October '17

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64 THE SHOP OCTOBER 2017 RESTYLING/AFTERMARKET ACCESSORIES T hese days, since pickups are not just for commercial customers anymore but instead are everyday vehicles for families as well, the demand for bed prod- ucts is higher than ever. Just as the trucks themselves have gotten better over time, bed cover products are better now than they've ever been, offering customers a wide range of options to cus- tomize for their needs. So, which truck cap and tonneau cover products are hot, and which products have cooled down? ADVANCEMENTS OVER TIME Twenty-five years ago, you could buy a vinyl tonneau cover that snapped to the truck itself. Installers would actually drill the back half of the snaps into the truck bed or rails… ouch! I know, no one would dream of doing that today, but that was the product back then. Next came the great idea to put a frame bolted—or, better yet, clamped—to the bed and then the vinyl cover could be snapped to it. These were good and we sold a bunch of them over the years. But they weren't perfect. Trying to snap that vinyl on winter days when it wouldn't stretch was a pain. A customer dared not unsnap it if it was cold or snowing. There were other vinyl options that were also good, but the next large leap forward was the vinyl trifold. Besides it being an easier install, now the customer could take it off quickly and reinstall it later, or just fold it up to haul something above the bed. The snaps never had to be undone, and it offered a measure of protection from the elements. Customers still wanted something a little better to keep their cargo not only dry but safe, since the vinyl cover was no match for a thief with a sharp blade. So, along came ABS hard plastic tonneau covers. These were available in either a fold-up option or as full-size, one-piece models. AT THE TOP Tonneaus & truck caps have improved along with the trucks that need them. By Josh Poulson 64 THE SHOP OCTOBER 2017 As long as pick- ups continue to be the vehicle of choice for many families and professionals, the truck cap and ton- neau cover market will stay strong. Today's truck caps and tonneau covers have advanced along with the trucks that need them.

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