Pump It Up!

May 26, 2005
Filed under Destinations

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No doubt about it, our nation is obsessed with physical fitness. There’s a health club on
just about every city corner, TV infomercials for various muscle-building contraptions now
run 24 hours a day and everyone has at least one friend, relative or other acquaintance who
regularly employs the services of a personal trainer. Similarly, truck and SUV
manufacturers are obsessed with making their products more muscular every year. Engine
power, payloads and tow ratings seem to jump dramatically with each new-model rollout.
Sport-utes and crossover vehicles targeted at more active, outdoors-oriented lifestyles are
being introduced regularly. An ever-widening selection of hitches, wiring upgrades and
braking systems makes it easy for today’s trucks to do the kind of heavy lifting that would
have many older models heading for the showers. However, it’s not just the hardware that’s
bulking up. A truck has to look athletic as well, which is why automakers now lavish as
much attention on the styling of a new model as any new Porsche or Corvette. Every
manufacturer is intent on making its products look bigger and more buff than those of its
competitors. Compact trucks are gradually being stretched and widened to the point where
most of them are now mid-size; mid-size SUVs are morphing into full-size models, and the
full-size trucks are sporting larger grilles, higher stances, larger standard wheel sizes
and bigger “power bulges” in the hood. In short, much of the iron coming out of Detroit
looks as though it has been pumping some iron of its own! The good news is that you don’t
have to trade in your current vehicle in order to have a “ripped” ride. There is no
shortage of aftermarket products that are capable of transforming your sandy-faced 90-pound
weakling into Charles Atlas — and you won’t have to spend years at the gym to do it! For
this special feature, we’ve assembled a small collection of performance and appearance
accessories that will be of particular interest to the trailerist. Bear in mind that these
products represent just a smattering of their respective manufacturers’ capabilities — if
you don’t see exactly what you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to ask the manufacturer for
it.

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