Story: Evan “Evo” Yates
Photography: Garrett Wade
In 2011, 813 Customs officially hit the national landscape with a vengeance, ultimately becoming an Internet sensation and somewhat of a RIDES regular, but their fresh esteem was far from an overnight success. Elbow grease, expertise and ingenuity separated this elite outfit from its competition.
Hailing from Staten Island, New York, Joe Barravecchio, Jr. launched 813 Customs more than seven years ago upon relocating to Florida, but he originally concentrated on vehicles with kickstands and fairings instead of doors and trunks. “I started it as a custom bike shop at first,” Joe explains in his ever-present New York inflection. “But I redirected my focus on cars after observing the Florida car scene.” He continues, “Cars have always been my passion; I was just trying something different for a while.” Once back on the automotive horse, Joe laid down the bricks and mortar, acquiring the necessary talents, knowledge and manpower to be successful. Joe and 813 Customs eventually built a name for themselves in the Tampa area, gradually gaining notoriety customer by customer, project by project. And with the big-rim game expanding and customer demands evolving, 813 Customs took it to the next level with a handful of exceptional projects that began to raise a few eyebrows across the country. “I think our breakout build was the Bondi Beach ’73 convertible that we put together for the Addictive Audio booth at Spring Break Nationals three years ago,” explains Joe. “And if we’re talking mainstream, it would have to be the Donks from the last Donk, Box & Bubble magazine and the King Camaro.” The aforementioned ’73 Caprice was what initially attracted editors at RIDES, eventually being recognized as one of the cleanest Donks in the South and being sold to an NFL player for big bread.
The “King Camaro” that Joe refers to was also featured in RIDES (July/Aug ’12) and on countless blogs and websites, and the build was birthed from one of the most audacious requests Joe has received to date. “The craziest request I ever got was a customer wanting us to chrome his whole car,” laughs Joe, “and we obliged.” Joe researched the process and made it happen, acquiring expensive materials from across the world and carefully carrying out the complicated procedures. What followed was another social-media onslaught via Riding Clean’s video on World Star Hip-Hop, not to mention a Facebook frenzy. And although the reviews were mixed on its audacity, no one could deny the craftsmanship was unparalleled. (Click here to see it!)
Today 813 Customs has blossomed into an operation where you can literally drop off your ride and have it completely overhauled in-house. And Joe is quick to mention that his employees—who all hone a particular set of skills—are the key to 813’s success. “Man, I have the best team, for real,” boasts Joe. “I have Gabe ‘The Meatball’ Marrero, who is my manager and wheel specialist—he’s a real good guy and knows his stuff.” Joe continues, “I have Paul ‘Flip Flop’ Hinkle, who is my top installer and fabricator; Donavan ‘Big D’ Moretti, who is a body-work magician; Edwin ‘Chuchi’ Rivera, who’s a beast with a paint gun; and last but not least, my father a.k.a. ‘The General,’ who keeps us all in line. I owe it all to him.”
Owner: Joseph Barravecchio, Jr.
Address: 8701 N. Nebraska Avenue; Tampa, FL 33604
Contact Info: 813-933-4300
Time In Business: 8 years
Shop Specialties: Fiberglass and design
Standout Vehicles: 1973 Bondi Beach ’vert; 2011 chrome Camaro
Average Turnaround Time: Four to 16 weeks