Tre 5 Customs, out of Peoria, Arizona, is not a big name yet, but expect big things out of this small-scale builder - just a two-person 2700-square foot shop. And don’t bother to ask what Tre 5 means, as owner Jeremy Rice won’t tell you. In fact, he’s not even told his wife.
While Jeremy started out in the world of mini trucks years ago, he's been working on full-size trucks and customs starting about 2.5 years ago, adding his right hand Hector Garcia about two years ago.
The C10 you see here was built for Mike Baldwin, of Dallas, Texas. It’s the fourth vehicle Jeremy has built for Mike over the last year, so clearly he has good reason to keep coming back.
The metamorphosis began with the engine, a 5.3L LM7 Vortec 5300. While based on the famous LT1, it was developed as a truck engine, so there are several advantages for this application. The biggest shortcoming of the engine though is the incredibly mild cam, so after the engine was completely cleaned, machined, and refitted with several pages of new parts, it received a more aggressive cam along with upgraded rockers, springs, and pushrods more up to the task. LS3 injectors were swapped in to provide a higher volume of fuel flow. Topping the engine is a Pro Products intake manifold fitting to the stock throttle body.
Little remains of the original frame with the exception of the rails forward of the cab. At the rear is a Choppin’ Block rear back half kit, new framerails from the cab rearward, and the rear body mount. The rear axle is mounted via a triangulated four-link system, with air bags mounted on the link bars. Cleverly, components are kept inboard, to allow for up to 12" wide wheels.
Replacing the front crossmember and pretty much everything attached to it is a Choppin’ Block front crossmember system, designed with improved suspension geometry. The tubular double a arm system narrows the front track width by about 2.5" per side and moves the wheels one inch forward from the original location.
With all the mechanical work behind us, we can turn our attention to the interior, which is both subtle and sophisticated in its detailing. Seats are from TMI, their Sport Pro-Classic split bench seats, covered in brown ultrasuede (not unlike the material used by Ferrari) with textured insets in the seats and on the door panels. Sound comes courtesy of a well-integrated Powerbass audio system. What was first hinted at under the hood is making more of an appearance in the interior – the secondary copper trim color Jeremy has selected. Check out the steering wheel and dash trim. Others might have been tempted to add more of the color to the interior – the pedals, the shift knob, the door handles, but Jeremy’s restraint in the limited use of copper makes it that much more appealing.
Frank continued the copper theme to the roof of the C10, as well as applied the gorgeous white to the rest of the body. The bed is African Sapele wood, often used in guitars, which was cut and fitted by Hector and Jeremy, then Frank covered it in “about a gallon” Vintage Flatz high gloss automotive clear coat to protect it.
The final pay off are the wheels. They’re from Intro Wheels, 8.5” wide in the front and 12” in the rear, 22” diameter all around, with the centers powder coated copper. The fascinating aspect to the wheels is that at first they appear to have a swirl design in the paint but as you draw closer you realize the design is actually the reflections the wheels are throwing back at you.
It’s that type of attention to detail and subtlety in their work that makes us think that Tre 5 will become an even bigger name in the world of customization than it is right now.