WHEN A TRUCK GUY FROM CALIFORNIA THINKS ABOUT CUSTOM TRUCKS FROM TEXAS, BIG BILLET WHEELS USUALLY COME TO MIND. Weirdly enough though, these dream wheels aren’t usually thought of as bolted on a big lifted truck. The picture of a bagged late-model Chevy or a classic C10 first pops up, but Houston native Frank Vega is doing his part to change that mentality about trucks from his home turf.
Being a proud member of the Team Billet truck club, which has nearly 20 chapters spread across Texas, Oklahoma, California, Colorado, Nevada, as well as other states, Frank had to make sure that his truck build lived up to their high standards. The family-oriented club features a wide assortment of pickups ranging from old and new ones with styles varying from street scraping “low-lows” to jacked up trucks that all seem to have a common bond shared by the entire lot—they all roll on big billet wheels, naturally.
THOSE WHO THOUGHT THE TREND OF BIG-DIAMETER BILLET HOOPS IS GOING OUT OF STYLE SOMETIME SOON— THINK AGAIN!
Although a good number of lifted trucks are in the club, the majority of Team Billet members ride around in lowered pickups that fit the trend of what Texas outsiders tend to imagine about custom trucks from the Lone Star state. With Frank finding himself in the club’s minority of members who have chosen to build lifted trucks, he has made it a point to prove to the country that everything in Texas, including its trucks and their wheels, is bigger and better.
Now, slapping on a set of big, billet baller wheels just isn’t going to cut it—that alone won’t earn many points at a car show or command much respect on the streets. The entire custom package must be put together to turn heads and create a vehicle that will keep people talking. To get the results he was after, Frank counted on an impressive lift kit to do the trick in the way of getting the aggressive, towering stance he had envisioned. The ideal altitude was reached with Bulletproof Suspension’s 14-inch lift kit, as well as a set of Atlas rear leaf springs to maintain the best ride quality possible. Black Top Industries of Houston assisted Frank with the suspension overhaul and suggested a set of 26×14 Fuel Off-Road FF41 billets with 40-inch Fuel tires to complete the newfound lifted look.
Frank was soon behind the wheel of a heavily lifted, yet mostly factory-looking truck, with the exception of the extremely awesome set of wheels and tires. To bump things up a few notches, Frank figured it was time to get another local shop involved with his project. iCAR of Houston specializes in body and paint work, and while Frank didn’t need much done to the F-150’s surface except for new paint, he was quick to begin working on ideas to see just how big of a difference custom color and graphics could make. The House of Kolor Candy Orange hue offset the Ford’s silver paint perfectly, and hidden within the new paint scheme are many detailed layering levels of carbon fiber, water, leaf and marble patterns that create intricate visual effects and textures. The undercarriage and wheels were also treated to contrasting paint details to tie in the fresh appearance from the floor, up.
The F-150 wasn’t altered much more from this point, which isn’t a bad thing at all. “Too much” can definitely become a negative rather quickly, and the whole “less is more” approach is much more of a safer bet. With the simple addition of a KC light bar on the front bumper, as well as a Fuel custom grille, the exterior of the truck was left alone to let its streamlined styling take center stage. The paint has come to be Frank’s favorite part of this build, and the positive experience working with iCAR really put a forward spin on his outlook for the future with his F-150. Since the truck has been completed, Frank has been able to show it all around his home state, as well as events in California and Mississippi with plans to drive it to even more this show season.
The next time you think of Texas trucks with big billet wheels, you’ll now have a better appreciation of the lifted trucks there that also rely on the trend of adding a premium set of rollers to make a lasting impression at the shows and on the streets. Those who thought the trend of big-diameter billet hoops is going out of style sometime soon—think again!
Francisco Javier Vega
2014 Ford F-150
- Shop: ACES Performance
- Factory 2014 V-8
- Magnaflow 3-inch exhaust
- Custom air intake, throttle body, street E85 tune by Pro Built Race
- TransGo HD2 shift kit
- 4.10 Elite gear set
CHASSIS & SUSPENSION
- Shop: Black Top Industries
- Bulletproof Suspension 14-inch lift kit with front and rear shocks
- Atlas rear leaf springs
WHEELS & TIRES
- 26×14 Fuel FF41 wheels
- 40-inch Fuel Gripper M/T tires
BODY & PAINT
- Shop: Paint and graphics by iCAR Houston
- House of Kolor Candy Orange paint
- Graphics comprised of a combination of water, leaf, carbon and marble patterns
- Fuel X-Metal Series grille
- iCAR bumpers
- 30-inch KC LED Deegan 38 Series light bar on front bumper