a little light and reposition itself. and then I realize. Yeah, I’m I’m pushing it now. So, so

Sean P. Holman (39m 23s):

The, the short Wheel based ones had a, had a weight plate in the back to Cal Counter that this is a one 70 so no weight plate in this one. Right. That

9 (39m 31s):

Was the one fifties that had the, the, it was like a 230 pound weight underneath the front bumper or front or the rear bumper rather. And that was to counteract what you’re talking about. Yeah. I talked to the guys who, who’d been out wheeling with those fcs, early fcs and they’d taken that weight outta the back to try to save weight on the trail. And there was more than one time they’d been going through a downhill, like we were talking about, to get to the bottom of the hill and they had to go back and push it the back end, back down. ’cause it did a nose dive.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (39m 54s):

How did you get into the real truck booth and what real truck accessories do you have on the, on the fc?

9 (39m 60s):

Okay, well good question. We’ve worked with the people at Real Truck before and they’re great people here. And when we had the opportunity to come in here, obviously we put some of their product on the truck and we’ve got like the rear bumper, we got some accessories and such on here. We got the go run a rack up here and a few other accessories around the truck. And so they put us in a prime spot here because obviously it draws a lot of people into their booth. So that’s how come we’re here.

Sean P. Holman (40m 24s):

That’s awesome. Well, Roy Wallace from First Gear Off Road, thank you so much for taking the time with us and this thing is absolutely gorgeous. Can’t wait to do some more stuff with you and, and this beautiful fc great.

9 (40m 34s):

Thank you. Thank

Sean P. Holman (40m 35s):


Jay “Lightning” Tilles (40m 36s):

Mr. Chris Paine truck Guru in the flesh.

10 (40m 39s):

How’s it going? Big guy

Sean P. Holman (40m 40s):

Dude this year Hold on Hold. on Hold on. Before you ask questions, we gotta get, we gotta get outta the way. Chris called out a crap ton of people this year on social And. it was awesome. It needed to be said, wait,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (40m 51s):

Wait, wait. Called out how

10 (40m 52s):

I mean there, there’s a lot of I mean this industry’s going to crap right at the end of the day. And there’s a lot of people that think they’re bigger than their britches that haven’t really put in the work or they don’t really know what’s going on. And at the end of the day, It is what It is. Well

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (41m 4s):

Wait a minute, we we just Hold on you gotta I gotta unpack this. A the industry’s going to crap. What do you mean? And how did these people violate

Sean P. Holman (41m 13s):

Your industry sensibilities?

10 (41m 14s):

Yeah. I mean at the end of the day, the scene is just toxic. That’s what I mean by that. It’s not going to hell. It’s just, it’s toxic. There’s a lot of people out there who,

Sean P. Holman (41m 23s):

A lot of egos,

10 (41m 24s):

Yeah, let’s just leave it at that I mean. There’s a lot of people that think they’re bigger than they are and they’re not, or they’re think they know what they’re doing and they don’t. Or

Sean P. Holman (41m 31s):

The follow through isn’t there And, it, it used to be handshake person of your word, people taking product and not fulfilling.

10 (41m 37s):

And now a contract isn’t even good enough for the most part. They, you know, a handshake look, you in the eyes say, yes sir, and it’s good on your way. Now it’s a contract and they still, you know, breach that. So at the end of the day it’s, it’s, that’s what I mean by it’s going Are you, are

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (41m 51s):

You crapping on the vendors or are you saying that your clients, I I’m so lost. I I’m, you’re forcing me to read between the lines, which means our listeners are having an even time, tougher

10 (42m 1s):

Time. Yeah. Time. So no, in general, I think at the end of the day, you know, manufacturers are responsible because they choose who to use, who to deal with. And if they’re just giving things out to God and everybody just because, or if let’s just say like OnlyFans girls, they have an example. That’s just one example. I, I have nothing against them. You can make your money however you want. At the end of the day, they have a reputation for being more rude and vocal about things because they don’t really know how the industry works and they just have that because

Sean P. Holman (42m 30s):

They got fast tracked in without having to pay their dues.

10 (42m 32s):

A hundred percent. That’s long and short of It is they get to act as if they’ve done this for 15 years when they’re first on the scene because they have something new and nice. I’m still

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (42m 42s):


10 (42m 43s):

No I mean at the end of the day you have a lot of project managers, you have a lot of companies, you have a lot of people with their hands in the cookie jar and you know, nobody really takes responsibility anymore. That’s the thing. I mean. Let,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (42m 54s):

Let’s back up for a second. So for you guys that haven’t heard our previous episodes where we’ve checked in with Chris, he is a project manager. Yes. You can hire him to manage your build, whether it’s for SEMA or for for Lone Star. Throw down Florida Truckin, whatever It is, how

Sean P. Holman (43m 8s):

To connect for, he knows all the people.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (43m 10s):

You say, I want to build a Jeep Wrangler, I want it, here’s how I want it to look. He will start with your rendering and then he will facilitate the purchase of all of the parts all the way through and put you in a booth. So then you get the exposure that you wanted. Right. Is that correct?

10 (43m 25s):

Correct. We have 64 out here this year. 64

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (43m 28s):


10 (43m 29s):

Yes. 64. Jeez. Four. Yeah, that’s a few. It’s my most, I’ve done so far in 15 years of doing this. You start with the design, the project management, product allocation, product influencing promotion, marketing, and you basically just do a turnkey off the lot dealer vehicle all the way up to what you see at the show at SEMA, which sometimes it’s mild and sometimes it’s wild again to each their own.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (43m 49s):

Of the 64 that you’ve built here,

Sean P. Holman (43m 52s):

Many, many those

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (43m 52s):

How many screwed you? How? Yeah, how many of the 64 did what they were supposed to do?

10 (43m 55s):


Sean P. Holman (43m 56s):

Oh, okay.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (43m 57s):

Okay. That’s good. Yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s a great batting average and

10 (44m 0s):

Let’s be real out of over 500 builds that I’ve brought to SEMA since you know, the early, you know, mid two thousands. Honestly I’ve probably only had like maybe four horror stories out of all the builds I’ve ever done.

Sean P. Holman (44m 12s):

All. right. Well

10 (44m 13s):

Yeah, that’s what I’m not pleased with. But I mean at the end of the day you do the percentages, I’m still batting 1000, you know. Sure, sure.

Sean P. Holman (44m 20s):

Yeah. Well maybe 9 98, but okay. Who’s getting

10 (44m 22s):

That’s close enough.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (44m 23s):

So your beef, when we started this was more with the manufacturers not doing what they were pro, what were promising you or your clients, why

Sean P. Holman (44m 29s):

Are you trying to pigeonhole him into thanks Sean being less vague. Sean,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (44m 33s):

I’m saying he came out swinging. I’m like, I was, I was like bobbing and weaving trying. He’s actually

Sean P. Holman (44m 37s):

Talking about you. Which is why he was being so vague. No dude,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (44m 39s):

When, when Chris Hold on, have I ever let you down?

10 (44m 41s):

Never, never. Jay’s the man All. right. I’ll be honest, fair enough. He takes care of me. So it’s not just manufacturer, sometimes it’s, it’s the people at the end of the day backing up what they say they’re gonna do. The return on investment means something to guys like me, whereas some people it doesn’t. It’s just a term, you know. So, oh, ROI, yeah, I know. Do you really know what that means? Are you going to shows in advance? Do your part, are you posting, are you tagging? Do you have signage on the vehicle? Are you doing the things that you promised or are you just saying that so you can get free? And that stuff drives me crazy because I myself am a follow through guy. Like you can ask any of my clients. I am overboard with the amount of texts. Like, and you can see ’em on social, hey, tag your partners if they miss them.

10 (45m 24s):

Sometimes it’s an honest mistake, but other times it’s just people don’t know what the hell they’re

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (45m 29s):

Doing. So what’s your favorite build of all of the 64 this year?

10 (45m 33s):

I had one that was shaping up to be a favorite build, but we didn’t really get it finished. But it’s still epic. We didn’t get it finished in the way that we wanted to. It’s still done to a capacity that is to the general public

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (45m 44s):

Still impressive.

10 (45m 45s):

Amazing. It’s, it’s a stretch 3 92 with three axles in the rear. I mean It is insane. So we’re gonna plan to put a wrecker boom on it. Custom built flatbed. It’s gonna be a recovery vehicle. Nice. It’s super dope. But the one we’re actually standing at right now is a kin block tribute build. So it’s super special because we all know you guys being in the industry how much Ken touched and inspired so many of us to do what we do. And I mean he’s a legend. And what we wanted to do is kind of give back just a smidge. So in just a few minutes we’re gonna have Leah and Lucy Block come over here and they’re going to check out the vehicle for the first time in person. And look at all the little Easter eggs that we put in this Autograph it rad.

10 (46m 26s):

Yeah, they are gonna autograph it. So you can actually win this Jeep. We are gonna have it raffle and you’re gonna be able to buy tickets and actually win this exact Jeep. Lucy’s gonna sign it. Leah’s gonna sign it. We’re gonna do all kinds of cool stuff. It’s gonna be at Jeep events on the East Coast. I mean we’re gonna travel

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (46m 41s):

And it’s in the rigid booth and so it’s laced with rigid lights. Give us the 92nd tour real quick.

10 (46m 47s):

Yeah, absolutely. I mean we have a ton of partners on this build. Rigid, really took care of us. Alpha X headlights, Warren winch metal cloak. We got Toyo on this one. We have polty be lock wheels, PRP interior, front to back, top to bottom. This thing’s been touched. It’s got a custom wrap on it. Inside’s great. We have DS 18 Audio gen y hitches. I mean literally it doesn’t get any cleaner than this, I promise. And we also have Wilwood brakes on here. Yeah,

Sean P. Holman (47m 12s):

I’m getting know Wilwood brakes on my Jeep one of these days.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (47m 15s):

One of these days. so we had, we had

10 (47m 16s):

To do a little customization to get ’em all to work. Absolutely Great products.

Sean P. Holman (47m 20s):

All, right? I would love to keep talking to you, but your voice sounds like my voice right now. And you twins and you still have to host autograph signing and stuff, so Yes sir. so we will check out with you later. Thank. Thank you you so much, brother. Appreciate you. Appreciate you. Love you man. Thanks Jay. You too bro. And in the infamous words of one of my favorite ska bands, don’t let the bastards get you down. Amen brother.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (47m 39s):

Alright, Holman. You’re gonna have to finish that talk Hold on before

Sean P. Holman (47m 42s):

You start Hold on,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (47m 42s):

Hold on. No, no, no. Left your beard.

Sean P. Holman (47m 44s):

No. was So good? Yeah. You some there for later

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (47m 46s):

On the other

Sean P. Holman (47m 47s):

Side. I was So hungry and I walked up and we saw our friends inflated and Ken’s like, Hey, you want a taco? And I’m like, yeah,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (47m 53s):

Yeah, of course I do. Yep. How guys doing?

11 (47m 56s):

Well I can’t even talk right now. Yeah,

Sean P. Holman (47m 57s):

Ryan’s got his mouth full of taco and last time we saw Ken It is,

11 (48m 1s):

It’s the carne Asada special. This is the first time I’ve eaten in four days. Well, so last

Sean P. Holman (48m 4s):

Time, last time we saw Ken, he was in an airplane yelling. I’m on Shark Tank

12 (48m 8s):

And, and by the way, I can finally admit to you that I had had like five beers in the airport before that so

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (48m 14s):

We could tell

12 (48m 16s):

I, I will never again stand in front of a crowd saying, listen, here’s the deal. I was on Shark Tank.

Sean P. Holman (48m 20s):

Listen, that endeared you to our listeners. It was all good. Oh well

12 (48m 23s):

Thanks man. It is an honor.

Sean P. Holman (48m 24s):

Dan drove out here this, okay, you guys have what? This is a 20 by 20 or something like that booth. And everything in this booth is Flated And. it came in the back of Dan’s Colorado. Yes. All deflated, right? For storage, right? Yeah. But then you showed me a picture where you were driving a hundred and like five miles an hour to show that the topper wasn’t gonna blow off.

13 (48m 42s):

Yeah. Speed test it. So it went 101 miles an hour. 15. Don’t

11 (48m 47s):

Don lawyers that don’t tell our lawyers No,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (48m 48s):


Sean P. Holman (48m 49s):

Colorado closed Mexico

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (48m 50s):

Colorado is speed limited, isn’t it?

13 (48m 53s):

I mean maybe 101. I just led off of it after that, so Got

Sean P. Holman (48m 56s):

It. Okay. He got the triple digits. When you say

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (48m 58s):

That the whole booth is made out of Flated. Yeah. You are not exaggerated. So currently we’re standing on Flated, the Colorado is parked on Afld, what do we call these? They’re not like Tilles, what would you call this?

Sean P. Holman (49m 9s):


11 (49m 10s):

Panels. But now it’s trade show flooring. Turns out

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (49m 12s):

Trade show flooring. The back wall is Flated. Your

Sean P. Holman (49m 15s):


Jay “Lightning” Tilles (49m 15s):

Sign is sign is Wait, wait,

Sean P. Holman (49m 16s):

How about the chairs?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (49m 17s):

The chairs are flad right here that the tacos are sitting on this table is

Sean P. Holman (49m 21s):

Flated. And also look at the Colorado on top on the plate pants. Every

11 (49m 25s):

Inflatable except for the Colorado.

Sean P. Holman (49m 29s):

But you tried now we tried. If you inflated all this flad stuff with Helium, would the Colorado float away on your way home?

11 (49m 35s):

You know, we haven’t tried that yet, but the next show we want to have a swim up booth. Okay. So so we will float it in the lake somewhere. So,

Sean P. Holman (49m 41s):

So, so come clean. I know this story. It’s hilarious. So one of you three, and I know who I’m not gonna look at them, may have taken a topper off at a certain overlanding event and gone rowing in a duck pond. And the reason that’s funny is because I posted that post with you guys the other day and my friend Quinn goes, yeah, I saw those guys at the Overland Show rowing one of their tops in the duck pond. That was cool. And I’m like, that’s

11 (50m 7s):

Hilarious. We thought it was just a friendly display of how we can use our product and you know, walked it through multifaceted, walked it through the industry party at happy hour time, threw it in there, some people wrote on it and then Dan got a little crazy. He tried to go over Waterfall and

Sean P. Holman (50m 20s):

Oh really?

13 (50m 20s):

Yeah. So security grabbed me and we had a little conversation and they escorted me out the back gate.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (50m 28s):

No they did not. Yeah,

13 (50m 29s):


12 (50m 29s):

I. And I have to throw in there that I was not at that trade show and, and yet I think the way that this came about is

Sean P. Holman (50m 35s):

Shenanigans still happened. Well yeah, well

12 (50m 37s):

I’ve, I always put out these videos of, you know, whenever the haters go on and they’re like, oh, you got a pool toy and it’s not rigid So, I’ll go and run the river. Dan was definitely like, okay, I’m gonna up the game. I was at Home Depot and walking around and I get a photo and they’re like, oh, look at this. And I thought it was a joke. Dan, get squirted out from Overland Expo. We don’t have a huge budget. This is like the first event that we did. And I’m like, oh great. I’m like, damage control boys. Like this is not a good thing. But it actually turned out to be quite nice. And the Overland Expo people, I saw them in Denver. They were, were laughing about it by then. So. it was good. Good All right. Ended up good So.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (51m 14s):

It wasn’t the Overland Expo people, it was the yellow jacket security that that

12 (51m 17s):

Yeah, yeah, yeah. The overland.

13 (51m 19s):

It was the over, it was expo people. Yeah. And this

12 (51m 21s):

Is your chance to apologize. Yes.

13 (51m 24s):

I, I apologize. He’s deeply sorry. I’m always the one that gets caught because Ryan jumped in. He was fine. He got to stay the night. Is

Sean P. Holman (51m 32s):

It because Ryan’s faster? I

13 (51m 33s):

Think So

Sean P. Holman (51m 33s):

I mean he’s pretty tall and lanky. I think. Like he just outruns everybody. He’s like, you only have to be faster than the slowest guy. Right, exactly.

13 (51m 39s):

And I’m the slowest guy.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (51m 40s):

What were you using for paddles? You didn’t have oars?

13 (51m 43s):

No, our friend Rory brought over a literal standup paddle and ice

Sean P. Holman (51m 47s):

Of, of course because Rory,

13 (51m 48s):

Rory, we know Rory. Of course. Course I was trying to pick up the speed So I could like launch over the waterfall and that’s when security

Sean P. Holman (51m 53s):

Grabbed Jay How dare you. How dare you. They had inflated paddles. Okay. Or Plated oars. Sorry. Yeah.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (51m 58s):

Didn didn’t even think about that. I guess you could make anything out of, we’re standing at an everything in this booth. But the truck

Sean P. Holman (52m 3s):

Isd, I feel like we went to some like far away land where everything just is made inflated. Okay. What’s the weirdest thing that you guys have made out of slated?

13 (52m 13s):

The weirdest thing.

Sean P. Holman (52m 14s):

Yeah. There’s gotta be something you guys were drinking, drinking one night at the shop.

13 (52m 17s):

A trade show.

Sean P. Holman (52m 18s):

Well that’s pretty weird. Yeah.

12 (52m 19s):

I mean I would, I would say the trade show booth, honestly still the topper, like the topper is still even, I, I feel like everyone knows about it around the world. But they don’t, no, at, at the trade show, people walk up and they’re like, wow, those chairs are inflatable. Wow, that’s no your booth. And then people stop and they go, wait, that truck topper is inflatable and I’ll climb up on it and stand up there and they just go, I have one guy, what was it? He said, you

Sean P. Holman (52m 42s):

Can’t do that. They’re not rigid.

12 (52m 44s):

That’s, you can’t do that. You can’t, impossible. Just be careful. What was it he, oh, he said, oh, just when you think you’ve seen everything. And the guy just stopped. He’s like, this is amazing. You know, see So I. I still think people are just flabbergasted when they realize that a rigid truck topper is inflatable and then you show ’em the bag. It fits in when it’s deflated and that you can throw it on the ground when you’d want to take it off. And. it, it’s just been awesome to see people,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (53m 9s):

For those people that ha are just tuning in for the first time and didn’t hear the last time we had you on Ken, explain how the structure of the, the, what’s the structure between the two thicknesses, the two walls? How does this thing stay rigid when it’s inflated? Sure.

12 (53m 22s):

I mean, I think a lot of people were, they’ll be more familiar if you say it’s based on the same material as an inflatable standup paddle board. So many people, especially during the pandemic, got inflatable paddle boards. And essentially what It is, is two layers of PVC material that are connected. I call it dental floss, but it’s not. It’s a, a nylon material that in the area, let’s say the, the size of my hand is connected by like a thousand threads just within that area. I mean, that’s just, you know, every what Dan like centimeter or so there’s a thread. So what happens is when you put air into it, And, it comes in different layers. There’s, you know, two inch, four inch, six inch or topper is four inch drop stitch.

12 (54m 3s):

Correct. When you put the air into it, those panels can expand, but they can only expand as an example with the four inch, four inches apart until those nylon threads engage and then it becomes rigid every ounce of air that you push into it, instead of allowing the material to go round if they weren’t connected, it actually just makes it more and more rigid.

Sean P. Holman (54m 25s):

So you can make those square shapes like this table, those chairs that topper rather than just having a big balloon sitting on the back of the truck. Yeah, exactly. Well

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (54m 33s):

All, all of us, like all four of our chubby fat asses are standing on and with the Colorado

Sean P. Holman (54m 37s):

Speak for yourself.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (54m 39s):

This, we’re all standing on this flooring. What PSI is this pumped up to?

12 (54m 43s):

You know, it’s funny is I I for ours, and this is one thing to clarify. so we have the same construction as those inflatable paddle boards. I, historically, I have run these boards over rocks. I I run rivers on ’em. I mean they’re crazy durable. So This is the same construction, the paddle boards you inflate to 15 to 18 PSI. Although ours could handle that easily. You only have to inflate ours between five and eight PSI. So I’m gonna guess so all

Sean P. Holman (55m 10s):

All of lighting’s hot air could easily inflate one of these.

12 (55m 12s):

Yeah, def definitely. And that’s the thing. People go, oh, when I, when I blow up my paddle board, boy I really got a pump for a long time. Will I say, well this is only a third of the amount of air for the rigidity. So I’m gonna speculate right now given the, the give to this, we’re probably at around five PSI here on the floor.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (55m 28s):

Okay. That’s because you’re not blowing something up into a circular form like a balloon or it has a stopping point. Well there’s a once you, once you reach that

Sean P. Holman (55m 37s):

Stopping sample over there on the tailgate where you can see exactly what it looks like, it’s a cutaway. Oh,

12 (55m 40s):

Okay. Have you not seen it for real?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (55m 42s):

No, I have, I wanted to reenact this for those who haven’t. We have new listeners signing on all the time and they may not have heard the last time you were on.

12 (55m 49s):

Well I, it’s, I like smell of vision or something. I know it’d be hard for the viewers to see it through a podcast, but the, the material, as you can see right there, there’s a bunch of threads connecting the panels top to bottom and then you inflate it. And I’ll actually deflate this one for you here in a moment. Inflated. They get to a certain point, then it all becomes rigid. Now I can take this This is the valve. I’ll open that up for you. You hear the air escape and then watch how as I push these panels, they now go together and then I can just roll it up.

Sean P. Holman (56m 23s):

That’s crazy

12 (56m 24s):

Story. Yeah. Pretty neat. And so Dan is, you know, I call him geniuses. I’m fortunate we we’re all partners here, Ryan, our CEO Dan, the genius designer, Monique, our CFO I mean we have such an amazing team. And to have Dan do this, I, I know I brag about him all the time. Like It is absolutely crazy what he achieves. If you go to our website, I’ll put our website up against anyone’s. It’s beautiful. It’s, it’s such, has such functionality. Dan does all that, the designs doing the booth. Dan did all that. The furniture by the way, the chairs, we, Dan, I say we, but I’ll say we, we did these because we thought, hey, we’re gonna have the whole booth be inflatable made.

12 (57m 4s):

These chairs, which are so unique, if people go on our Instagram, they’ll be able to see ’em. I mean they look like a piece of artwork. I had some guy walk up that was like, these are art. And then they’re like almost intimidated to sit on ’em. They sit down and they’re like, they’re comfortable. Oh, it’s like a rocking chair. And now this is gonna be an available product from us. So. Awesome. Yeah, we’re just constantly innovating and I’ll tell you what, wait till you see what we got coming next.

Sean P. Holman (57m 29s):

Well listen,

12 (57m 30s):

This is just the start.

Sean P. Holman (57m 31s):

We talked to you guys in March and here we are in November and I’m like, you’ve re redesigned the topper. You’ve got a inflatable booth, you’ve got all these new products in here. I can’t wait. It’s gonna be awesome.

12 (57m 42s):

Well, and I’m gonna turn it over to Dan on that ’cause I want him to tell to, to tell you about it. For me, one of the things, and we take heat online, right? One of my favorite comments that we get is when someone goes, oh, $2,000 for a topper, you can just buy a hard shelf for that. Well number one, if you want a hard shell, awesome. We’re topper guys. We love toppers, we camping ’em all the other topper companies, the the soft top company. We we are fans of everyone. Right? Like we’re not saying ours is the best, ours is different. Yep. It’s versatile and whatnot might

Sean P. Holman (58m 10s):

Be the best for you.

12 (58m 11s):

But when p Yeah, exactly. We’re

Sean P. Holman (58m 12s):

That guy over there.

12 (58m 13s):

But when people say, oh, I can buy a, a hardship. Well number one, they’re using our most expensive eight foot bed biggest topper as an example. The, the topper that Dan is about to describe to you. We’ve now got the price down to just over $1,100 shipped to your door. Sleeker model. I mean it’s just It is remarkable how we are like just continually innovating, getting costs down to the consumer. And you know, for me personally, I wanna see one of these toppers on everybody’s truck because they are versatile. And, and Dan can tell you more about how we made more changes to our new lineup.

13 (58m 48s):

Essentially what we wanted to do is we wanted to lower the price point, have more options for the customers. What I accomplished here is actually taking a single piece so there’s not as many chambers in there and doing an engineering bend in it. So it’s, it’s only two chambers versus the four chambers of our, our our other one does the original topper has five more inches of, of head clearance. So. it does give you more, you know, more camping area if you’re truck camping. So, but the new one, perfect price point, it’s sleek comes right off the cab. These things are very versatile. The, like we have the mid-size that fits like Colorado’s and Tacomas and, and then full sizes that fit Dodge Ford, Chevy.

The Truck Show Podcast live from the SEMA Show in Las Vegas presented by Nissan in association with Banks, Power and Hellwig suspension.