10 Questions for Sean P. Holman
By Douglas McColloch
The reporter who broke the news of the Ford SVT program that produced the F-150 Raptor, Sean P. Holman has relentlessly covered the pickup truck and SUV beat. His work has been featured in the pages of Truckin’, Four Wheeler, Diesel Power, Recoil and numerous other publications, and he’s currently the Truck Trend Network’s content director at Motor Trend. He’s also the co-host of the long-running, highly rated “The Truck Show” podcast.
We caught up with Holman for a few minutes to get his latest takes on the industry and where he thinks it might be headed. What follows is edited for clarity and length.
SEMA News: What’s your latest project? What’s in your garage these days?
Sean P. Holman: Where do I start? I recently inherited the first 4x4 I ever drove, a 1942 Ford GPW and I am in the middle of getting it back on the road and hopefully on the trail later this year. My oldest is about to turn 15 and we will be starting her 1960 VW bug rebuild soon, and I am in the planning stages of turning my ’67 Ford F-100 into an EV conversion.
SN: What was the car you dreamed of owning when you were young, and did you ever end up owning one?
SPH: I always wanted a ’66 Ford Mustang GT with a hi-po 289. Why the ’66? I liked the three-prong scallop trim. I’m sure the boat has sailed on owning that one.
SN: What was your initial introduction to the industry, and how did it come about?
SPH: As a kid, I had 13 monthly car magazine subscriptions and consumed every bit of knowledge I possibly could. I eventually started freelancing for a friend and turned it into a full-time gig at Motor Trend Group that is coming up on 20 years.
SN: Describe your very first SEMA Show. What do you remember most about it?
SPH: I remember being completely overwhelmed at the sheer size. SEMA was a mythical place only “insiders” got to go and the moment I walked through the doors I was pretty sure it was my first whiff of what heaven must be like.
SN: What you first started The Truck Show podcast, the conventional wisdom was that podcasts were old news. What happened? How did podcasts become cool again?
SPH: The original idea was to have a new revenue stream that could counter the decline of print. The company already had a podcast that had been recently cancelled, and it had no appetite for another, but after several business-case proposals, the company told me I had one year to make money off it. It took two months. At the same time, podcasting was getting hot, a lot of it having to do with Apple’s podcast app and how much easier it was to discover shows that represented topics you were looking for. We now have over 1.2 million downloads and are consistently in the top 25 of all automotive podcasts.
SN: What excites you the most about the aftermarket right now?
SPH: I am not an EV homer by any means, but every day things are happening in that space that are incredibly intriguing. I’m looking forward to seeing the continued innovation in that part of the market and watching companies adapt their products and strategies to cater to what will inevitably become a bigger part of the hobby we all love so much.
SN: What’s the craziest assignment you’ve ever been given?
SPH: That’s a loaded question, but among other things, I‘ve ‘wheeled on four continents, off-roaded my way across the county, raced in the Baja 1000, driven in the Sahara sand dunes, provided feedback to shape vehicle programs, and walked underneath the USS Tennessee, a nuclear-powered Ohio Class ballistic missile submarine, all because of the job. All of them fun, all of them unique in their own way.
SN: What are you driving these days, and why?
SPH: My daily driver is our 2021 Four Wheeler Pickup Truck of the Year-winning Ram TRX. It’s the most amazing vehicle I have ever driven and the best truck on the market. It has enough capability to do truck things like towing and hauling, it’s comfortable enough for a 12-hour road trip with the family, and with a sub-4-second 0-60 time, it can embarrass about 95 percent of vehicles on the road.
SN: What has surprised you most about the industry since you began covering it?
SPH: I’m a little shocked at the current rate of consolidation. I’ve seen a lot of good businesses sell and longtime friends step away from companies they’ve started. However, from what I have seen so far, the vast majority of companies doing the acquisitions right now are proving to be good stewards of the brands they have taken on, and I guess that’s what matters.
SN: What’s on your personal bucket list?
SPH: I still have three continents left to go ‘wheeling on, and if you can believe it, I have never done the entire length of Route 66, which I am hoping to complete in the near future.