2004 Chevy Avalanche - Rags 2 Riches

More than Skin Deep

Dan Ward
Aug 9, 2007
Photographers: Dan Ward
Photo 2/10   |   2004 Chevy Avalanche Escalade Conversion left Front Angle
Two years ago, we ran into Franciso Aguilar at a SoCal truck show, and while looking at his two-tone ride we felt it had potential. At first glance, you may think his '04 Chevy Avalanche is a Cadillac Escalade EXT with a body kit, and well, you'd be somewhat right. Francisco's truck underwent a huge transformation from a daily-driven truck to a trophy-winning showpiece. This is a great example of what can happen when your truck goes from rags to riches.
We made several recommendations to Cisco about his ride and he humbly took all of them to heart. After several e-mails and phone calls, we got the one we'd been waiting on when Cisco said, "It's done." Meeting up with him, the Avalanche had really come together and is ready for its 15 minutes of fame. Starting with the body, Diamond Auto Body in Long Beach started with the '04 Avalanche sheetmetal and quickly tore into it, converting the front end to the '04 Cadillac Escalade. He also added JT Autostyle EVO 6 front and rear bumpers, a JT Autostyle body kit, an ESV Platinum grille, and clear taillights from In Pro Car Wear. While at Diamond Auto Body, the door handles were shaved and an original Escalade roof rack was added, along with clear headlights by JRS Kustom Lights. The clean two-tone paint scheme was applied by Trends in Bakersfield, California, and consists of PPG Electric Blue, Viper Silver, and green pinstriping.
Photo 3/10   |   2004 Chevy Avalanche Escalade Conversion right Rear Angle
Inside the shaved doors is an interior with just a little bit of blue added. Smoothed and painted blue dash, blue suede covering the lower dash panels, doors, headliner, and visors match the blue carpet kit. California Upholstery in Bell Gardens, California, also recovered the factory seats with blue suede, blue stingray, blue eel, and yes, even blue ostrich. For the amount of blue involved, the interior is actually very much livable. Sound is provided by an Alpine CA-9857 head unit sending signals to three Alpine M1001 amps that push three Alpine 12-inch Type-X subs and Alpine components in the factory locations. Custom Dimensions in La Puente, California, built the audio system and also wired up the nine Farenheit monitors throughout the cab. A Sony PS2 provides DVD playback and gaming for all the occupants.
Photo 4/10   |   2004 Chevy Avalanche Escalade Conversion wheel Detail
Under the Cadillac hood lies a 5.3L V-8, which is complete with an Escalade engine cover that was smoothed and painted. Adding some ponies to the Escalade clone is the addition of a K&N intake, Gibson headers, and a MagnaFlow exhaust system. Three Optima batteries keep the tunes playing during all of the shows. Cisco's ride was now closing in on the finish line, but it was missing a custom suspension.
Curing the stock blues, the Chevy was driven to SIK Fabrications in Chino, California, where the crew bolted on a set of Contitech airbags, Doetsch shocks, and a rear cantilever setup. Filling the fender gap are 26-inch TIS wheels with painted accents mounted on 305/35R26 Pirelli tires.
Talking with Cisco about his 2-1/2 year journey, we think he said it like a veteran, "Anyone can go and buy a Cadillac Escalade, but to convert a Chevrolet Avalanche into one with your own personal touch, that is what customizing is all about." We couldn't agree more.

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