For Tommy Pike Customs, people and their stories are as important as their cars
Cars weren’t yet invented when Confucius said, “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Still, the sixth-century Chinese philosopher could easily have been talking about Tommy Pike.
“I was very inquisitive and mechanically inclined as a kid,” said Pike, owner of Tommy Pike Customs in Greenville, S.C. “I was forever taking stuff apart and putting it back together. I would much rather be doing that than going to school. I’ve always loved getting my hands dirty, especially working on cars.”
Pike eventually turned his hobby into a successful career. He tinkered with cars in his family’s garage while in high school, took a job at a car stereo/window tint shop (Automotive Accents) in the mid-1990s, and purchased the business in 2000.
Pike’s father, Thomas Pike Sr., was a Technical Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and later worked as an airplane mechanic for Delta, and he taught Tommy the importance of a strong work ethic while feeding his interest in all things mechanical. But it was Tommy’s mother, Diane, who suggested in 2005 that her son build custom cars. Diane even managed Tommy Pike Customs for a time. Her encouragement and confidence in her son’s ability proved vital – and well-placed. As Tommy’s skills and client list grew, so did his business. After twice moving to larger digs, TPC is now in a 30,000-square-foot building.
Tommy Pike Customs offers a variety of services and performance upgrades: superchargers, full engine builds, upgraded transmissions, rear end differentials, suspension upgrades and custom design packages, in addition to restoring classics. Among the notable cars that TPC has customized or restored are a 2014 Chevy Corvette, 2010 Chevy Camaro, 1973 Plymouth Cuda, ’69 Ford Ranger, ’54 Ford Customline and ’46 Buick. At the recent South Carolina International Auto Show (Jan. 16-18), Pike and his team customized a 2015 Ford Mustang.
“We’re an automotive lifestyles business,” Pike said. “We do whatever our customers want or desire.”
Pike’s wife, Stephanie, manages marketing, partnerships and events for TPC; she calls herself the President of Everything Else. The two met in 2009 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where Steph served as Director of Events. They were married in 2011, and their son, Thomas Clarke Pike III, arrived a year later.
Pike’s pride and joy – in addition to his family, of course – is his 1969 Ford F-100 pickup truck.
“It sat in pieces for quite a while,” he said. “My idea was to take a really nice old truck and give it a modern feel. I started to restore it, and then we partnered with Quaker State and it all just came together.”
In addition to the F-100’s Quaker State green-and-gold paint job, the truck features:
- Cadillac CTS-V engine
- CNC ported LS3 heads
- 3-inch exhaust
- Aeromotive 1000-hp fuel system
- Stage 3 blower cam shaft
- Ford Crown Victoria front suspension and steering
- Lincoln Mark VIII independent rear suspension and rear end
- Mini-tubbed bed
- TPC 20-inch rally wheels
- Michelin Super Sport ties (265/35/20 front, 335/30/20 rear)
- Smoked lights
- Custom interior
- Custom audio system
“Anything we could throw at it, we threw at it,” Pike said. “It’s a beast; it really is. Words can’t describe what it feels like to drive that thing.”
Stephanie Pike never met Tommy’s parents – Diane Pike passed away in October 2007 and Tommy’s father died eight months later – but she knows they would be proud of their son. And not just because of his work, but how he lives his life.
“Our guys know they’re to be respectful and display a family friendly atmosphere at every event or appearance,” Stephanie said. “Tommy purposely put his name on the company because he wanted to be held accountable and be trusted by those who choose to do business with him. He’s made a conscious effort to never lower the standards that he was raised with.”
Tommy, one of seven children and the youngest of three boys, relies on his parents’ teaching daily, both in his personal and professional life.
“Every car tells a story; every car is important to the person who brings it here,” he said. “So they’re important to us.”
For more information about Tommy Pike Customs, visit www.tommypikecustoms.com.