This time of year about 70 percent of the country is experiencing winter weather, forcing most activities to be held indoors. That means most custom truck enthusiasts are in their garage or shop exercising the creative side of their brain, the right side. They are either reworking an existing ride, or etching a new vision in their mind for the upcoming show season.

So what different and innovative trends can we anticipate for the upcoming show season? I believe we'll witness a carry-over from the last couple of years with early model "farm rods" increasing in popularity. "Farm Rods"are early model trucks with mild custom treatments, and more pro-touring, with larger wheels, and brakes. We have also noticed early model trucks rolling and laying out with airbags tuckin' 20's-plus. The interiors have become more pretentious with updated interior materials and dcor design of headliner, door panels, and center consoles. Dash design and instrumentation display has become more current. The audio sound systems are becoming more predominant with more power, visual accessories, DVD and even NAV. Under the hood there's an escalating trend of "Crate Engines," either small-block or big-block with a mix of normally aspiration, electronic fuel injection, supercharged or turbocharged. It seems the price of fuel hasn't intimidated the custom truck enthusiast in terms of what is dropped between the frame rails.

This last show season a lot of the folks I talked to were beginning to build "show-drivers" with the confidence to display them on the weekends and drive them during the week. It's more enjoyable to build them to show and drive. Sure, we'll always have our incredible high-dollar trailer queens to drool over. It's amazing to invest all that time, effort and money-only to roll it in and out of a trailer, park it under a shady tree and hope you receive a trophy.

It's encouraging to see younger blood enjoying the early model custom-truck scene. With their youth comes new ideas and innovation, which is great for the hobby. A young guy or gal can't go wrong with the initial cost of an early model compared to a new truck or SUV off the showroom floor. Half the fun of an early model truck is finding it. Sure, now people are more aware of what they have thanks to Barrett-Jackson Auctions $$$$. But you can still find a sound early model for a decent price-from a couple hundred bucks to a couple thousand. These auction prices are a fraction of what a new truck or SUV would cost, not even counting if you have to finance it through a money lender. Today there's a healthy aftermarket industry specializing in early model truck parts-not like years ago, when we had to search through salvage yards for those hard-to-find pieces and parts. Then, after you discovered your treasure, you had to disassemble it from a vulture-ized car carcass. Now, with aftermarket parts via mail order, it's as easy as making a phone call to get what you need delivered to your door by tomorrow.

So, whatever you're whittling on in your shop, garage, basement or kitchen table, we can't wait to see it at a show in '07. Good luck