One Rocker-Eating '99 Chevy
When the decision is made to add an adjustable suspension system to your truck, it only seems logical to go the extra mile -- by that, we mean a body drop. There are certainly a couple of ways of doing a body drop, but whichever you choose, you are making sure your truck lays frame. As you hit the switch to put your ride to the ground, it is satisfying to feel the rocker tap out on the pavement beneath your asphalt-pounding ride. Rich Stultz, Jr. of Fredericksburg, Virginia, is a rocker-laying truck owner. His '99 Chevy Silverado is definitely dragging bottom.
Rich started his custom truck endeavor with the purchase of a brand-new stock Silverado standard cab, fit with 4.3L V-6 under the hood -- a blank canvas for a truck builder's palette. Kustomwerks of Union City, Tennessee, got the bid to be the fabrication central headquarters for Rich's Bow Tie. Starting with the front suspension, McGaughy's 2-inch drop spindles lead the way toward terra firma, and keeping pace are 2,600-pound airbags. Rolling stock for the front is a pair of 20x8.5-inch Boze Stixx Six stuffed inside Pirelli P255/35R20 performance tires. At the rear of the Silverado, Kustomwerks fit a two-link to the frame and axle, before mounting some 2,600-pound airbags for ride and drop action. This time, 22-inch Stixx Sixes are in place turning Pirelli P295/35R22 rubber bands.
Plumbing for this truck's suspension system starts with two Viair compressors huffing and puffing into one 7-gallon storage tank. From there, 3/8-inch air line feeds eight SMC 3/8-inch valves, which in turn make the 'bags do their dance. Now laying frame is nothing to sneeze at, but Kustomwerks knew it was all or nothing. With welders and cutters at the ready, the crew laid the rockers flat on the floor with a 2.75-inch stock floor body drop and didn't look back. With all the precision of a surgical team, the dust settled and it was done. The finishing touch for the chassis work is an 18-gallon fuel cell to replace the low-lying stock unit.
After Round One with Kustomwerks' chassis changes, it was off to Red Lion, Pennsylvania, for a meeting with Shawn Eimenheiser of Eimenheiser Auto Body. Shawn put a lock-down on the rear of the bed by removing the factory bumper and welding a smooth roll pan in its place. Not done there, Shawn also welded the tailgate closed and attached it to the roll pan for a finished look. The stake pockets are also enclosed, and topping the newly modified bed is a Gaylord's tonneau cover. Shawn worked a bit of flair in the mix and placed an '03 Cadillac De Ville third brake light into the rear roofline of the cab.
Leading this package through the wind is a cowl-induction hood and a Tahoe grille shell fit with billet inserts, a billet Bow Tie, and clear corners. Mark Long and Kenny Dean of Razor Graphics, out of Fredericksburg, were the painters of choice. After covering the recently completed bodywork, stock door handles, and upper bumper cap with the original factory hue, it was time to move on to the graphics for Mark and Kenny, and they didn't disappoint. Individual steel plates were airbrushed, complete with rivets before stripes, and flames were laid out in bold greens, oranges, and pinks. The color adornment is masked around the entire bottom of the truck and the center of the cowl hood in a tear-away fashion. With exterior treatments aplenty, what of the interior?
In Stafford, Virginia, you will find interior specialists by the name of Coachcraft, and it was Grizz at the helm for the interior of Rich's show truck. The interior is a sea of tweed. Gray and blue tweed are stitched harmoniously together, coating the seats, door panels, floor mats, headliner, and pillars. The rough material is also strewn across the handmade center console, the back wall of the cab, and the one-off sub enclosure behind the seat. Anything that does not have tweed on it is either painted or billet. This interior makes a statement for sure. A Colorado Custom flame steering wheel maneuvers this rig, while white-face gauges show the driver pertinent information. To add a cherry to this rolling cake seems hard to do, but the banging sound system comes pretty close. To the forefront of audio bliss is an Alpine flip-face head unit turning digital information into ear-filling sound. Orion 6.5-inch separates fit in the stock door locations, and two 10-inch Orion subwoofers are affixed in a box, beating into the driver and passenger's backs. Adding bleeding decibel screams to the system are Orion amplifiers, and credit goes to Shawn Jacobs for installation time.
Under the cowl-induction hood lies a V-6, but, of course, it couldn't go untouched with all the detailing surrounding the rest of the truck. Right off the bat, your eye will catch the snaking chrome piping that feeds fresh air to the intake through a K&N air filter. Don't miss the billet covers on the A/C piping, and, of course, the shiny metal is crowning the master cylinder and power box as well. In addition, the hood-to-cowl braces that are factory-stamped pieces have been replaced with one-off billet machined items. Since this truck is body-dropped, the seemingly empty engine compartment had to have some of its equipment relocated and wires re-routed to accommodate the intrusion of the front wheels and tires at full tuck.
It took Rich three years to see his plan to fruition, but was is worth the wait? You bet it was. In that time span, Rich has seen quite a few folks lending a hand in building his vision. To those people, Rich would like to give a round of applause. Larry with Boze, Jay at Mac Products, everyone in Rich's truck club Exclusive Styles, Shawn at Eimenheiser Auto Body, Mark and Kenny with Razor Graphics, Tom and Joe at Pro Trucks, Coachcraft's employee Grizz, Shawn Jacobs on audio, Eric and Matt filling in at Kustomwerks, True Billet, and, last but not least, Rich would like to give a big hug to his wife Darlene because we all know how difficult it is to have a relationship and a project.
With the completion of this truck, Rich tells us he is already knee-deep in another project, and it is slated to do some time at Kustomwerks, as we speak. What is it you ask? You'll have to wait and see. For now, flip back through this feature and take another look at this bottom-draggin' machine. You may have overlooked something.