all the skateboard truck companies that bubbled up in the 1970s, the
three that are still going are Tracker, Independent and Gull Wing. Those
companies, their founders and the products get their own sections of
Below is an alphabetical list of some of the many
truck companies that flamed up in the 1970s, and then flamed out. There
were a lot, but we didn’t get them all. Aficionados will notice there
are no Blazer, Megatron, Pittsburgh, Randal, Santana, Track Force,
XL-700 trucks or Z-Roller, and there are probably a dozen other
companies left out – some of them legit for a time, some of them Mickey
Mouse: but we only photographed the trucks on the 70s-era boards
photographed by Lucia Griggi. · ·ACS
Skateboard Industry News for Dec/Jan 1977, an ad for ACS explained that
American Cycle Systems were “the country’s largest producer of aluminum
hubs for bicycles” and they had used their experience in
precision-machined casting to deliver 356 aluminum-magnesium alloy heat
treated to the T-6 condition.·
“Against all competition, ACS has became of the world’s largest
manufacturer of premium skate-board trucks.” A bold statement, that may
or may not have
been true, but ACS was (and still is?) a player in a market that would
become dominated – in the long run – by Tracker and Independent.
as in the 1960s, some of the companies jumping into the skateboard
market in the 1970s took the hot car route, instead of the surf route.
Apex Sports Products from La Mirada, California, made a line of Super
Sport mag wheels for skateboards: “The 100% pure urethane tire gives a
smoother, faster, quieter ride and more grip.”
thought their wheels were too hot for all other trucks, so they made
their own out of A356-T6 aluminum sand castings.
skateboards used basic trucks at first to connect their pultruded decks
with Cadillac Wheels. But as the market heated up, Bahne manufactured
their own custom-designed trucks at a foundry in Los Angeles.
Another mystery marque, that doesn’t show up in Skateboarder or Skateboard Industry News or anywhere else for that matter.
time in the 1970s, a truck innovator took the “Plastics, Benjamin”
thing too far and made skateboard trucks out of nylon. The D-Beam, by
all accounts, was not such a great idea. One contemporary skateboard
truck exec harrumphed: “Those trucks were ridiculous. Dogtown D-Beam. At
that point I lost all of the respect. Strike that. I never actually
respected the Dogtown guys, so.... the trucks didn't work and I felt
that if you are
going to put your name on something that didn't work,
at least have the guts to call them experimental or funky or something
other than a decent replacement for a conventional truck.· Besides that, they broke. I always wondered who in the world was responsible for the design and manufacturing of the D-Beam.”
Nathan Pratt wasn’t sure about the Dogtown connection: “I haven't ever
seen these before. If they have a ‘Dogtown’ brand on them you would need
to contact Jim Muir to find out their history. I seem to remember a
‘Dogtown roller’ brand that was some sort of rip off. It had nothing to
do with us.”
Balma, co-founder of Tracker and 70s skateboard truck aficionado said:
“They look like the second version of the Mattel truck.·
The first one had no post under the beam and when you stood on it they
compressed right down to the underside of the deck and the wheels could
not even roll.· Can you imagine someone designing and producing a skateboard truck that they never even stood on, not even rode?·
They installed the post to hold the axle away from the board after they
got our phone calls and the truck would then turn...It was a cheap
Like Bahne and
Makaha and other 1970s skateboard deck manufacturers, Dyno Skateboards
of Santa Ana, California found it more economical to manufacture their
own “Dyno Flier” trucks. Dyne made a line of Flexi boards from 24 to27”
and the complete boards came with Roller Sports Stoker wheels. GREN TEC
to their ad in Skateboard Industry News from February/March 1978, GT
was short for Grentec, and GT stood for Good Times!!!! GT may or may not
have stood for Great Trucks as well, but GT boards were another brand
of not-entirely-on-the-cool-bus that did well during the Urethane
What the @#%@%%? Hobie Skateboards were no longer affiliated with the Hiltons or Vita-Pakt·
in the 1970s but Hobie had a thriving team and business that lead to
experiments like the Sundancer. Possibly good for applying paint on
smooth road surface, but the double-wheel innovation didn’t catch on for
How hot? Lazer hot!
Another player making a serious play in the world of 70s skateboard
trucks, Lazers could be found under the decks of beginners and pros.
of the 1960s and into the 1970s, Makaha Skateboards were still haggling
with some elements of the skateboard industry over the patent rights to
the kicktail. As this ad claims, in 1973 Makaha patented the first
adjustable truck base. Makaha sold a lot of skateboards in the 1970s,
and they found it better to manufacture their own trucks then rely on
The Germans love
an engineering and machining challenge, and in the 1970s, the Nagema
company came up with their ideas of how a skateboard should be built.
Note that rubber stopper is on the nose of the board, not the tail. Or maybe that is the tail.
it was hard to make heads or tails of this board, it was necessary to
contact Konstantin Butz, a German chap who had spent time in California
in the spring of 2010, doing research on Skater Punk for his PhD.
We got a good response:
You found my
favorite board there. It really is odd! Funny, I just saw one of these
in a VANS store in Berlin this weekend. I saw it for the first time at
SKATELAB in Simi Valley...
The board is from the German GDR – the German Democratic Republic, aka East Germany.
NAGEMA is an acronym that stands for: Nahrungsmittel, Genussmittel, Maschinenbau.
That means: Food, Luxury Food, Mechanical Engineering.
Now, line by line:
VEB Schokoladen-Verarbeitungsmachinen Werningerode:
is short for "Volkseigener Betrieb" meaning something like "People's
Enterprise" because, apparently, companies were "owned" by the people in
means "chocolate manufacturing machines" and Werningerode is the town.
So I guess there was a factory that built machines for chocolate
production while throwing in a couple of skateboards in between.
Hilarious! Socialism rules!
Let's go on:
"BEACHTE" means "beware!" or "attention!"
"Befahren öffentlicher Verkehrsflächen verboten" = "Do not use in public traffic."
"Üben nur auf ebenem Gelände" = "Only practice on flat ground."
"Unebenheiten und Rollsplitt meiden" = "Avoid surface irregularities and loose gravel."
"Kopf. Hände. Ellenbogen und Knie schützen" = "Protect head, hands, elbows and knees."
"Festen sitz von Rädern und Muttern prüfen" = "Check wheels and screws."
"Abspringen nur nach vorne" = "Only jump off to the front." (I love that one!)
"Fallen und Abrollen üben" = "Practice falling and rolling."
it. They give you all these ridiculous instructions, making this poor
thing the "uncoolest" skateboard ever and then they put this "brake" to
the front, which will just kill you...
Great! I really love this
board. Wish I would own one. I really think it’s a perfect example for
how it must have been like to be a teenager in the GDR. Rules, rules,
A stalwart board-maker in
the 1960s, Nash was still very much in the game when skateboarding fired
back up in the 1970s. They experimented with plastics and other
materials, and also fired their own trucks, down there in Texas.
Class was a company out of Orange, California who rode their equipment
hard. In May of 1978, the Pro Class team went to Lion Country Safari in
Irvine and rode “a standard Pro Class production line board for 24 hours
non-stop, with absolutely no mechanical problems, top that.” We can
only assume that board was equipped with Pro Class trucks, similar to
this board from the collection of Terry Campion.
fine German engineering from the Rollbreit people. It took six screws
to hold these babies in place, as opposed to four for most skateboard
trucks beyond the Continent.
sure about these trucks, at first. There was a skateboard company in
the 1970s called Valtee who proudly considered themselves the “Brand X”
of skateboarding, and thought this might be them. But few people on
earth know 70s skateboard trucks better than Larry Balma who confirmed:
“The first X-Calibers in 1974 were a Sure Grip roller skate truck knock
off with an X on the top of the hanger.· Much later they made skateboard trucks with their name on top of the hanger.”