"I went into the Dodge dealership...
"I went into the Dodge dealership to buy a new Ram and came out with the used Chevy of my dreams." -Jesse Vera
Custom trucks have many advantages and drawbacks that can sway you to different conclusions about them. Even though they can be very rewarding when completed, they can drain your savings account in order to get there. On the flip side, they can be a positive reason to hang out with your friends and family. When you can hang out with your favorite people and have countless good times over a shared interest, you have yourself a good hobby.
Jesse Vera created a similar environment for himself by following the footsteps of his oldest brother, Joe, who inspired Jesse with his '86 Chevy Blazer that was hammered down over a set of 15-inch wheels. With its low stance, the truck's style was aggressive and crazier than any custom vehicle that Jesse had seen before. It impacted Jesse's perception of trucks, and he grew a deeper appreciation for slammed trucks.
After Jesse got his driver's license, he started wrenching on his own trucks just like his brother. Jesse built a '93 Ford F-150 project truck that he was able to cruise alongside his brother's ride. But, the project truck went deep into construction, leaving Jesse with no rides. To solve this problem, he decided to go over to the local Dodge dealership to purchase a brand-new Lone Star-edition Ram that came with a factory set of 20-inch wheels. After a quick testdrive, he was ready to sign the paperwork, when he spotted a treasure in the corner of his eye. Jesse halted the sale of the new Dodge to see this rare two-door '96 Chevy Tahoe sitting in the used car section of the lot. Prior to that day, Jesse searched for one of these trucks and had no luck finding one. Unexpectedly, he found the used truck of his dreams while trying to buy a new ride.
He purchased the Tahoe and drove it to and from the big Texas Heat Wave show with no problems. After spending some time in the truck, he decided to go custom with it. He slowly added modifications when he could afford them. He saved up some money and lowered the truck over a set of chrome wheels. With the new setup, Jesse drove the Tahoe around town to show off. While out cruising, Jesse and his brother made several new friends through the common interest of custom trucks. Because everyone was welcome to come and cruise, Jesse and Joe brought along their middle brother, Johnny. The three of them would hang out together, and after a while, Johnny got hooked into the truck thing, as well.
The group grew together and would all meet up for shows to hang out. Since they had a tight connection with each other and always rolled as a pack, they decided to go ahead and start a new club. Since the founding members all owned trucks that were worked on in garages, they came up with a club name of Garage Inc. Together this crew would meet up, share good times, and help each other build quality vehicles.
Jesse made the most of his band of friends by getting them to assist him on the completion of the Tahoe. He knew the Tahoe needed to go lower, and the addition of an air-ride suspension would do the trick. He was able to do the front suspension, but he needed the help of his friends, Jesus and Manuel Salas, for the rear. Once the work was done, it was apparent that the truck needed a new set of wheels to show off the stance. Jesse knew he already had this set of new wheels on his F-150 project truck that was collecting dust from the long process of that buildup. To get his money's worth out of the set, he drilled the F-150 lug pattern on his Tahoe hubs in order to roll the shiny 20-inch billets on the new truck.
Now the truck was looking good but not completed. To finish the Tahoe, Jesse wanted to add intricate one-of-a-kind paintwork to set off the rest of the truck and to give it a clean custom look. He called up his buddy, Jerry, to spray on a custom two-tone paintjob with cheetah-style graphics designed by his other friend, Adrian.
The truck was finally done, and together with his circle of friends, Jesse was ready to hit the show scene hard. During Jesse's buildups, his oldest brother sold his truck to concentrate on his new marriage. Although Joe quit the scene, he is always welcome to hang out with the crew, and if needed, they would be there for him. As for brother Johnny, he has gone full-on with his Chevy Silverado, and it should be a clean truck when done. Like always, Johnny can depend on the members of Garage Inc. to help him with his ventures, just like his brothers.
Jesse Vera / Donna, Texas
'96 Chevy two-door Tahoe
General Motors 5.7L Vortec V-8 engine / custom exhaust with dual Flowmaster mufflers / General Motors 4L60-E automatic transmission
BY: General Motors
Front: 20x8-inch Boyd Coddington Rodders with 5.25-inch backspacing
Rear: 20x9.5-inch Boyd Coddington Rodders with 5-inch backspacing
Front: BFGoodrich g-Force 225/35R20v
Rear: BFGoodrich g-Force 285/30R20
Front: DJM 2-inch drop spindles / Firestone 2,500-pound airbags / custom-made cups to mount the airbags / brake rotors drilled for the F-150 lug pattern to fit the wheels
Rear: Custom-made two-link with Panhard bar / Firestone 2,600-pound airbags / custom mounts for the airbags behind the axle / axles drilled for the 5-on-5-1/2 lug pattern
Accessories: Four 1/2-inch Parker valves / bottle of nitrogen
Chassis: Front clip notched for control arm and tie-rod clearance / custom C-notch welded to the rear of the frame
By: Jesse Vera, Jesus, and Manuel Salas of Donna, Texas
Factory GMC front grille / Trenz full-billet phantom grille with lights recessed / Stylin' Concepts front bumper with foglights / Goodmark cowl hood / molded Sir Michaels roll pan / keyless Suburban door handles
By: Jesse Vera
House of Kolor Jet Set black and Chrome Yellow with Kandy Lime Gold / Gamma Gold base and Kandy Root Beer for Cheetah print / Magenta hues and Violet / Orion Silver for chrome trim effect
By: JValens Auto in Weslaco, Texas, / (graphic design) Adrian of Lucky Thirteen Tattoo Studio, also in Weslaco
Smoothed-out dash painted to match the exterior / Suburban front door panels with rear window buttons to control air valves / stock seats upholstered in matt-black Ultra leather
By: Palmas Upholstery in McAllen, Texas
Pioneer DEH-P640 CD/AM/FM head unit / two 6-1/2-inch Kicker mids / Precision Power 200-watt amp for mids
By: Jesse Vera
Jesse's wife, mom, and friends Manuel, Chuy, Jerry, Role', Frank, Nato, Adrian of Lucky Thirteen Tattoo Studio, JValens Auto, and Martin