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2004 Cadillac Escalade - Phoenix

Rising From The Ashes

Dan Ward
Jan 1, 2009
Photographers: Dan Ward
Photo 2/22   |   2004 Cadillac Escalade left Side Angle
Building a truck that stands at the pinnacle is a daunting task. Being up top can be a lonely place, but the journey getting there can make all those feelings wash away with a Best of Show award. Matt Spence, of San Antonio, understands what it takes to build a topnotch truck, as several of his rides have been featured on our cover. What no one expected was the determination he possessed in getting back to the top once his Cadillac was damaged. Once a custom truck mega star, his laid out Escalade was in pieces after an unfortunate accident. No worries, because the Phoenix rose from the ashes and turned out to be better than ever.
Photo 3/22   |   How the Escalade looked in '06.
A quick recap of what it took to make an Escalade literally rest on the Texas pavement takes us to Ekstensive Metalworks, in Houston. There, Bill Carlton and his crew used mandrel bent 2x4-inch boxed steel and tubular body and transmission mounts to bring the rockers close to the ground. Helping the hauler get even lower, Firestone 'bags were bolted to each corner along with one of Ekstensive's signature two-link rear setups. Thomas compressors and G.C.valves ensure all Ekstensive's hard work stays going up and down. We dubbed it "the Worlds Lowest Escalade back in '06 and we haven't coma across a lower one yet. That's where the old story ends. The new chapter of this Cadillac begins and here, where things get very interesting.
With the front end damaged, Matt took the opportunity to fill the void with the latest and greatest parts available from Cadillac. This meant an '08 front end would need to be strategically placed onto the '04 Escalade body. Paul Brown, from from South Coast Customs, in The Woodlands, Texas, handled this admirable and time-consuming task as he eliminated the wipers and wiper motor, and grafted the cowl to the fenders to make room for the extra large hood. Speaking of that hood, it was given the forward-tilting treatment and the fenders received old school styled flares. Because of the slammed stance, 31/2 inches of the front bumper were removed and the beautiful factory Cadillac grille was left unmolested. Other mods included molding the rear bumper to the body, shaving the door handles, and shaving the rear wiper motor. Now the parts were on the Escalade but with a new front clip in primer, new paint was necessary.
Photo 10/22   |   2004 Cadillac Escalade airbrushed Hood
Chris Gilbert, from South Coast Customs, sprayed the PPG Red Jewel paint onto every panel. Max Maxwell then stepped in and went crazy applying the traditional flame licks with devil tails flowing up the side of the Caddy. Max then went off the chain with his airbrush and covered the Escalade in tru fire with skulls and poor unfortunate souls from front to back. On the hood, an airbrushed mural of a demon ablaze in an inferno of hell really gets the point across.
After having the new look of the Escalade completed, Matt turned to installer and fabricator Shawn Karl, who owns South Texas Xtreme Liners, in San Antonio. Matt wanted skulls to seem as if they were coming from the center console, and Shawn pulled it off using Halloween skulls and fiberglassing them into the huge console. That console also houses two 11-inch screens, an air pressure gauge, air switches, and P/A system. The dash was removed, fiberglassed to accommodate a 22-inch Accele screen, and painted Jewel Red, along with the door panels, pillars, and new sub box. That sub box is the home to four JL Audio 131/2-inch W7 subs and four JL Audio amps in the rear. Pulling out all the stops, Matt had Shawn and his buddy Alex wire up an original Atari 2600 by using a power inverter and coax demodulator so each screen can watch Frogger being played. Old school!
Other wild interior mods included completely redoing the seats, headliner, and door inserts in black alligator by Advanced Auto Trim. A Carnage billet steering wheel from B.A.D. controls the driver input and a Pioneer DVD head unit controls the audio. More paint was brought into the interior providing a seamless transition from outside to inside.
Powering the Caddy is a 6.0L equipped with a Pro Charger supercharger with an LS-1 intake manifold, and Street and Performance wiring harness and programming from Frank Peden. Covering the power is a fiberglass intake cover created by Paul Brown and airbrushed to match the new paint scheme. Capping off the new look are 26-inch Dagger wheels from Lexani with Kumho 305/30R26 tires. That addition made a huge difference in the overall look of the Caddy. Helping the Escalade stop with improved confidence are big brakes from Baer.
It took about eight months from being bummed out about the accident to being excited about the progress and completed look of a ride Matt affectionately named the Eschellayed. Rising from the ashes, this Caddy may just burn the competition to the ground. Matt would like to thank Uresti's, Naomi, and his kids for their support.



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