Another benefit of having moved in with Custom Car Stereo was that suddenly, Custom Car Stereo began participating in the projects. Recently, Houston Rockets guard Steve Francis, a major customer, commissioned 713 to work on several of his vehicles, including an ’08 Chevy Suburban that’s being customized into a limo conversion. “We did all the paint, the body, the drop, the exhaust, wheels and tires, the Strut grille and suede headliner, and Custom Car Stereo is doing all the audio-video,” Barnes said. “So, we gotta give a shout out to Custom Car Stereo as well because we have a lot of the same clients. We bring an urban market to their clientele, and I think they bring more of a right-wing clientele to our side. We’re able to cross-market both of our products together.”
They’ve already attracted quite a list of celebrities and athletes, including, among others, Mario Williams, Tracy McGrady, J.R. Smith and Vince Young, who’s an old friend of the guys. “We went to high school with Vince, so he’s our homeboy,” Barnes said. “I played high school football with him. I was Vince’s right tackle in my senior year, when he was a sophomore. We had a good relationship with each other; we grew up together. Vince was driving my car before he could even drive! My ’89 Cadillac Sedan DeVille—“Madison Blue”—named after our school, located in South Side Houston, Hiram Clarke, Texas.”
Like every good shop, 713 Motoring has added their own innovation to the pot, and they did so with the first three-piece custom wheel for the T-Rex in the country. “We set it up with Asanti where we sent the T-Rex wheels off to them and they built the back wheel for us,” Barnes said. “So we’ve got 20- and 22-inch packages for the T-Rex. Where people were just putting them on the front, we got a double-chrome wheel built on both sides for the back, and everybody is trying to copy us right now in the city, but a lot of people can’t get it right.”
And, like every good shop, 713 Motoring has their own specialty, in this case, custom wheel fitments. “We always go two sizes up on what’s recommended,” Barnes said. “So, when most people put 22s on the Bentley, we put 24s on ’em and try to confuse all the other wheel shops, and make customers ask, ‘How did they do that?’”
In order to come up with new ideas and spot the trends, the guys from 713 hit the road and draw inspiration from what they see at national car shows and on the streets of major U.S. cities. In addition to bringing many of those ideas back to Houston, the guys establish relationships with shops across the country and even plan projects with them.
Meanwhile, the guys are also busy with plans to expand. “We’ve got a new store coming in the Woodlands, north of Houston, which is opening up in August, so we can service the North Side and the South Side of town, an area that covers many, many miles,” Barnes said. “It’s like a whole other city—the north side of Houston.”
Other plans involve the shop assembling their own special edition 713 Motoring vehicles, with the aim of customizing them and having them ready for sale. “Our big thing is branding our name and motto—‘Invest in your lifestyle’—everywhere, so that everything is stamped with the 713 Motoring seal.”
So much for secrets.
Photos: Elle G.