With a name like "Chopper," you'd better drive something cool, or the little girls on the street will start to giggle like, well...little girls. But, that's not the case with Jose "Chopper" Trejo of Houston, Texas, who rolls with the Ground Zero truck club. His name is cool and so is his truck. And no one is laughing when this crazy vato drags through town.
We came across this Houston El Mover at the Texas Heatwave truck show and were mesmerized by the Ford F-150's sinister look, with its Lincoln Navigator front end. When we asked Chopper why he went the Blue Oval way, he told us that he grew up with Fords and has been building them ever since. Chopper saw the new '00 F-150 and fell in love. He drove it right off the showroom floor and straight to Antonie Body Shop in Houston. The truck had a factory blue paintjob, but when you roll large, factory doesn't cut it. Wanting to hit the show circuit in style, Chopper chose a Navigator front clip and had the shop morph it onto the F-150. When it came to paint, there was only one way to go: House of Kolor Wedgewood Blue and a custom mix of Mercedes Silver to set this bad boy apart from the competition.
After the custom two-tone paint was finished and buffed to a mirror finish, the paint needed a separation of the two colors. Avoiding the usual pinstripe that most people use, Chopper decided on the Maltese cross theme. He contacted Redline Graphics and bought 1,200 miniature crosses to adorn the sides of the truck. It took two days to apply-by hand-the tiny crosses in a perfect line around the entire truck. We think that might be a new record of some sort for the Guinness Book of World Records-or at least in Sport Truck records.
After Chopper's back recovered from the tedious job of applying the crosses, he was at it again, this time to tackle the suspension. Houston-based Ekstensive Metalworks was the shop of choice to install the custom 'bag setup, using Slam Specialty's and custom components. With drop spindles and a C-notched frame, Chopper can lay the Ford down in the weeds with the flick of a switch.
The truck was on its way to Sport Truck greatness, as Chopper pondered what to do with the interior. He wanted something wild, and you can't get any wilder than some alligator hide. But, he didn't just use any alligator skin but dyed-black alligator skin to adorn the seats, console, and door panels, finished off with black Bentley carpet. Arjonas Upholstery was responsible for the wild-kingdom transformation.
The audio system got the Chopper treatment as well, with a Panasonic head unit driving 10-inch Pioneer 'woofers with Pioneer midranges and tweeters. Finally, he bolted on a set of Strada 22-inch Bad Apples with Nitto tires and was rollin' Houston style.
When we asked Chopper what he learned from building this project, he told us "sacrifice." He continued, "I found out that you can't build a custom show truck over night, even with the best intentions. When finding good shops for the suspension-and a good body shop is important-don't settle for less, and go for the best when it comes to shops that are dependable and know what they are doing." One look at this truck and you can tell how much time, money, and sacrifice went into it. So, the next time you see a bad F-150 sporting a Navigator front clip coming your way, it might just be El Chopper de Houston, Texas.
Owner/hometown: Jose "Chopper" Trejo / Houston, Texas
Year/make/model: '00 Ford F-150
Engine/drivetrain: 4.6L V-8 / automatic
Wheels/tires: 22x9-1/2-inch Strada Bad Apple / Nitto 285/35R22
Suspension: Custom step-notch two-link frame kit / 1/2-inch copper hard lines / Extensive brand 450 valves pump through two Thomas 9210 compressors that pump air from a 7-gallon air tank hidden under the frame behind the axle / custom spindles / Firestone 2,600-pound 180 'bags
Fabricator: Ekstensive Metalworks of Houston, Texas
Body Mods: Navigator front clip / SnugTop tonneau cover
Paint: Antonie Paint and Body / House of Kolor Wedgewood Blue and a custom Mercedes Silver mix /1,200 Maltese crosses
Interior: Dyed-black alligator leather on the seats and console
Audio/video: Panasonic head unit / 10-inch Pioneer 'woofers / Pioneer midranges and tweeters