When a judge is looking at the exterior, they're going to be looking at several things. First and foremost, they're going to be looking at the cleanliness of your truck. So, if you haven't washed your truck in two weeks, but just pulled it into the show and used some quick detail on it, chances are, you're not going to be impressing anybody. Second, they're going to be looking at your paint. Is it single color? Does it have graphics or a mural? And again, how clean is it? Last on the exterior is something that may make or break your truck: the wheels. If they're polished, they should have been hand polished-most likely before you got to the show. If they're chrome, then you can probably get away with cleaning them at the show. With chrome wheels it's always important to clean the inside lip of the rims too. That is something that's always overlooked, but just that small detail will give the rim a deep shine and a cleaner look.

Body mods can be performed during those winter months. Of course, laying mud down in 30 degree weather isn't always fun, but think of how warm you'll get with that workout. When we talk about body mods, we're talking about two different kinds of body mods as far as most judges are concerned. There are major body mods, and there are minor body mods. A major body mod is a chop top, a body-drop, suicide doors or a convertible top. Minor body mods are roll pans, shaved handles or any other miscellaneous little shave jobs. Just because you have an arsenal of body mods doesn't mean you're going to sweep the competition either. Chances are, you're only going to get about 10 points maximum for it (as it is with the FFF judging sheet). It also depends on how clean you did the work. If your shaved handles look more like ghost handles, then you're probably not going to get points for them. If your roll pan looks like you were trying to get there by removing the parking blocks on the way in, it's doubtful you'll get points for that either.

The interior is something that is almost always overlooked. Have you ever walked around at a show and seen cigarette butts on the floor of a truck or coke stains in the center console? Chances are, that guy isn't taking home a trophy that day. In order to impress the judges, you're going to need some stereo equipment, maybe some TVs, a DVD player-having them installed professionally is a plus. If you've got the time, then spend some quality hours to get those craftsmanship points that a lot of people are not going to get with a house speaker behind the seat. Since we drive trucks, the bed is sometimes also considered interior, as is the case with the FFF sheet. So, putting in a carpet kit you made or adding a hot tub can be a plus. Yes, I said a hot tub. After all, I've been known to be a little old-school on occasion.

The engine bay is one area most guys would rather not even hear about. It can be easily overlooked. Not too many guys have the means to drop a small block Chevy into the engine bay, or spend a few thousand dollars on chroming. But after all, if you want to bring home the plastic, you're going to have to spend the green.
So what can be done to spruce up the engine? Well that could be a whole story in itself. For today's sake, we'll go over a few things we can do. Powdercoating is a good and effective way of bringing in some color. The tried-and-true method to impress the judges, of course, is to chrome the hell out of everything in sight. The slow, show season is a good time to pull the engine and take it apart for chroming. If you're rolling an old-school truck, that would also be the best time to fix those pesky leaks that have been staining your grandma's driveway when you go visit over the weekend. Cleanliness is the name of the game.

Last, but not least: the undercarriage. Most minitruckers are really into the undercarriage of not only their ride, but of the competition's too. How clean is the frame? Is it sub-framed or is it just notched? If it's clean, it's going to be a lot more impressive. And, it's not only going to help you score a trophy, it's going to help you get noticed as well. Powdercoating some parts is always a good idea. Spray-painting isn't going to hold up too long, but chances are, it will look pretty good for the first few shows. When you take the parts from the engine to the chrome shop, send your four-link bars along with it, and your control arms, as well. The judges will most likely be looking to see what kind of suspension you have and if the quality is good. So, when you have some time in the garage, it would be a good idea to move that air line that's always hitting your exhaust and leaking. Or, cover up those ugly gas lines that you thought would be a good idea to run next to your drive shaft. I know, 'cause we've all been there.

As you can see, it's not just about how clean your paint is, it's a package deal. You may not have time during the off-season to hit up every section, but hitting one or two of them is definitely going to get you that extra attention and points at a show. It also helps to make time to set up your truck so that it is properly displayed and clean while at the show. There was a time when minitruck shows were packed with vehicles with full displays. Nowadays you'll see one or two. Let's not forget, as minitruckers, we're not all about trophies. But, we do want to look good while making new friends, or stomping the competition. Let's not let the lowriders and the import guys take all of the trophies. After all, we're a proud bunch, so let's go out and prove it.