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2003 Chevy Silverado Stepside - Culture Shock

This Chevy Silverado Opened Art Sanchez's Eyes To A Whole New World

Kevin Aguilar
Mar 1, 2009
Photographers: Kevin Aguilar
Photo 2/11   |   2003 Chevy Silverado Stepside front Right View
Art Sanchez * Fresno, California
'03 Chevy Silverado Stepside

When Art Sanchez of Fresno, California, purchased this truck brand-new from the dealership, he had no idea that it would go through a whirlwind of work that ultimately turned it into the custom vehicle you see here. At the time, Art had just graduated high school and scored himself employment at his father's grocery store. He needed his own mode of transportation and was interested in purchasing an affordable new vehicle that still offered some performance. Because Art is over 6 feet tall and most sports cars are made small, he decided to go with this more spacious Chevy Silverado.
Since there are a lot of agriculture jobs in Fresno, there is an abundance of trucks on the road in that particular region. Of course, when there are tons of people driving generally the same vehicle, there are bound to be those of us who want ours to be different. Art chose a standard-cab version of the truck with a Stepside bed. Though it was already more distinctive, he wanted to make it look a little better than stock. By treating his Silverado to a 2/4 drop and slapping on a set of 22-inch wheels, Art had a truck that didn't look like all the others roaming his hometown. Though it was very mild for a custom truck, this Chevy was cleaner than most and Art was satisfied with it for the time being.
Photo 3/11   |   2003 Chevy Silverado Stepside rear Left View
As he became more familiar with custom trucks, Art wanted to do more things to his Chevy, like clean up the back end with a roll pan. To get a quote on the job, he went to the Hot Rod Shop. Because it was a local place that did high-quality work. Once he pulled in the parking lot, he couldn't help himself from staring at Jay Martinez's wildly customized '99 Chevy Silverado. If you're not familiar with the truck, it is slammed to the ground with airbags, has an '02 Avalanche front end grafted-on, and graced the cover of this magazine twice. It is one of those trucks that can grab anyone's attention, including those who are not into highly modified trucks.
After Art was finished drooling over Jay's truck, he walked inside the shop to see about getting his truck worked on. Since the mods Art wanted included bodywork, the entire bed would need to be repainted. Because this is a lot of work to do for such a small mod, Jay suggested that he would be better off shaving more stuff and repainting the entire truck. That way, spending a bit more money would make Art's truck even more custom and in turn it would really stand out.
Photo 4/11   |   2003 Chevy Silverado Stepside custom Interior
Art eventually decided to shoot the moon and had the shop completely revamp his Chevy's exterior. At the Hot Rod Shop, the crew worked the body straight and shaved the door handles, third brake light, and tailgate handle. Then to clean up the plastic bed, they used raw fiberglass and resin to shave the steps and graft on a roll pan. When all of the bodywork was done, Jay coated the exterior in a White Diamond Pearl paint that is found on Cadillac Escalades. After the basecoat was dry, the truck was trailered to Kool Hand Luke of Kool Hand Kreazions for a mean flamejob. Though Art wanted flames exactly like those Luke did on Jay's truck, Luke insisted on changing them up and painting them in blue while giving them depth with detailed airbrush work. When the blue paint was dry, Luke unmasked the truck and pinstriped the flames in light blue. Then, the Chevy was taken back to the Hot Rod Shop for its final coat of clear paint.
With the paintjob finished, Art was very happy to have his truck back because it looked totally different. Since the paint came out stunning, Art decided to really go for it and finish the rest of the vehicle. The next thing on the list was an overhaul of the interior that would make everything on the inside flow with the outside. Art wanted to paint the majority of the interior plastics in the same white. At the time, the Hot Rod Shop closed its doors, and Jay Martinez opened up his own autobody business. Knowing this, Art took his truck to Jay, who gutted the interior and painted the dash and all the other hard plastics. During this time, Art upgraded the sound system and made a center console to fit two Kicker subwoofers and a Kenwood head unit. Then, Big Daddy Upholstery took over to cover everything else in either blue or white materials.
Photo 5/11   |   2003 Chevy Silverado Stepside custom Graphics
Though Art's truck was refinished with paint and interior work, it still sat pretty high on a mildly lowered suspension. In the beginning, Art wasn't considering going super low because of the horror stories he'd heard of trucks having problems with airbags. However, the truck already looked dramatically different so Jay suggested that it should be airbagged and assured him that with good work, the truck would be reliable. Using his advice, Art took the truck to DND Fabrications for air ride. Inside the shop, Donald and Danny fitted new control arms and a set of Slam Specialties airbags up front. Then, the rear of the frame was notched for increased axle travel, and the leaf-spring suspension was replaced by a four-link and another set of Slam 'bags.
By the time the suspension was done, this truck was shaping up to be one nice custom ride. One of the last things that needed to be changed were the wheels because the 22s that were on it just wouldn't cut it with the new appearance. Though Art favored the look of billet wheels, he could not find a particular style of wheel that he liked. Instead of buying a set of wheels he wasn't completely happy with, Art had Intro Custom Wheels make him a set of one-off 24x10 rollers. The simple design of a twisted five-spoke center combined with the rolled lip of the hoop made a wheel that complements the already stylish truck. If you pay attention to both sides of the truck, you will notice that the wheels on the left and right were machined so that the spokes are twisted in the same forward direction on the truck. This small detail helps bring uniformity to the truck's whole design.
Photo 6/11   |   2003 Chevy Silverado Stepside door Panel
As it sits now, this truck is an eye-catching cruiser that came from humble beginnings. Though Art wasn't initially interested in going this deep with his daily driver, he certainly gave it a completely different look. What helped art the most is that he made sure his truck received only high-quality work, which made for a high-caliber custom. Now that it is finished, we doubt Art has to worry anymore about his truck blending in with the rest of the trucks in his neighborhood.
The 411
4.8L V-8 / K&N cold-air intake / relocated fuse box / custom exhaust with Flowmaster muffler / factory rearend narrowed 4 inches
By: Owner / DND Fabrications, Fresno, California
Front & Rear: 24x10 one-off wheels by Intro Custom Wheels
Front & Rear: 275/30R24 Toyo Proxes4
Front: Choppin' Block tubular upper and lower control arms powdercoated blue / McGaughy's drop spindles / Slam Specialties RE-7 airbags / Monroe shocks
Rear: Custom parallel four-link with Panhard bar powdercoated blue / Slam Specialties RE-8 airbags / Monroe shocks
Accessories: Choppin' Block engine-driven air compressor kit / five-gallon air tank / 1/2-inch Parker valves / Dakota Digital air gauge mounted in overhead console / AVS billet switchbox / hydraulic brake booster
Chassis: Step notch in rear of frame with tubular bridge / sectioned transmission crossmember / raised fuel tank
By: DND Fabrications, Fresno, California
Photo 10/11   |   2003 Chevy Silverado Stepside engine
Body Mods:
Shaved door handles, third brake light, tailgate, steps on bed, and Sir Michaels roll pan / custom wheel tubs under hood / Silverado SS bumper cover / Street Scene wiper cowl / Trenz billet grilles / billet bowtie / Gaylord's tonneau cover / sheetmetal bed with spray-on liner and airbrushed piece on notch cover
By: The Hot Rod Shop, Reedley, California / Jay's Autobody, Fowler, Califonia / Steve Spurrier (sheetmetal bed) / Kool Hand Luke of Kool Hand Kreazionz, Fresno, California (airbrushing)
Custom Paint:
White diamond pearl with House of Kolor True Blue flames / pinstripe done in Robin Egg Blue One Shot
By: The Hot Rod Shop, Reedley, California / Kool Hand Luke of Kool Hand Kreazionz, Fresno, California
Photo 11/11   |   2003 Chevy Silverado Stepside skull Graphic
Dash and hard plastics smoothed and painted to match exterior / modified factory seats with Katzkin leather covers / door panels covered in white and blue vinyl with painted armrest and speaker covers / Colorado Customs Fire steering wheel / custom-made center console / Nu Image flamed gauge face / billet dash pieces, shifter, foot pedals, and door sills / headliner upholstered in blue vinyl / navy blue carpet
By: Owner / Jay's Autobody, Fowler, California / Raudel Jacobo of Big Daddy Upholstery, Pixley, California
Kenwood DDX-6019 DVD head unit / Kicker KS65 and KS460 speakers / Lightning Audio Bolt B2 300.4 amp for speakers / two Kicker L7 subwoofers / two Kicker 650.1 amps for subs / 10.4-inch TKO Audio monitor molded into dash
BY: Owner / Faustino Rodriguez of Extreme Connections, Fresno, California
Special Thanks:
His friends and family, Kool Hand Luke, Jay Martinez, Walter Pena, Jeremy Spate, Raudel Jacobo, Steve Spurrier, Nick Decasas at Intro Custom Wheels, Stan Chen at Toyo Tires, Victor at American Tint and Tire, Faustino Rodriguez at Extreme Connections, Steven at Big Red Detailing, and all of his Aftermath bros



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