1999 Chevy Crew Cab Dualie - Dragged At Length
Where You End Up When Stock Just Doesn't Cut It
After building a couple of vehicles that turn heads regularly, the need to top the last emerges from one's psyche. Successive vehicles start to snowball rapidly into a seemingly never-ending spiral of modification after modification. And in the end, some point will stand out that could have been changed to suit the overall scheme of things. What's a person to do? Nothing, just build it again.
That is exactly what Michael McKeska of Stoutsville, Ohio, did when he purchased a '99 Chevy Crew Cab dualie. Michael reflected on his previously built vehicles and started to come up with ever-twisting ideas about what he wanted to do. And the snowballing began. To get the big, bad dualie down to size, that twisted plan included cutting the frame from the firewall back and scrapping it. From the cut-back, Michael himself fabricated an entirely new, fully boxed frame, using 3x5-inch box tubing. The rest of the front frame stub was Z'd to facilitate laying the big rig flat out. Belltech 3-inch drop spindles found their way to replace the stock counterparts, and going from dropped to sky-high is done with Slam Specialties ES-82 'bags. A parallel four-link with a Panhard bar resides out back, actuated by semi-truck triple-bellows airbags. A monster bridge creates the necessary room to mount the gargantuan 22-inch lift 'bags. After all the welding and fabrication were completed on the frame, it was then painted pewter to match the OE exterior color. The old-school look adorns the frame, due to the use of hot rod pinstriping. The rest of the air system is contained in the Rhino-lined bed. Two painted Viair compressors feed one 12-gallon air tank through all-stainless hard lines. Big chrome 19x7-inch APP wheels, wrapped in 245/45R19 Pirelli tires, make up the six-wheel rolling stock. Once the suspension was settled down off the jackstands and the air dumped from the 1/2-inch Parker valve-equipped rubber bellows, Michael couldn't help but notice the frame sat squarely on terra firma, but the body was way too high from the ground. With the snowballing in full effect, he re-situated the truck back in the shop and promptly body-dropped the hauler 4 inches. Laying rocker on 19s? Mission accomplished.
Believe it or not, not all 1-ton trucks from the General came with 454ci big-blocks. This long rig actually has a 350ci V-8. To make some attempt at motivating all the truck's weight into forward motion, Michael took apart the motor and did a full port and polish job on the heads. Once reassembled, an entirely fresh, mandrel-bent 3-inch exhaust system was fit tightly under the new frame and body drop. To clean things up in the engine bay, inner fender panels were constructed from trailer fenders, and the Optima RedTop battery was relocated under the bed. Flex-a-lite fans replace the stock clutch fan, and a completely custom intake and engine cover were made, incorporating a dual-snorkel air-intake system, finishing things off under the hood.
Stock just doesn't cut it with Mr. McKeska, so off came the OE front clip, and in its place are mostly Cadillac Escalade pieces. The hood is actually from Pro Glass, the one-off grille was handcrafted by Travis Evans in Columbus, Ohio, and the Caddy-esque front bumper is actually three different bumpers cut and welded together to form the right fitment. More body mods ensued with a smooth shave on the agenda. Off came the door handles, tailgate handle, fuel door, taillights, and radio antenna. On went a rear cab bodyline, rear roll pan, taillight fillers, and stake bed hole fillers. The fuel-filler door found its new home in the bed. For lighting needs, Hitech LEDs were flush-mounted in the roll pan. Airtight Grafix of Columbus, Ohio, was responsible for the flawlessly supple House of Kolor pewter and nose-enhanced black flame job.
Although the exterior is absolutely eye-catching, the interior is a major player in what makes this truck so sweet. With ideas still driving him crazy, Michael dropped off the dualie with the capable crew at Trent's Trick Upholstery in Baltimore, Maryland, for a maddening interior makeover. It's not that the seats were bad or anything, but the GM seats were tossed aside to make way for four street rod buckets. Bright-red leather with embossing envelops the seats, while football-style stitching in black leather runs the perimeter of each seat. ACC hook-and-loop carpet in matching red runs the length and width of the cab floor, while more leather wraps the dash, door panels, and smoothed headliner in luxury. What isn't wrapped in leather is painted to coordinate. A very large center console runs the length of the cab, but what sets it apart is the 10-inch-wide metal strip painted satin black by Aaron Lynch and pinstriped in classic hot-rod style by Li'l Bill. As a matter of fact, the handmade steering wheel was also pinstriped by Bill. On the list of additional players supporting the build of the Chevy are Stereo Dave and Traffic Jamz. Traffic Jamz had its hands busy running the wires necessary to make sound appear, while Stereo Dave put together the enclosure for the subwoofer. In the dash is a Pioneer flip TV with JL Audio separates in the doors. A JL Audio 10-inch sub finds a home in the recesses of the dualie. The sound system isn't overkill but just right.
Overall, Michael originally bought the truck and did a mild drop on it so he could tow his trailer with it. But, as we have all experienced, sometimes things just get out of control. In all, we're told that the truck took three years to complete, and almost all the work was done in the confines of Michael's two-car garage. Not many people with a truck as detailed as this can boast that. Michael has a few buddies who pitched in, and he opens his arms to Trent's Trick Upholstery, Progressive Automotive, Airtight Grafix, Jamie, Travis, Aaron Lynch, Snokey, Li'l Bill, Guy, Stereo Dave, and Traffic Jamz. As we've said before, we just can't get enough of dumped dualies, and this fine example just fuels our fires of desire.