In 1956, Basil Smith, also known as "Smitty", started a small machine shop in his garage, called Rock-ett Products. Being one of the original four wheel drive enthusiasts, his chief concern was to develop four wheel drive equipment for trucks and small SUVs (Jeeps). Over the years, Smitty's son Tom worked at Rock-ett and then with the newly named "Smittybilt". Having been exposed to the four wheel drive lifestyle all his life, Tom was able to create new and innovative product ideas geared towards the growing off-road aftermarket industry.
As the business grew, Tom created more and more exciting new products including the original "Nerf Bar" side step and tubular front and rear bumpers for Jeeps.