By Frazer Randalls
Scroll down for the full story
Videographer / director: Tyler Mann
Producer: Frazer Randalls, Ruby Coote
Editor: Pete Ansell
Raul and Roland Mendez, from San Antonio, Texas are the ingenious minds behind the award-winning 750 horsepower Kenworth TOC.
Roland told BTV: “If I had to describe this truck in three words it would be: simply bad ass, it’s probably 90% custom.”
By the time the Texas Chrome Shop family had finished the job there was almost nothing that hadn’t been customised, so the job was neither quick or cheap.
Raul explained: “This truck took almost a year and a half to complete and between $150,000 and $180,000 was spent on it.”
Perhaps the most impressive part of the customised truck is the incredibly intricate and unique paint job.
Raul explained: “The paint job on it took weeks and weeks of just hard work, the filigree design that was done by hand.”
“We’ve painted over 800 trucks in the last 10 years and this is by far the baddest paint job I’ve ever seen,” said Roland.
The complex design used eight different colours of paint and is a recurring theme in the truck.
Roland said: “The matching design is on the wheels and also the stacks.”
And it’s not just the paint job that makes the Kenworth TOC so unique, the rest of the truck is also customised from the ground up.
Roland said: “We have a custom grill and aluminium wheels; the process was to sand and polish the aluminium wheel to perfection and afterwards we got it engraved and the last step is dipping it in chrome.”
Even the 650 HP Caterpillar engine was given the distinct look seen throughout the vehicle.
Ronald said: “It was completely taken apart and rebuilt, painted piece by piece to mimic what we have on the truck”
Inside, they had the gear stick engraved but kept most of the original dashboard:
“We wanted to keep it nice and clean, but then we added some switches that we sell.” explains Roland.
The truck’s stereo system is no joke either:
Roland said: “We have a total of 38 speakers and subwoofers combined.”
The truck was finished off to give it a slick finish, with custom logos and custom lights.
Roland explained: “We matched the five lights up on the back of the sleeper to our front bumper and we finished it off with a nice emblem here - Project TOC – the baddest truck ever built!”
Not surprisingly the unique truck has been gaining a lot of attention.
Raul said” “We showed it at the Dallas Truck Show a few years ago, it pretty much took all the top awards.”
In fact, the spectacular Kenworth TOC won awards for ‘Best of Show’, ‘Best Engine’, ‘Best Interior’ and ‘Best Paint’.
Roland explained: “I see our fellow competitors, they’re looking at the truck and they walk towards it and they turn back, they don’t even want to look at it!”
The Mendez family is justifiably proud of their work and the way people look at their truck.
Roland said: “Seeing people smile, the way they look at the engraving, the way they look at the painting, it makes me happy”.
And not content with their award-winning Kenworth, they promise their next project is going to be bigger than ever.
Roland explained: “Next big project in the works is Project 289, which is going to be an older antique truck and I’m going to bring some of the cool modern stuff: custom paint, loud radio, a bit of copper plating – some of the new stuff people haven’t seen in the custom world.”