After taking several detours, Chad Louque has figured out that the custom truck scene is his niche. Like many others, he started out by owning inexpensive mini-trucks and using budget-lowering kits that could be done in the comfort of a garage, or in Chad's case, his backyard. Since his father and grandfather were mechanics, Chad gained a lot of skills at a young age, and he had the confidence to play with these trucks. Even though his first few customs were no more than low-rolling daily drivers, he knew he had the potential to do more.
In order for Chad to deck out a truck with lots of labor-intensive fabrication, it was going to take some extra money that he didn't have. On the other hand, the car scene was on the rise in popularity as The Fast and the Furious movie was an inspiring theater blockbuster. Chad thought that he could still build a show-worthy car on a budget because most of the parts were direct bolt-ons. His vehicle of choice was a '98 Chrysler Sebring Coupe, and he thought it was going to be pretty effortless to add style with a simple body kit. Since the car wasn't your everyday Honda Civic, this was not so cheap to build.
That's when he gave up on that project and bought this '02 Ford F-150 to haul a Suzuki GSXR street bike. Going fast on the streets with the Suzuki got him into a lot of trouble with the law and gave him reason to get rid of the bike. With nothing left to play with, Chad needed a hobby and knew he could do something great with his F-150. He started this truck by lowering it and adding a set of 20-inch wheels. Then, he saw a few trucks similar to his on the scene with front clips from an '05 Expedition. He liked the way they looked and researched how to do the same conversion to his truck. Many people told him it wasn't going to be easy, but once he got the parts in his hands, he found out they bolted directly on.
Chad knew he was on the right path with this project, and since he wanted to show it, he needed to step it up a notch. Though Chad knows some basics about working on vehicles, he didn't have any experience with airbagged suspensions. Instead of experimenting with air-ride components, he took the truck to a respectable, local shop to get it to lay frame. The new stance looked good, and it was ready for a paintjob, but Hurricane Katrina prevented it from happening. However, Chad later ran into his cousin, Raymond, who was starting up a paint shop named R&D Customs. Raymond offered to help get the truck topped off right with good bodywork and a clean paintjob. With the nice two-tone done, all that was left was to finish the inside of the bed. Chad didn't want to do the normal spray-on bedliner, so he came up with the idea of using a wood bed floor from a '56 F-100. While working on the bed, Chad switched to 22s in the rear and performed some sheetmetal work for the inner bed sides, along with some new wheeltubs.
Though it may have taken Chad a little bit of a journey to catch on to the fun of being a competitive player on the truck scene, he certainly is enjoying what he got himself into. One of the main reasons Chad decided to go forward with the truck thing is the fact that it is totally possible for anyone to gain the skills needed to achieve recognition. With the level of success he has had with this F-150, Chad is already thinking of his next project. Luckily, it will be a truck, but that is all we can say right now without giving away any of his plans.