A Hot-Licked Hauler Laid Flat on Double Deuces
There is something unique about an individual who feels the need to build a truck three different times to get it the way they desire. Call it obsessive compulsive, but people with this constant need for custom change are hit a bit more severely with the custom disease than the average enthusiast.
In today's competitive show truck scene, constantly changing your ride helps make it more competitive while doing battle on the showfield, more visually appealing to show judges, and most importantly, catches the attention of the Truckin' staff. A few years ago at the world-famous Resolutions Truck Show, we spotted a '96 Chevy extended cab that was ultra-cool laying flat on the ground with 20-inch wheels with flames from nose to tail.
After a brief conversation with the owner's friend, who had driven the truck to the event in his absence, the truck was photographed and scheduled to appear in the pages of Truckin'. However, after waiting for a vehicle specification sheet for quite some time, we had just about given up on the decadent C1500, when it was spotted at a recent local show with new paint, new wheels, new interior, and a look that had cover truck written all over it.
We called owner Kent Porter in Bakersfield, California, and after a brief conversation, we realized that the long-lost Bow Tie shot over a year ago was about to become the Aug. '03 cover truck for Truckin'. Kent is the owner and operator of Krazy Kustomz in Bakersfield, California, a shop which specializes in custom suspension work and aftermarket accessories for both lowered and lifted rides.
When he is not wrenching on customers' rides, Kent's focus is on Blazing Saddle, in an attempt to complete the truck to his strict quality standards. Kent is an enthusiast who is never satisfied. The fact that he has built this truck three times should serve as prime evidence of this statement. However, this time Blazing Saddle has been customized so thoroughly, that even Kent would be hard-pressed to find a single flaw.
Setting a truck at the right stance is a big part of the show truck equation these days, and Kent was not about to install a garden-variety 'bag setup under this hauler with low-bucks rollers, just to save a few greenbacks. The underpinnings beneath this off-the-hook Bow Tie are first class all the way, and careful attention has been paid to the chassis work in order to stuff those gleaming double dubs as far as possible up into the fenderwells.
To ease installation of components and fabrication on the chassis, the bed and front clip were hoisted from the 'rails, Blazing Saddle's base structure was exposed, and the welder was fired up. As with any custom suspension, laying out the nose of the truck is pretty straightforward. Resting the 'rails of Blazing Saddle up front is done with a combination of Belltech 2-inch drop spindles and Firestone 2600 airbags resting in the factory spring pockets.
Moving to the rear, Kent and his Krazy Kustomz crew worked many nights after normal quitting time to cook up a suspension setup that would provide an exceptional ride and allow the rear fenderwells to swallow up the massive 22x10-inch Boyd Renegade rims and Dunlop rubber, once the switches were thrown to hammer the 'rails to the tarmac. Out back, the stock 'rails were boxed with 3/16-inch steel plate, and the frame was bridge-notched to allow the axle excess breathing room when the rear 'bags are robbed of their air supply.
The factory leaf springs were ditched in favor of a Chassis Tech four-link system to keep the rearend centered and allow for maximum travel. After the structural work on the frame was complete, Firestone 2600 airbags were mounted out back and the system was plumbed with four Thomas compressors, one 5-gallon air tank, 1/2-inch air lines, 1/2-inch Parker Gold valves with front, back, and side to side motion, and a custom switch box mounted in a handmade panel in the dash. Belltech Nitro Active shocks smooth out the ride.
When gazing into the bed of most airbagged haulers, the step notch, 'bag mounts, and frame are usually visible since the bed floor has to be cut out to allow the frame's high points to come up. Rather than just follow the crowd and cut the bed out, Kent figured that losing a little bed space was not bad, if he didn't have to look at all the rear suspension everytime he popped the tonneau. Therefore, to clear the frame notch and allow room for the 22s, the bed floor was raised 6 inches.
The air tanks and compressors were all mounted under the bed for a clean out-of-sight appearance. Once the 'rails were successfully resting on the earth below, a set of 22x10-inch Boyd Coddington Renegade billet hoops mounted on Dunlop SP Sport 9000 P285/30ZR20 rubber front and rear were stuffed hard under the front and rear fenderwells, to create a look that drops jaws and widens eyeballs.
After the appropriate stance and rolling attire was in place, Kent felt it was necessary to wake up the factory 5.7L engine with a few go-fast goodies to enhance the driving experience.
"When it came time to put the body under the knife, Kent's goal was to create a look that would snag a lot of eyeballs but still maintain a sense of simplicity with regard to the metal modifications. "
Looking under the hood of this sensational Silverado, a host of performance additions exist to get Kent to work a little faster in the mornings. Waking up the factory 350ci V-8 are an AIRAID intake system and a throttle-body spacer to enhance induction performance. A Hypertech Power Programmer was also thrown into the mix to increase throttle response, while Gibson chrome headers and a 3-inch exhaust system with Flowmaster muffler completes the operating cycle.
To make the mill shine in the detail department, a pair of custom-built inner fender panels were made for clearance of the front 22-inch wheels and tires, and were painted and striped in a scheme matching the truck's exterior by Kyle "K-Daddy" Gann of K-Daddy's Kustoms in Bakersfield, California. A few underhood items were also pulled off and painted for contrast. Completion of the subtle modifications under the hood led Kent to the task of choosing what to do on the truck's exterior.
"Once the base paint dried, Kyle taped out some wicked tribal flame licks engulfing nearly the entire truck and filled in the blazing fire with House of Kolor Silver."
When it came time to put the body under the knife, Kent's goal was to create a look that would snag a lot of eyeballs but still maintain a sense of simplicity with regard to the metal modifications. The truck was delivered to Kyle "K-Daddy" Gann, where the truck's old paint and graphic scheme was sanded off and preparations for a fresh facelift began. Kyle got busy with welder in hand and shaved the tailgate handle, antenna, third brake light, stake pocket holes, and factory taillights. The factory door handles were left in place for ease of entry, as well as the original gas door, allowing easy filling.
In place of the original taillights, "K-Daddy" custom-cut buckets for Cadillac taillights and smoothed the edges to a baby's backside quality. A Sir Michaels roll pan was welded into the rear bed landscape, and a Checkmate tonneau was flush-mounted on top of the bed. The last metal alteration performed before "K-Daddy" loaded up his paint gun and started squirting was the installation of a complete Cadillac Escalade front end, which looks dynamite draped over the top of the bold 22-inch rollers.
After Kyle finished getting all the metal straight and prepped, the truck was rolled into the spray booth and coated in House of Kolor Orange to make all the metal alterations come alive. Once the base paint dried, Kyle taped out some wicked tribal flame licks engulfing nearly the entire truck and filled the blazing fire in with House of Kolor Silver. The front end begins with orange-colored fire and flows into the silver blaze.
To finish off Kyle's amazing tribal artwork, the truck was delivered to Craig Frazier of Air Syndicate in Bakersfield, California, where Craig pinstriped the silver flames in purple and the orange ones in yellow using a chicken-scratch technique to make the licks pop even more. After the borders were established between the flames and the basecoat, the hot licks were shadowed in Magenta for increased depth. The edges were buried in loads of clear with red pearl by Deon Giliano of Kal Koncepts, also in Bakerfield. Kent picked up Blazing Saddle and drove it back to his shop, where the interior was transformed from stock and bland to bold and radical.
The inside confines of Blazing Saddle were first spiced up with a kick-tail, take-no-prisoners audio system designed for optimum driving enjoyment and listening pleasure. In the dash, tunes are received by a Pioneer Premier DEHP920R head unit, which delivers the jams to two Alpine Type-R 10-inch subwoofers mounted in a custom subwoofer enclosure under the back seat. Complementing all the bass are MB Quart mids and highs consisting of 6.5-inch speakers in the kick panels, 5-1/4-inch separates in the cab pillars, and a pair of separates in the doors. A four-channel 800-watt PPI amplifier powers the subs and helps execute all the thundering bass. The audio ensemble was installed at Kent's shop Krazy Kustomz in Bakersfield, California, before the truck was delivered to Car Craft down south for upholstery work.
Once the truck was dropped off at Car Craft, the professional fabric masters sewed up the seats and door panels in gray and orange pleather with sculptured flames burning through the door panels, seats, and headliner to continue the fiery theme inside. After the upholstery was sewn up the truck was driven back to Bakersfield, where K-Daddy did some mild painting on the dash bezel around the gauge cluster.
Once the threads were completed and Kent had a grin from ear to ear, a trip was made to Trenz Manufacturing in Bakersfield, where Doug DeBerti set Kent up with every single piece of billet aluminum imaginable. The cab received a billet iron cross mirror, billet pedals, billet shifter, billet dash kit, billet heater core cover, and billet doorsill plates. A Billet Specialties steering wheel tops the column and helps Kent navigate Blazing Saddle in the right direction. After all the billet was in to achieve a true street-rod look, all the factory glass was switched out in favor of clear glass, to give the truck a classy appearance.
Kent Porter has worked very hard to create a cutting-edge hauler packed with style and detail. He would like to thank Kyle "K-Daddy" Gann, Andy Pugh, Chris Gilkison, and Mick Wilcox for their help with the buildup. Since its completion, Blazing Saddle has been tearing it up at shows all over the west coast and snagging quite a bit of attention. Looks like Kent has his work cut out for him if he decides to tear it down again and try to top the current looks. We say leave well enough alone, Kent. You have yourself a winner!