One Sinister, Six-Wheeled Stunner
Take one '01 Chevy HD Crew Cab dualie, shave a few things, toss on some wild paint, stuff the cab with custom threads and a sound system, and airbag it over 24-inch wheels and tires and what have you got? One of the coolest late-model Chevy dualies to ever drag onto the custom truck scene.
Matt Spence of The Woodlands, Texas, is no stranger to the pages of Truckin'. His last custom creation graced the popular Water Toys section of the magazine back in the Mar. '04 issue and featured a custom Ford Expedition and matching Jet Ski planted atop a custom trailer with chrome rollers and flame-licked fenders. Based on Matt's customizing past and the rides that currently occupy his garage, it came as no surprise to the Truckin' staff when this 1-ton busted out at last year's Texas Extreme Show. Of course, hanging out with the skilled suspension fabricators at Ektensive Metalworks in Houston doesn't hurt. Bill Carlton and the boys at EM were not scared to unleash their fabrication skills and go wild with the welder on this beast. The word no is not in the the EM team's vocabulary, so when Matt commissioned them to lay this land yacht on the tarmac, the truck could not be cut up fast enough.
To allow the front suspension to kiss the asphalt, custom upper and lower control arms were fabricated, and the upper arms were moved up 2 inches. Custom tie rod end spacers corrected geometry, while Firestone 3,500-pound airbags provide a smooth ride and allow the front fenders to close in on the huge rolling stock. KYB shocks smooth out any bumps and dips the dualie may encounter while Matt is cruising to events near and far. With the goal of stuffing a massive wheel and tire package established, the firewall was tubbed, and custom fenderwells were built to accommodate the bold hoops and skins. Once the nose was dialed and the front suspension put its signature down on the Texas soil, the Ektensive crew moved to the rear and sliced into the truck's frame.
A custom step notch was built to accept a removable tubular gooseneck, designed for hauling a fifth-wheel trailer. This dualie was built to show and tow. More than 60 feet of pipe was bent, cut, notched, and welded together to create the one-off tubular crossmember and gooseneck hitch. A pair of 4,500-pound Firestone airbags, mounted to a narrowed rearend, perform lifting and lowering duties, while working in harmony with a chrome-plated four-link rear suspension setup. The link bars were reinforced to handle the intense towing demands Matt had planned for this extra-heavy Chevy.
Air on demand is supplied by a Thomas 4101 air compressor filling a 7-gallon tank, which gets oxygen flowing to the Firestone bellows through four GC 450 valves and 1/2-inch copper hard line. A custom air gauge and switch panel mounted in the overhead console receives height commands from Matt's itchy trigger finger. In order to stuff the rear 24s deep into the fenders, the factory wheelwells were modified to provide more breathing room. Beginning with a set 24-1/2-inch Alcoa dualie wheels, the lips were machined down to accommodate the tires, and then the face of the aluminum spools were machined for a flat look. Cooper P295/35R24 tires were shoehorned onto the reworked Alcoas, and the whole frame-punishing package was delivered to South Coast Customs for some subtle exterior smoothing.
Going for bold visual impact, Matt chose classic traditional flames filled with custom airbrushing to light up the sides of his rim-stuffing Crew Cab. A few body alterations were needed to clean up the dualie's exterior before Chris Gilbert and Shane Barnes at South Coast Customs took to the task of smoothing the stock landscape. First to be subtracted from the factory equation were the tailgate handle and emblems, while a Sir Michaels steel roll pan was molded in to replace the bulky factory rear bumper. Complementing the bed treatment are smoothed and plastic-welded bedrails and '04 Chevy truck taillights. Moving forward, the factory mirrors and front bumper were smoothed off to help them flow better with the arrow-straight body. Chris and Shane coated the truck in deep black PPG liquid from the beltline and up to create a classy two-tone for the wildfire to blaze across.
The truck's next alteration appointment was with Pat Maxwell of Maxwell Designs in Spring, Texas, where the licks were laid out and filled in with color. On the traditional blaze is a House of Kolor blend that created the eggshell-white hue used--along with some extensive airbrushing--to get the desired bone effect Matt seems to use on all of his creations. House of Kolor Orange and Green striping were chosen to border the burn patterns and add strong definition to each twist and turn of the interweaving inferno. Upon Pat's last stroke of the pinstriping brush, the truck was delivered back to South Coast Customs where all the wicked paintwork was doused in clear, color-sanded, and rubbed to a fine shine.