Has "The Golden Age Of Trucks" Ended?
For the better part of three decades, domestic pickup trucks have been gaining popularity. But today, faced with $4+ per gallon fuel costs, government and industry experts boldly predict the death of the "casual-use" truck. Like reporters covering a flood-"Gee, Jim, there's a lot of water here!"-most pundits are just pointing out the obvious effect of high gas prices on vehicles that burn comparatively more fuel. Pickups are suffering a drop in popularity, but it may not be permanent.

Although high gas prices do suck, the federal agency responsible for estimating energy prices sees fuel prices leveling off and then dropping steadily toward the year 2020. According to the Energy Information Administration, fuel prices will drop again. Additionally, with new and more efficient powertrains being introduced every year, trucks will continue to get better fuel mileage.

You've heard the saying that every cloud has a silver lining? Here's the silver lining in this dark story filled with plant closings and truck models being eliminated: If you want to buy a new or used pickup, economically speaking, now is a great time. Demand for trucks is soft. Current owners of driveway trucks are ditching them like spoiled milk so they can drive the next trendy vehicle (maybe a Prius). Regarding new trucks, because Ford and Dodge are introducing all-new fullsize trucks for the '09 model year, both manufacturers will be selling their '08 models at fire-sale prices. Who benefits in this situation? You do, if you're a truck buyer. From one vantage point, maybe your golden age of trucking has just started.

CGS Motorsports is customizing an '09 Ford Flex for the Ford Motor Co.'s 2008 SEMA Show display. The SUV, which is being redesigned by Sean Smith of SS Designs, will be called "ReFlex." DuPont Refinishes and 3M will team up to create the explosive new paintjob. Bonspeed is kicking down a new set of 22s that will be stuffed inside of Pirelli rubber. Inside the Crossover's cabin, you'll find custom leather by Roadwire and a suede treatment by Keyston Bros. Kicker is providing the audio entertainment, while Clarion will take care of the video and navigation with one of its high-end head units. ReFlex will feature a one-off body kit, and the CGS team is also designing and building handmade chrome moldings to separate the two-tone paint scheme. Be sure to check out the completed ReFlex at this year's SEMA show in Las Vegas.