When deciding to dedicate a special issue to the state of Texas, we knew we'd want to get in touch with a couple premium shops to fully demonstrate the customizing capabilities of the Lone Star State. Not only famous for big-name rappers, the state that brought us Texas Heat Wave and some of the biggest truck shows on the planet has really blown up over the last decade. For quite a few years, high-end builders, shops, and custom enthusiasts have made Texas a state to be reckoned with in the custom world, and as they say, "Don't mess with Texas!" Here's a few reasons why.

As home to not only some of the baddest rides ever built, Texas also has become a haven for some of the most talented customizers around. We wanted to give you an insider's look at a few of the shops that have made the state the custom force it is today. So, checkout what they've been doing over at Ekstensive Metalworks, Hill's Hot Rods, and Kustom Werx. For more information, contact the companies listed below.

Ekstensive Metalworks
Back in 1994, Bill Carlton, a second-generation welder and fabricator, decided it was time to fill a void in the air-suspension market. He founded Ekstensive Metalworks with one goal in mind: to provide customers with the finest air-suspension systems around. Now almost 14 years later, Ekstensive consistently builds some of the country's most innovative rides, with countless features and cover trucks under its wing. With rides seen all over the country, Ekstensive is now one of the staples in Texas customization.

Owner: Bill Carlton

Staff:
Eric Rankins: Head Fabricator/Welder
Elude Reyes: Welder/Abrasive Technician
Derek Kruse: Fabricator/Welder
Kenneth Durham: Inside Sales/Trailer Sales
Valerie Riojas: Inside Sales
Rudy Mora: Welder
Jesse Humbird: Welder
Buddy: Shop Dog/Top Flight Security

Specialty: Air Suspension

Phone: (281) 442-1050

Website: www.ekstensive.com

First cover truck built: The first cover vehicle was a blue GMC Safari that was on the Mini Truckin' Aug. '97 cover.

First minitruck: Unibodied Extended Cab S-10 that was 'bagged on 17s. Bill built a third door into the Extra Cab.

Hill's Hot Rods
Jason "The One-Eyed Painter" Hill has made a name for himself by building some of the cleanest rides around. Everything that comes out of Hill's Hot Rods is the epitome of clean and classy. Going on more than 12 years in the game, Jason and his crew continue to push the boundaries of customization with each and every ride. Appearing on covers from every genre of custom, Hill's Hot Rods knows what it takes to build any vehicle from the ground up. You name it: suspension, body mods, paint, restoration-they do it all. Be on the lookout for the Hill's crew at a show near you.

Owner: Jason Hill

Staff:
Colby Elliott
Mark Spencer
James Smart
Everyone does everything from suspension to fabrication, bodywork, mechanics, and restoration.

Specialty: Custom one-off builds from the ground up, finish experts

First feature: '98 Regular Cab Chevy, shot by Courtney "Tito" Hallowell in 1998

First minitruck: Mark Lindsey's Toyota Tacoma (the FnTaco) ran in Mini Truckin' in the Nov. '04 issue

Phone: (281) 442-1050

Website: www.hillshotrods.com, or www.myspace.com/hillshotrods

Kustom Werx
The state of Texas is so big, it's easy to see why there's so much talent. Kustom Werx Paint and Body does both collision and custom work. Owner Cory Scott and his crew have built numerous feature vehicles and continue to turn out some of the baddest trucks around. Specializing in paint and body, Kustom Werx is one of the finest paint crews in the Southern Texas area.

Owner: Cory Scott

Staff:
Brandon Lowe: Shop Manager and Bodyman
Corey Bonin: Bodyman
James Sexton: Painter
James Sheridan: Painter's helper
Mike Hurley aka Wheelchair Mike: Phone bitch
Sandy Coy: Bookkeeper

Specialty: Custom Paint and Bodywork

Phone: (281) 364-0087

Website: www.myspace.com/kustomwerx

First cover truck built: '00 Chevy fullsizeExtended Cab

First minitruck built: '93 Nissan Hardbody