Robbie Azevedo is a realist. As a high school senior in 2002, Azevedo once told his classmates during a homecoming speech that one day he would help revolutionize the sport truck industry. Those are some big words coming from a 17-year-old. Azevedo had always been taught actions usually speak louder than words, and in his case, they really do.
All through high school, Azevedo got straight As, and graduated thirteenth in his class at Napa High School. The teachers thought he would go to college and become either a doctor or lawyer, but Azevedo saw what his older brother Willie went through after college, and he wanted no part of it.
"Willie went to college and did his four years, and he has yet to find a job in his field of study," Azevedo says. "I didn't want to do that. I knew what I wanted out of life, so I went after it."
So, what does a 22-year-old custom car and truck builder from Northern California do when there are no local shops to work for? Well, if you're Azevedo, you go out and start your own business.
Next came Pacific Coast Customs and the realization of Azevedo's dreams. Located in American Canyon, California, PCC is becoming a household name in the truck industry. What was once just a vision of hope four short years ago has blown up way beyond Azevedo's expectations.
Azevedo, who grew up around cars all his life, prides himself on being different, and when you come to PCC, different is what you get. His parents' business is Pacific Auto Salvage, a well-respected green salvage yard in American Canyon that has been in business since 1957.
PCC is a three-stall fab shop, nestled in the friendly confines of Napa Valley. The trip to wine country is another reason why PCC is great to visit, not to mention watching Azevedo do his magic with a piece of metal.
Over the years, he has learned metal fabrication and welding skills on his own, while apprenticing with many notable professional fabricators. But, his creative craft was learned all on his own. So, what he has learned over the years he has taken to new heights, which makes him original. He loves the creative process of working with his hands and being an automotive customizer, creator, and fabricator.
"I like to do things with cars and trucks. And I told myself that when I wake up in the morning, I want to do something I want to do, not something where I say, 'Oh man, I have to go to work.' That's horrible. So, even if I can't make as much money, I want to do something that I like doing."
Money isn't why Azevedo got into the customization business, but being able to use what he has learned over the years and create a prize piece of machinery is what makes him happy. That mindset started nearly seven years ago for Azevedo.
While in high school, when many of his friends were playing sports and going to parties, Azevedo took the time to teach himself how to MIG and TIG weld with a little help from others. Luckily, two of his teachers from Napa High School were into hot rods, and they had started the Napa High Rods and Roadsters car club, where they built a '29 Ford woodie.
The wooden body was built in the wood shop, while the chassis and mechanical aspects were built in the machine shop, the only two shops left on campus. During his last two years of high school, Azevedo was the president of the club. And when he was a senior, he purchased the uncompleted car.
When he got the car home and began looking closer, there were a few things that needed to be done before the car was road-worthy. After working for six months, he put it together in a highboy form-the original car had full fenders.
Later, he would add a stepped, boxed, and pinched '32 frame to make it into a rolling chassis. A 48-inch Super Bell drop axle and a Currie 9-inch were equipped with 3.42 posi gears and 31-spline axles. It was held in by a pair of Pete & Jake's ladder bars with a buggy spring to give it a little bounce. The original '85 Camaro V-8 was dropped in between the framerails, followed by a 700-R4 equipped with a Corvette valvebody.
The woodie was one of Azevedo's first major builds, and contrary to what people believe, he still drives the car in the summer when the weather allows.
Azevedo doesn't mess around during a car build. His uniqueness can't be taught, and his youthful determination is putting PCC on the map in the sport truck industry.
"When I first started, I never thought I could turn what used to be my hobby into my profession, but I proved myself wrong," Azevedo says. "But, I can honestly say I love what I do, and not too many people can say that."