As the automotive industry and associated companies continue to fight for their foothold in this rough economic climate, we're all left with nothing but time to focus on what really matters.

We all love customizing anything with wheels, and with this should come a common bond that was previously shackled by individual labels and stereotypes. I would love to see us move away from these stereotypes and press forward knowing that we all enjoy the same things.

We're ALL car guys no matter the label we've given each other! With shows, companies, magazines, and the entire custom world becoming smaller, it's time to support one another. We just don't have the room to be outcasts and say that one type of customizer is superior to another. We should get out there and take part in the local hot-rod show or cruise night, even if they say it's "pre '73" we should support them and they will see that we mean well. The more we do this all over the country, the more other custom genres will grow to accept the minitruck culture and vehicles in their shows. If we are the first to treat ALL custom car guys as equals, whether it's an import show, lowrider, hot-rod, or dub-style show, we will gain momentum and eventually be allowed to compete and enjoy ALL shows. We all share a love for the custom automobile, so we need to learn to appreciate the work that goes into each and every one of them!

I believe that breaking down this barrier can be the saving grace for the custom automotive scene. We love attending shows like SEMA, as many different types of customs are on display. But there are still many major shows nationwide that outcast certain types of customs. While genre-specific shows are good for those enthusiasts, we tend to close the doors on those who don't share our same taste or style of custom. Not only do we lose out on their support, but we also miss out on getting to know some other really cool car guys.

I recently spent a weekend at the Grand National Roadster show, and it really inspired me. Not just because there were so many amazing rides on display, but also because of the very well organized and theme-associated setups. There are halls with different themes, for example the "Suede Palace" where all the primered rides are parked. There was a cover-car history hall where previous cover cars from Street Rodder, Hot Rod, and more were all gathered. Then there was the club hall where clubs gathered and set up together to show their support. But what really blew me away was seeing the well-known Lifestyle lowrider club parked right next to Relaxed Atmosphere and some cool minitrucks (including our past cover truck owned by Tom McWeeny). Even though this has happened for the last couple of years, it really opened my eyes to the fact that it's possible for ALL CAR GUYS to hang out and enjoy a show together! It was truly an inspiration and amazing to see such a great mix of customs all displayed together. After all, most of us enjoy many different forms of customs, so if we work hard I feel that minitruckers and other custom genres can blend together and do a ton of good for the entire custom automotive scene.

So there's some food for thought. Get out there and spread the love of cars, and be part of the solution not the problem! -Please drag thru, L888888888888