Pickup Truck 'Bed Dancing' Was The Weirdest Car Trend In The '80s and '90s

image: stac2333/YouTube (screengrabs)

One of the strangest trends in current automobile-dom is “coal rolling,” a practice in which someone modifies their diesel pickup to spew soot onto pedestrians. But as baffling as that whole thing is is, it’s nowhere near as strange as what we were into back in the 1980s and 1990s: “bed dancing.”


I learned about this trend for the first time a few days ago, likely because “bed dancing” involves small pickups, which have been dead in the U.S. for what seems like forever. But before big-ass pickups ruled the land, mini trucks used to strut their stuff at bed dancing competitions around the country (OK, mostly out in California), and my god was it wild. Just look at this madness in Sacramento:

What’s crazy to me is is the attendance. The whole damn town came out! The one below seems to be equally as #lit, and it’s held a high school!:

But none of these even come close to Mini Truck’s Car Show (also held in California). Just look at how absurd things got between 1987 and 1989:

And then there’s an L.A.-based club apparently called the “Mini Sensations Snugs,” which started in 1985 and had a reunion in 2013. Here’s are some of the club’s “greatest hits,” complete with old-school rap songs:

As far as the wildest single truck dance I found while browsing the “Weird Ass Car Stuff” back-alleys of YouTube, I think this 2007 dance in Wilson, North Carolina has to be the winner. Just look at the morphing bed cover!

Frankly, this whole thing is nuts. The fact that there were competitions, clubs, and even demonstrations at high-school car shows involving hydraulically-actuated pickup beds is just beyond me. And then the attendance! It makes me wonder where this amazing bit of car culture gone.


As automakers start to bring back mid-size trucks, will owners remember the bed dances of yore, and bring back the trend? Gosh I hope so.

Sr. Technical Editor, Jalopnik. Always interested in hearing from auto engineers—email me. Cars: Willys CJ-2A ('48), Jeep J10 ('85), Jeep Cherokee ('79, '91, '92, '00), Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd ('94).

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“Itmakes me wonder where this amazing bit of car culture gone.”

As an old school mini trucker, I blame millennials (sorry).

It used to be people had passion, dedication, identity, culture. Did I mention passion yet?

Today’s youth are too lazy to look this stuff up on YouTube on their smartphones, much less build anything. And how many millennials do you know that know anything about welding?

This IS how things get lost to the sands of time. If there was passion today, it would have evolved rather than died. RIP Minitruckin’.