Customized 2001 Chevy Silverado - It's Shotyme
There is a definite sense of pride working on one's own projects. Whether in partial or in whole, a hands-on approach will make the build process so much more rewarding, and the accompanying bragging rights must surely be a plus. Russell Estes and his pal Joe Johnston know the highs of self-gratification. The pair built Russell's 2001 Chevrolet Silverado almost entirely themselves after work and on the weekends. It was a long road to hoe.
Under the truck, the job at hand called for a reduction in ride height with adjustability. A complete AirRide Technologies suspension system was laid across the floor and, one piece at a time, installed in place of the factory equipment that was being removed. A front CoolRide kit with StrongArm upper and lower A-arms hold Firestone airbags in place of the stock coils. A bit of extra drop stems from DJM 2-inch drop spindles. Instead of leaf springs out back, Russell and Joe bolted up an AirBar four-link. AirRide shocks keep each corner under bounce control. Two 5-gallon tanks, two Viair 400 compressors, and an assortment of 1/2-inch valves and air lines supply air to the system. Russell controls the whole shebang in-cab utilizing a Dakota Digital gauge. Glamorous 22-inch Dante Tease wheels covered in 265/35ZR22 Pirelli Scorpions complete the rolling hardware.
Russell ordered the truck with the healthy 5.3L V-8 but felt it could use just a tad more oomph. Breathing duties are handled with a K&N FIPK intake setup and a Flowmaster 3-inch after-cat exhaust. To compensate for the additional breathing ability, Russell and Joe turned to Hypertech for one of its tuners to redistribute the fuel curve accordingly. Knowing a jamming sound system was to be installed at a later date, the duo bolted on a 220-amp Delphi alternator and a yellow-top Optima battery. Underhood gleam and beauty is supplied by a polished upper radiator hose and fuse box cover, as well as a painted Cadillac Escalade engine cover, coolant cover, and radiator support cover.
With the rolling truck ready for some exterior modifications, a favor was called in to Moore's Bodyshop in Coker, Alabama, because, you see, Joe is the owner's son-in-law. Russell and Joe were on strict orders not to disrupt the normal daily workflow, so tedious nights and weekends were spent away from their respective families to get the Bow Tie done. And, as has been the norm thus far, the two friends went at it like they knew no bounds. They shaved just about everything sticking out, including the mirrors, taillights, antenna, door handles, fuel filler door, and tailgate handle.
On the Sportside beds the sides are composite, not metal, so shaving the fuel filler door and taillights required Russell to create his own filler panels from scratch. Continuing the smooth theme, the rear bumper was swapped for a Street Scene fiberglass roll pan, as was the wiper cowl. A Good Hood with functional ram air was installed to cover the motor, and a Gaylord's tonneau covers the bed, while a Keystone front-bumper cover and Xenon body kit cover the rest of the gap between the body and ground.
Ready for color, the truck received a few coats of Dupont Indigo Blue as a base before House of Kolor Plum Crazy and Fuchsia Hiss were spread out across the nose in a flame pattern. House of Kolor Iguana Green stripes up, surrounds, and contains the bright hot heat. Polished bits of metal are applied to certain areas to further the hot new look of the truck. Beginning at the nose, a DJ Motorsports flame grille insert was added surrounded by APC clear corner lights. Trenz was sourced for billet wiper shaft covers, bed steps, and license plate frame, with an All Sales flamed third brake light cover adding to the look. A Line of Fire LED is fit between the tailgate and roll pan for actual taillight use.
With the exterior handled, the boys turned their attention to Russell's interior real estate. Kenny Long of Long's Glass and Custom Upholstery out of Vernon, Alabama, handled all the stitchwork of the ultraleather gracing the inside of the Chevy. Kenny's talents can be seen on the flamed headliner, door panels, seats, and all the trim. Popping the tonneau cover reveals more of the nicely stitched leather among the shine of polished diamond-plate panels. Par for the course, Russell and Joe tackled just about everything else. Customizing even further, they smoothed and painted the dash, door panel inserts, and even hand-made the center console and thunderous subwoofer enclosure before matching them to the Dupont Indigo Blue.
As if there weren't enough hot licks already, Russell created the fiberglass flame erupting from the stock grab handle on the dashboard. Before Russell could call it quits, the truck was hauled off to Sounds Great Stereo in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where "Scooter" wired up and installed all the multimedia gear. The head unit is a fully automated Kenwood Excelon 6-1/2-inch touch screen with DVD, TV, CD, MP3, and AM/FM capability. One additional Vision video screen is mounted where the passenger airbag once resided. Two Audiobahn 2400-watt amplifiers and an Audiobahn 40-farad capacitor rock the house.
Unleashing that fury into Russell-pleasing melodies are two Audiobahn 12-inch and two 15-inch subs. The rest of the stereo is also Audiobahn products but much smaller and they fill all the factory voids. Headed for completion, the dynamic duo put it into overdrive and headed for the billet parts bin once more. Trenz got the nod for a billet flamed center dash cover, headlight panel, climate control panel, cargo panel, shifter, heater box cover, flame door panel covers, flame rearview mirror, flame pedals, and flame door sill plates. Empire Motor Sports was sourced for their billet power-window panels and headlight knob with Billet Specialties being the go to for billet dash knobs.
Finally, a Willmore billet kick panel set, Naiser Racing billet steering wheel, and All Sales billet AC knobs were set in place, and the bell was finally rung, signifying the end of the madness. Without a lot of experience in the paint and body area of truck-building, Russell Estes turned to his talented friends Joe Johnston and John Moore for help. The result of such a learning experience is a truck he can puff his chest over and be proud of because he did it himself. Russell thanks his wife, Kristy; son, Dawson; friend Joe Johnston; his father-in-law, John Moore; and last but not least, Tony at AirRide Technologies. Let this truck be your inspiration that you can do it yourself, as a little knowledge can be parlayed with others' knowledge to create the vision that is to be your sweet-looking ride.