1995 Chevy C1500 - Conversion Factor

Full-Bore Cadillac Makeover

Brandan GilloglyDec 15, 2008
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There aren't many ways to dramatically alter the look of your truck, at least in a good way, in a hurry. We're talking about more than the kinds of things we cover in a Fantastic Four. Yes, a static drop and some wheels and tires make a big impression, but to really change the personality of a truck, the best way is often only a few body panels away. Swapping on a Cadillac Escalade front clip is nothing new, but most conversions stop there. The result is a whole new look that can use factory parts for simplicity; it's a win-win.
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When Robert Meza, owner of Alamo Customs in Alvin, Texas, wanted to showcase his shop's talent, he wanted to show that the popular Escalade conversion was no problem. Of course customers can get more than just new panels and paint, so his conversion went the full distance. With a 2000 Escalade front clip bolted on up front, the real finesse work came to play, as you'll notice that there's no gap between body and bumper. For the rear, a combo skin was sectioned and set back between Deville taillights to create a more authentic Cadillac tail. While they were at it, Robert Meza and Geraldo Llamas recessed a Cadillac license plate mount/reverse light into the center of the tailgate skin. The guys also shaved the handles, capped the stake pockets, and skinned the inside of the bed in sheetmetal. A quick trip to Johnson Paint Supply in Dickinson, Texas, netted Robert some custom-mixed PPG red pearl that Robert sprayed himself.
For the right stance, Robert turned to Juan Sorto at Excruciating Metalworks in Alvin, Texas. Juan employed Belltech drop spindles and Slam Specialties 'bags mounted in custom airbag cups to drop the truck. The two bed-mounted compressors and tanks fill the 'bags via 1/2-inch line and GC valves. The rear suspension uses a two-link trailing arm setup and a C-notch to tuck the rear axle into the frame. The gas tank was sectioned to make up for the new, lowered stance, but the work paid off, as Robert was able to bolt on color-matched Boyd Coddington Ronco wheels, 20x9 in the front and 22x10 in the rear. Nitto 35-series NT-420 tires were used front and rear, with 265s on front and 285s in back.
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With the body and wheels sprayed, Robert was just warmed up, as the spray gun was still full and he had an entire interior and engine bay to go. Mr. Meza teamed up with Robert Rivers for both, as Rivers' Auto built an engine cover and also upholstered the Chevy's seats with vanilla leather and covered the headliner with vanilla suede. Keeping with the luxury theme, Bentley carpet was smoothed over the floor and custom emblems were made for the seats. Rivers' Auto also took on the audio system, as a 10-inch monitor was mounted into the dash and 6-inch monitors went into the doors. An Alpine head unit was mounted in the custom center console and JL Audio speakers replaced stock pieces in the dash and doors. Finally, two 10W3 subs were mounted behind the seats to round out the audio experience.
Robert Meza's Chevy is now a perfect example of what can be accomplished by a great body shop: the best of what the factory has to offer along with custom metalwork to finish the look.

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