Now, why would I buy a truck that was pretty much finished? The reason was it was far from finished. I did my research and to find a Tacoma, of a certain year and amount of mileage, it would be about $7,000 to $9,000. Therefore, instead of buying a stock one for $7,000, spending another $4,000 in suspension, labor, and parts; I just saved myself a butt-load of coin. By saving the money, I could do what I wanted to the truck. I could make this truck mine by adding my flair. I will body-drop, repaint, and eventually hook up the interior.

Now there were some drawbacks. Before I just jumped into buying the truck, I made sure the suspension was up to par; meaning I didn't have to redo anything. It is cheaper to start with stock suspension than to redo someone else's poor work. So, the moral of my story is why should I buy stock, when something was cheaper than stock, with almost all the modifications I was going to spend my money on anyway?

Of course, I will catch some flack, because I didn't do every single thing from scratch. I have noticed the people who make those comments are the ones rolling around in trucks with some janky suspension. But it's OK to them, because they did it in their own garages, right?

Erik Harbour is the western regional sales rep for Kinetik Power Cells and has been involved in the scene for more than 10 years. He has owned two cover trucks, in which both were designed and built in the same fashion.

Bought or built? Well, here is how I see it. Many of us in the scene can all do some cool things to our rides personally, and of course, we all know people who can help us as well, but on the other hand, there are a lot of great custom shops that can do it all. Personally speaking, I think if you simply pay the shop and then go pick up your newly custom mini, then it has been bought. On the other hand, if you take it to a shop and are at the shop with them late nights before the deadline, or running errands, or turning a wrench, or if you are so technically inclined and did most of the work yourself, then you can say it was built.

Now, here is where my latest project came into the picture. When I set out to build my Dodge, the first thing I did was see the goal, then told my close friends what I was thinking. Immediately afterward, ideas started flying around, as my friends helped me to cover every aspect of the truck. As close friends in this lifestyle, we began on a project that was both bought and built at the same time. This was a case of when time was short, the money was there, along with friends to help out, and so we could truly build one hell of a tight ride!

With my Dodge project, I knew what needed to be accomplished, the right people to get the job done, all while I was working, planning a booth for SEMA, and helping to wrench on the truck all night. Being the Western Regional Rep for Kinetik, I was the wiring guru of the project, and of course, knowing and being in the scene for this long let me learn how to block-sand, wet-sand, run lines, etc. But I'm not the expert there, so I called in some help from my friends. Todd Faulkner came in as the suspension, paint and body expert-and quite honestly-he had his hands on the entire build. Then of course, I could do some audio installing. My boy, Brent, from Alpine is the king at custom fabrication, so he jumped in and started shaping and molding the custom-made audio enclosures for the build.