HUBCAPS HOTRODS AND CUS­TOM

Where the Pro­fes­sion­als Get Their Trucks Built

Street Trucks - - CONTENTS - TEXT AND PHO­TOS BY KEVIN WHIPPS

NICK SINIORIS IS YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND. Chances are you’ve never met him be­fore, and you might never make it out his way. But if you do find your­self at Hubcaps Hot Rod and Cus­tom in Phoenix, you’ll soon dis­cover that the guy usu­ally found wear­ing a Bal­ti­more Ori­oles hat and a black T-shirt is one of the nicest peo­ple you’ll ever meet. The com­bi­na­tion of a guy who cares about his work and the qual­ity his shop pro­duces is what Hubcaps Hotrod and Cus­tom is all about.

Nick spent the first part of his ca­reer in the au­to­body field. He worked on the pro­duc­tion line, tear­ing apart one wrecked ride af­ter an­other, learn­ing the ins and outs of me­tal fin­ish­ing and body­work. That all changed in 2013 when he started the first it­er­a­tion of Hubcaps, a place where peo­ple soon learned they could get their car done prop­erly from start to fin­ish. He moved shops a few times through­out the years, but the big­gest shift hap­pened in 2017 when he de­cided that it was time to step things up.

At that point, Nick had al­ready made a name for him­self. He had quite a few big builds un­der his belt, and his rep­u­ta­tion for qual­ity me­tal work made him stand out from the crowd. But he hit a wall. There was only so much work he could do on his own,

and even once he started hir­ing em­ploy­ees, there seemed to be a cap on the amount of qual­ity work he could pro­duce. Af­ter all, he was also the ac­coun­tant, sales­man and ev­ery other po­si­tion in the shop. Some­thing had to give.

Some­times it’s all about tim­ing. As it turns out, Nick knew a guy who was re­tired but wasn’t ready to set­tle down in a La-z-boy just yet. He had some money, and since he loved hot rods and saw that Nick could go to the next level with just a lit­tle bit of help, he came on­board as a part­ner. You might think that this is one of those sce­nar­ios where some wealthy bloke came in with a big check to get things go­ing, but that’s far from the case. Nick has known his busi­ness part­ner (who prefers his pri­vacy) for decades and con­sid­ers him a close fam­ily friend. Why not team up to cre­ate some­thing spe­cial? Which is ex­actly what they did.

… YOU COULD DROP OFF YOUR TRUCK, HAVE THE CREW LAY IT OUT ON SOME CLEAN ROLLERS, CHOP THE TOP, FIX THE RUST, DO THE BODY­WORK AND LAY PAINT. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS PICK IT UP AND DRIVE IT. ”

The duo started mak­ing plans and soon started con­struc­tion on a new build­ing lo­cated just east of Deer Val­ley Air­port in Phoenix. The 10,000-sqft shop was built to their ex­act­ing spec­i­fi­ca­tions, while still giv­ing them room to grow should they de­cide to ex­pand. In fact, one of the lat­est ad­di­tions is a new paint booth. They now have lots of room for ac­tive projects, plus space for ma­chin­ery and parts.

With the ex­tra space came the need for more help, so Nick hired some of the most skilled peo­ple he could find. He al­ready had two guys work­ing along­side him at the old spot, but he picked up a few more, bring­ing the to­tal up to seven (eight, if you count Nick him­self).

Now they have enough peo­ple on staff to take a job from ini­tial fabrication to paint.

Which brings up an in­ter­est­ing point: al­though Nick has been paint­ing for years, the shop wasn’t known for pro­duc­ing paint jobs. They’d do the odd spray here and there but noth­ing fancy. To­day, with the ad­di­tional staff and new paint booth setup, they’re tak­ing on all sorts of gigs. This means that you could drop off your truck, have the crew lay it out on some clean rollers, chop the top, fix the rust, do the body­work and lay paint. All you have to do is pick it up and drive it.

IT’S A POP­U­LAR SHOP, AND IF YOU WANT TO GET YOUR TRUCK BUILT BY ONE OF THE BEST, DO YOUR­SELF A FA­VOR AND CHECK OUT NICK AND HUBCAPS HOTRODS AND CUS­TOM. YOU’LL BE GLAD YOU DID.”

But this is Street Trucks, af­ter all, which means we should get to the truck stuff, right? Con­trary to the name, Hubcaps Hotrods and Cus­tom doesn’t just build old cars.

The crew does trucks from all over the spec­trum. Just walk­ing around the shop, you can find ev­ery­thing from a ‘36 Ford pickup to a square-body Chevy. In fact, Nick has been mak­ing quite a dent in the C-10 mar­ket, hav­ing put his name on big builds, in­clud­ing Joe Yezzi’s Squarebody Series 01 and Sam Cas­tronova’s C-mi­nus.

What other kinds of projects are on his plate? There are cur­rently two 1960-66 cabs float­ing around the shop, and one of them is get­ting a spe­cial treat. Nick is plan­ning on giv­ing it a big back win­dow con­ver­sion, with­out us­ing fac­tory glass or french­ing like so many oth­ers do. No, he’s got some sweet plans for that one, and we’re sure we’ll see them soon.

Hubcaps Hotrods and Cus­tom has been chug­ging along smoothly since it moved into its cur­rent fa­cil­ity, and jobs are book­ing up quickly. In fact, af­ter a tour dur­ing the 2017 Goodguys show, the crew had cars parked all the way down nearby Deer Val­ley Road, which is akin to leav­ing your truck on the side of a ma­jor free­way. It’s a pop­u­lar shop, and if you want to get your truck built by one of the best, do your­self a fa­vor and check out Nick and Hubcaps Hotrods and Cus­tom. You’ll be glad you did.

THE OWNER OF HUGHES TRANS­MIS­SION TOOK HIS AD TRUCK TO NICK FOR A LIT­TLE IN­TE­RIOR WORK.

LEFT. THE DASH­BOARD OF THIS 1955-59 CHEVRO­LET IS COM­POSED OF SMALL COP­PER PIECES RIV­ETED TO­GETHER. RIGHT. IN THIS CASE, THE IN­TE­RIOR WORK IN­VOLVED SMOOTH­ING OUT A FEW THINGS ON THE DASH AND SPRAY­ING EV­ERY­THING A RICH CHO­CO­LATE BROWN.

THE ’36 FORD PARKED NEXT TO THE ’37 RUNS AN LS EN­GINE MOUNTED LOW IN THE CHAS­SIS. IT ALSO HAS A TRICK PAR­AL­LEL 4-LINK WITH A CUS­TOM PAN-HARD BAR.

THIS ’37 FORD IS SLAMMED AND FEA­TURES A PRETTY WICKED CHOP. THE SEAT WAS ALSO BUILT IN-HOUSE AT HUBCAPS.

HERE’S NICK WORK­ING IT OUT ON THE TRUMPF POWERHAMMER. IT’S JUST ONE OF THE MANY BIG TOOLS HE HAS AVAIL­ABLE AT THE SHOP.

NICK WELDS THE FRAME ON HIS BROTHER’S ’29 MODEL A PICKUP. SINCE HIS BROTHER IS IN A WHEEL­CHAIR, NICK’S PLAN IS TO BUILD A KILLER LAID-OUT TRUCK WITH SPE­CIAL MOUNTS FOR THE CHAIR. THAT WAY HIS BROTHER CAN CRUISE TO SHOWS WITH­OUT WOR­RY­ING ABOUT SOME­ONE...

THE HUBCAP CROWN LOGO IS A NICE TOUCH ON THE BACK OF THIS ’37 FORD PICKUP.

NICK’S PETTINGEL POWER HAM­MER IS STILL BE­ING IN­STALLED, BUT IT STRIKES AN IN­TIM­I­DAT­ING PRO­FILE ON THE SHOP FLOOR.

ABOVE. THERE’S A LOT OF ROOM TO WORK AT THE SHOP, WITH EVEN MORE ROOM AROUND THE COR­NER. LEFT. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE DE­TAILS AT HUBCAPS, IN­CLUD­ING THE CROWN LOGO ON ITS ENGLISH WHEEL.

NEED CUS­TOM SHEET ME­TAL WORK OR A RE­PLACE­MENT SKIN FOR A TROU­BLED BODY PANEL? NICK CAN DO THAT.

THIS IS JUST ONE OF THE MANY RIDES WAIT­ING TO BE­COME THE NEXT BIG THING.

NICK BUYS ALL OF HIS AIRBAG PARTS FROM SWITCH SUS­PEN­SION, WHICH IS LO­CATED IN THE AREA.

ABOVE. IT’S 10,000 SQ-FT, BUT THERE’S ALSO AN EMPTY LOT NEXT DOOR JUST IN CASE THE SHOP NEEDS TO EX­PAND.

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