Custom 2005 Cadillac Escalade ESV - El Mero Mero

The Boss Of All Customs

Kevin Aguilar
Sep 1, 2006
Photographers: Kevin Aguilar
Times are changing, and truck styles as we know them are evolving. Years ago, the criteria of a custom truck was to shave up the exterior and smack those rockers to the pavement. This may still be the standard of building, but there comes a time when it all becomes the norm and everything starts to look the same.
Photo 2/15   |   2005 Cadillac Escalade front Passenger Side View
Even though a body drop is a radical mod, it's become an ordinary thing. Because of this, you need innovators to step up the game with new ideas to take projects further than the average builder. It involves going outside the box and venturing further with new designs that push the limits. The process takes research and thought to put an idea together that will translate well onto your vehicle. Once you have your idea, it's still a risk to try something new because when no one has done it before there is a chance that it may not come out right. But, if all goes well and your idea comes to life, you will have a killer truck that stands above the rest.
For Rene Garza, Jr., it's more or less about lowriding in a new way than changing trends in the truck scene. Rene first got into lowriders with his friends, and it was all downhill from there. His first custom vehicle was an old-school Monte Carlo that he dumped major coinage into, making it a traditional cruiser. After a while, he got tired of rolling the outdated custom, and it was time to move on from there.
Photo 3/15   |   2005 Cadillac Escalade passenger Side View
Since his family is big in the health care business, turning the next project into a reality would be no sweat. On the flip side, being a part of a family with deep pockets can get you in even deeper trouble. Because the greenbacks were readily available to him, it was easy for Rene to tragically fall into a certain "dependency" and lead a path to unsafe waters. His father then realized the problem and did what any father would do for their own child by offering his helping hand at the time of need. Mr. Garza sat his son down and divulged to him that if he was to straighten up, the two of them would build a vehicle together.
As you can see, he took his father's advice to build the truck you see here. Since Rene was into the lowriding scene, he wanted to build a vehicle in that style. His father is one who will only buy new luxury vehicles, so they started out with a brand-spankin'-new Cadillac Escalade ESV for the project. Next on the list of things to do was to fully rebuild the truck with a better suspension, mobile entertainment system, bright upholstery, and of course, a balls-out custom paintjob.
Photo 4/15   |   2005 Cadillac Escalade suicide Door
Luckily for Rene, he read in one of our other Primedia magazines about Kandy Kustoms in Corpus Christi, Texas. He made a phone call to tell them how much cash was going to be dropped and if they could do what he envisioned for the project. Soon enough, the crew from the shop made a three-hour trip to Rene's home town of Edinburgh, Texas, to talk about what really could be done by the shop. Since the shop has a history of high-quality lowriders and could do everything in-house, the crew drove the Caddy to their shop that very night. Once it was at Kandy Kustoms, the crew put in a plethora of man hours to make everything so dead-on beautiful.
After five months of straight work, the truck was returned to the owner and he was completely blown away at the craziness and quality. Rene got his life back on track, and now he had a big source of encouragement. This amazingly cool truck puts a unique twist on the lowrider style that even sport truck lovers can appreciate. As the Cadillac merges two styles-sport trucks and lowriders-it breaks all the rules and creates its own along the way. It goes outside of the norm for sport trucks, but it shows how much more can really be done.
THE 411
Photo 14/15   |   2005 Cadillac Escalade rear View
Owner/hometown: Rene Garza, Jr. / Edinburgh, Texas
Year/make/model: '05 Cadillac Escalade ESV
Engine/drivetrain: Vortec 6.0L V-8 / automatic transmission / working full-time all-wheel-drive
Wheels/tires: Giovanna Lido / 305/30R26 Kumho
Suspension: Showtime 3/8-inch valves / two 5-gallon tanks / two Viair compressors / (Front) 2,600-pound Firestone airbags / custom-made front airbag brackets to allow for AWD system / (Rear) 2,600-pound Firestone airbags / over-axle 'bag brackets
Fabricator: Cadillac Mark of Kandy Kustoms in Corpus Christi, Texas
Interior: Gucci material on seats and door panels / 'glassed and painted dash and custom console
Body Mods: Underside of hood shaved / reworked body / Stylin' Concepts vertical grille / custom engraving on bumper by Gilbert Cortez
Custom Paint: House of Kolor Ruby Red, Apple Red, Brandy Wine, and Crimson red, provided by Extreme Tools & Paint / custom murals by John Saenz of Kandy Kustoms
Body/Paintwork: Randy Rodriguez and John Votello / Fabian Villarreal aka "the Candyman" of Kandy Kustoms in Corpus Christi, Texas
Photo 15/15   |   2005 Cadillac Escalade emblem
Upholsterer: Jeff of Kandy Kustoms in Corpus Christi, Texas
Audio/video: Custom fiberglassed subwoofer housing / Clarion head unit / Audiobahn 12-inch subwoofers / Audiobahn 6x9-inch mids and highs / Audiobahn 1300 Hct Amplifiers
Installer: Andy McCleary of Kandy Kustoms in Corpus Christi, Texas
Club: Rollerz Only

2015 Cadillac Escalade Specifications

Fair Market Price $67,800
MSRP $72,970
Editors' Overall Rating
Mileage 15 City / 21 Highway
Engine 6.2L V8
Horse Power 420 hp @ 5,600 rpm
Torque 460 ft lb of torque @ 4,100 rpm
See all Specifications
Truck Trend Network


Cadillac Escalade

Fair Market Price
Editors' Overall Rating
Basic Specifications
MSRP: $72,970
Mileage: 15 / 21
Engine: 6.2L V8
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