When it comes to customs, one thing that we as Americans can be proud of is having paved the way for the rest of the world in the custom automotive industry.

Whether it be lowriders, hot-rodders, or minitruckers, they all got their start right here in the good ol' U.S. of A. In fact, most of these hobbies are enjoyed all around the world now, but they can all be attributed to us crazy American rebels cutting up stuff from day one.

This year, we as a collective group of American minitruckers have something very special to celebrate! We just got word that Steve Wilk and his custom 1996 S-10, which graces this month's cover, will be making the trip overseas to show at one of the biggest hot-rod shows in the world. The Mooneyes Yokohama Hot Rod and Custom show that takes place on December 5 of this year personally invited Steve and his custom minitruck to be the first American minitruck on display in Japan. We can all be very proud of this accomplishment as we're not only bridging the gap between countries, but we're also breaking into the hot-rod world thanks to builders who are building their trucks with class and early American custom inspiration.

If you check out Steve's story on his S-10, which has been dubbed "Green Inspiration," you'll see that his motivation behind this build was to pay tribute to the innovators of early customs like Larry Watson and Gene Winfield. These are the guys who paved the way for the custom world that we all know and love today. These guys stepped out of the early comfort zones and went above and beyond to master flow and design well before there were even proper terms for such things. The art of building customs is no walk in the park, and getting appreciated as a custom community is a huge step in the right direction for us minitruckers to be proud of. Many "traditionalists" say airbags or adjustable suspensions don't belong on a true custom, but innovators and even factory cars were equipped with air suspension from the late '40s on. But, it took a minitrucker to adapt these early systems and really master the air suspensions' use before we started seeing them in other custom genres!

So does this trip to Japan with American minitruck steel mean we will all be able to show our trucks at hot-rod shows near and far? Probably not anytime soon, but it does mean that people are taking notice and if we continue to perfect the quality and style of builds other custom communities are after, we might just see a crossover that hasn't happened in full force since the vannin' and truckin' days. We're excited for this opportunity, and we know Steve and his S-10 will represent us to the fullest. Congrats buddy, we'll see you there!

Editor's Note: Shortly after this photo shoot, Larry Watson, the inspiration for this cover truck, passed away. A very sad day for the custom world, but his memory will live on through the likes of Steve and other custom-car builders who respect the traditions and push to keep '60s-inspired customs alive.