WEST MIDDLESEX, Penn. - For the "big idea" trucker who lacks the time, the tools or the technical prowess to create their own designs, Jones Performance Products has come up with a solution. The Penns...
WEST MIDDLESEX, Penn. – For the “big idea” trucker who lacks the time, the tools or the technical prowess to create their own designs, Jones Performance Products has come up with a solution. The Pennsylvania-based company, which specializes in fibreglass replacement hoods for transport trucks, recently released a line of products where the customer is able act as designer.
“TrukRodz is for the people who have good ideas but don’t really have the wherewithal to take it to market. We’re hoping that they will share those ideas with us and we’ll take it to market,” says David Jones, president of Jones Performance.
The concept of a do-it-yourself design has been many years in the making for Jones Performance. The company was started in 1978 by Jones and his father Hap, a former race car driver who worked building fibreglass components and bodies for race cars for 25 years.
Shortly after Jones Performance’s creation, the father/son team made the move into trucking, taking a job fashioning truck components for a local company.
Jones Performance had soon developed a broad line of hoods, with a dozen different designs under its belt in the first three years. Eventually the company dropped all other products to focus on its expanding line of truck hoods.
And now, 25 years and 100,000 truck hoods later, Jones Performance has entered a new phase in its history with the TrukRodz product line, which allows customers to assist in the creation of their hood. For the same price as an OEM hood, drivers can see their own creations come to life with the help of Jones Performance staff.
“It’s extremely exhilarating to be able to take something like that where someone has an idea but can’t unlock it; we’re here to unlock it,” Jones says.
In addition to having a hood crafted and personalized to meet the driver’s specifications, Jones Performance also names the finished product after the customer who came up with the design (ie. “I want a Ledlow hood for my old Pete”).
Jones says that truck owners have always been after unique hood designs, but conventionally the only way to customize a hood was to cut into its structural integrity – an impossibility with fibreglass hoods which cannot be cut and require a continuous moulding. So with a TrukRodz hood, the design is truly created from the ground up.
“We design, model, and mould them in-house, using the latest CMM equipment as well as the latest CAD systems,” Jones says. “If you have ideas about the design of your hood, we can make them reality. Our goal is to build your hood your way, to the highest level of quality.”
So just how good is a Jones Performance hood? Good enough to impress the folks at the Country Music Television series Trick My Truck as Jones has been the exclusive provider of custom truck hoods since the show first aired.
Bryan Martin, known affectionately as “The Don” on Trick My Truck, is the owner of Chrome Shop Mafia, the company in charge of completing each truck makeover on the show, and has also been friends with Jones for more than 15 years.
Long before Trick My Truck was ever created, Jones and Martin had agreed to help each other out when it came to promoting custom trucks.
In the end, it was Jones’ encouragement which prompted Martin to agree to work on the popular show, as he was initially hesitant to take part because of time constraints.
“The fact of the matter is the trucking industry was long overdue for some good publicity,” Jones said. “We knew that going in and that was our hope: to raise the perception of today’s drivers. They’re professionals and a lot of times they don’t get the respect that they deserve. And I think that Trick My Truck has brought to light a lot more about what these guys do and for that I think that most of the drivers on the road are thankful.”
Although Jones’ hoods are stylish enough to be featured on TV, the company also strives to integrate functionality into its customers’ designs.
“We’re acutely aware of the need for greater efficiency in the trucking industry,” Jones says. “We always look for ways to improve air flow over, around and through the hood to maximize fuel economy.”
To do this, Jones’s designers have used their years of experience, the latest computerized design technology, and forward-thinking creativity to create a product which both smoothes out the lines and minimizes the frontal area to improve the aerodynamics. They also incorporate functional ducts in the sides of the hoods that create a vacuum to pull the air through the engine compartment, helping to keep the engine cooler.
“We adapted ducts originally designed by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics,” Jones said.
“They worked very well when the truck was at speed, but we found that the air flow reversed when the truck was idling. So we put in one-way valves to stop that from happening.”
Jones says the patented product can help reduce underhood temperatures by as much as 30 F.
Though Jones has thought about branching the company’s business beyond truck hoods, he likes the idea of offering a specialized service for the industry.
“If we start spreading out, the next thing you know, you’re doing a lot of things and you’re not very good at any of them. We focus on the truck hood. It’s a passion. It’s something that I feel very fortunate to be doing.”