New blog location

We have moved this blog to the Custom Rigs magazine web site: http://www.customrigsmag.com

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Spending shop time in Colorado

mapIn a couple hours I’ll be watching the young custom wizards at Outlaw Customs (Colorado), Allan and Alex Gobel,  as they show me some ways truck owners can save money customizing their rigs by fabricating trick items in the “backyard.” It’s going to be fun.  On today’s agenda are making custom fuel tank straps and fuel tank fairings on the cheap.

What’s cool about this opportunity is we all like to have custom parts on our custom big rigs, but can’t always afford to buy them from the chrome/custom shops. I hope little articles and how-to’s like these help you add some personal touches to your custom rig without heavily damaging the wallet.

I’ll snap some photos and shoot a little video so the information can be added to our growing number of how-to articles and videos now available on our “new” web site. If all goes well these should be online by the end of next week after my return to our offices in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Speaking of the new web site, what do you think? Are we on the right track? What else do we need to have on our web pages? What types of information/articles do you want to see? Let me know.

Well, got to punch in at Outlaw Customs….lots of work to be done over the next couple days before I head up the road to Colorado Custom Chrome where I’ll get more good stuff!

Cheers all.

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Keeping in touch

Wisconsin’s Custom Rigs

I love being on the road doing stories and videos for Custom Rigs. Earlier this week I was hanging around T/A Truck Painting & Graphics in Pewaukie, Wisconsin, doing just that.  Editors learn a lot from such outings. At least I do.

Jeff Zimmermann and his business partner, John  Schwartz, couldn’t have been more hospitable. Here they are, bays filled with rigs getting body repairs made and others custom paint/graphics, and they still set aside one bay so Jeff Battler (12ga Custom’s owner) could do a couple custom upgrades on Vinnie Diorio’s Rollin’ truck while I  shot pictures and video to put in the next issue of the magazine and post on our new web site.

12ga Customs owner Jeff Battler readys a new air bag as he upgrades Vinnie Diorio's "Picture Me Rollin'" truck at T/A Painting & Graphics in Pewaukie.

12ga Customs owner Jeff Battler readys a new air bag as he upgrades Vinnie Diorio's "Picture Me Rollin'" truck at T/A Painting & Graphics in Pewaukie.

During the three days Battler and I worked on getting a new model slam air kit on Vinnie’s truck (and a new style twin-stick shifter kit) customers came in to see how their rigs were coming along.

During conversations I learned Wisconsin is a real hot bed of  custom rigs. (And here I thought cheese heads only thought about football.)And I also learned at least a few of the custom truck guys own custom street rods and classics.

Which got me thinking: Maybe we should have a section on the web site where you guys can send us a snapshot of your truck–and your classic or street rod! That’d be sweet.

BWS09WisconsinCR_0207 web

This beautiful '72 Pete Daycab has been 11 years in the making. The paint had barely dried when I saw it earlier this week.

Zimmermann also arranged to have a friend/customer of his bring a ’72 Pete daycab over for me to see. This rig is flat-out stellar. Never been in a show. In fact it’s been 11 years in the restoration and customizing process and was finished just weeks before I showed up. Our Custom Rigs’ web video you’ll see in a few days tells the whole story.

I also spent time with Homer Schultz III and shot his show-winning wrecker, which is used every day in their towing service. Homer says it’s not unusual for him to have a rig on the hook for a 1,000-mile tow.

Anyway, that’s where I’ve been hiding all this week. And next week I’ll be in the Denver area at Outlaw Customs, Colorado Custom Chrome, and a couple other shops doing more of the same.

Maybe I’ll see you along the way…..

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Picture this in the magazine

Aim high, shoot bigBarney Too

Larger images better your chance of getting in the magazine pages

We get a number of truck owners submitting their rig’s photos into our Reader Gallery every week. At the end of each month we look at each entry so we can choose a few to show in the pages of our parent magazine,  Overdrive,  and Custom Rigs.

Now, here’s a little secret to making the first cut on the road to fame and glory: Picture quality.

Just about any photo looks fine when it’s put on the web. But, unfortunately, when a picture is shown in a magazine it has to be of a minimum size and “quality” to be reproduced on the printed page.

Most of our cell phone  cameras are designed just for capturing web images. So when readers submit a cool photo of their truck taken with a cell phone, it’d be about the size of a postage stamp (literally) when converted for magazine use.

Most of the digital cameras are also set from the factory for making perfect web-size images. Many also have a way to select a higher quality image, which allows the camera to save a whole lot more information and, thus, allow the picture to be enlarged to a much greater degree and stay sharp.

If your digital camera has a picture-quality setting, move it to the highest available. That’s the setting you want anytime you are going to submit photos to a magazine, newspaper, or just to make enlargements for your own use.

Making just that one little change in your camera makes a huge difference in overall picture quality in a magazine or printed out at a Wal-Mart kiosk.

The image file size needed for magazine reproduction is going to be about four times bigger than a web-sized one because of a thing called pixels-per-inch, or PPI. (Read the hyperlinked article for an explanation.) Web images are typically 72ppi while print images are 300ppi.

But the upside is when you submit the bigger image to our Reader Gallery  it’s going to  immediately catch the eyes of those on the other end  who pick and choose which rigs make the first cut to get into the pages of Overdrive and Custom Rigs.

So get out there and start shooting big. I want to see your rigs–and I really want to see them in the magazine!

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Sound off

Widlwood 75 Chrome09_569Let’s Crank Up The Volume

When I was at the Great West Truck Show in Las Vegas and 75 Chrome Shop’s event in Wildwood, Florida, I’ve noticed custom rig owners are paying more and more attention to high-end sound systems and their installation. The big rigs are starting to rival some of the cars and SUVs one sees on the street scene.  I think that’s way cool.

The appreciation of music and kick-ass sound systems are the biggest common denominators among customizers of big rigs and four wheelers in general.

Maybe someday Overdrive’s Pride & Polish events will have a “sound off” competition where the biggest and baddest can strut their stuff for cash and prizes. I think both truckers and the general public would love it.

A sound-off competition would  put the audio industry on notice their products are appreciated by those who spend nearly every working hour in a cab, and maybe, just maybe result in some sound systems designed specifically for big-rigs.

What are your thoughts about having sound-off comeitions as part of Pride & Polish events?

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Truckers helping our troops

One runs across a lot of interesting things at trucking trade shows. For example, during the Great West Truck Show last week I ran into country singer/musician Leland Martin. He’s just released a new CD called Truckers For Troops and is donating a good portion of the sales proceeds to sending care packages to our soldiers fighting overseas.

So if you like good country music and want to support our soldiers at the same time, head to his web site and order a copy or two: www.lelandmartin.com. (They’d make great Christmas gifts!)

Here’s the pitch in Leland’s own words while he was at GWTS:

http://crm.randallreillycms.com/leland-martin-cd-supports-our-troops/

Cheers!

Bruce

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A sad heart: Bobby Lindamood Sr

Bobby Lindamood Sr

There’s a pall over those here at the Great West Trucking Show in Las Vegas today, especially among those who own custom rigs: Bobby Lindamood, Sr. , 56, was killed in an ATV accident yesterday in Texas.

Our condolences go out to the Lindamood familyand those who worked with Bobby at Lindamood Demolition in Irving, Texas. We have lost another trucking pioneer who showed true passion and professionalism in all he did.

Please say a prayer for his family…he’ll be greatly missed.

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