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2001 Chevy Silverado - Mastermind

Not Your Average Chevy

Dan Ward
Aug 1, 2009
Photographers: Dan Ward
Photo 2/21   |   2001 Chevy Silverado right Side Angle
Three years ago, Paul Martinez, of Azusa, California, delivered a truck to a builder. Sounds simple enough. The truck was in pieces, basically hacked up, with more wiring than Radio Shack and bodywork that was far from finished. One goal was requested--build a Chevy that was far from average. For this builder, average is never an option and with an exchange of money, the '01 Chevy Silverado was underway. No one could have predicted how this Bow Tie would look after the dust settled, well, maybe one person had a good idea. Aaron Iha, of Chassis by Aaron Iha, was in charge of this project.
With a bevy of cover trucks under his belt, Chassis by Aaron Iha is no stranger to raising the custom truck bar and for Paul Martinez, his Chevy needed the kind of close attention paid to it that many shops cannot execute. Paul is a longshoreman in Long Beach and he understands how working hard can pay dividends. Phase one of the project saw the body completely lifted off the frame and the remnants of the chassis discarded. After spending hours behind his computer designing a new chassis for the Silverado, Aaron busted out the welders and got his crew, Ben and Dale, busy working on the frame. In order to keep the cab floor in perfect condition, the guys used four long pieces of 3x3-inch -inch wall tubing from the firewall back. Up front, 2x3-inch tubing was fabbed up and tabs created to mount the custom upper and lower A-arms, which utilize Uniballs for maximum performance. Extra-large four-ply Contitech 2,800lb airbags were installed and eliminated the need for light-duty shocks. A full 1 3/4-inch DOM tube backhalf was created and, due to Aaron's bed design, a custom forward parallel four-link was created. Though simple in theory, this four-link is not perfectly parallel to keep the driveshaft angle within spec when the axle articulates.
Behind the four-link, a trick cantilever setup was built using mild steel plate, 2,800lb Contitech airbags, and dual Fox Racing shocks that received the chrome treatment. With travel set to 12 inches, the rear has huge lift and can go from on the ground to ride height with the depression of the air ride switch. Aiding in handling performance, large stabilizer bars run diagonally with the rearend and keep body roll to a minimum. Each stainless air line runs to an ASCO valve manifold and the Contitech airbags were supplied by Mac's Springs. A quick trip to the chrome shop and powdercoat facility saw the frame and suspension go from bare metal to show-winning metal sculpture. Designed to lay the Extended Cab body on the ground, the chassis is truly a one-of-a-kind setup and easily tucks the 24-inch wheels. Speaking of wheels, the beautiful chrome hoops are Lexani Dial sized 24x10 inches. Providing both the contact patch and wheel protection, 275/30R24 Hankook Ventus V4ES tires were mounted to each wheel. Stopping power comes from three-piston SSBC brake calipers that squeeze 14-inch cross-drilled SSBC rotors. Engineered using quality components, Paul's Chevy was now ready to cruise, but the body was in rough condition--though not for long.
Photo 9/21   |   2001 Chevy Silverado tribal Graphics
Going sheetmetal crazy, Aaron fabricated a new firewall, completely new full-length bed tubs, shaved the handles, taillights, antenna, and then used an FBI tailgate skin to completely smooth out the rear. Up front, the crew at Chassis swapped in a newer '07 Silverado front clip and used clear headlights and clear corners for a more updated look. You may be wondering where the bumper came from and even if you check eBay there wouldn't be one like it. Aaron also fabricated this piece to add a custom flair to the front end of the Silverado. With the bodywork perfect, Danny Serna, of DSG Graphics, in Irwindale, California, took command of the truck. House of Kolor Tangleo Pearl was applied to every nook and cranny of Paul's ride. After the orange had dried, Danny got to work doing what has made him a sought-after painter--airbrushing. Wicked silver tribal graphics along with orange real-fire flames provide the canvas for several skulls to lurk. On the HD hood, a skull king appears from the flames wearing a cloak, crown, and holding a cane topped with a globe. Seeing this truck in person leaves no doubt to Danny's talent. Out back, another skull appears from the graphics wearing a bandana that quickly turns into $100 bills. The attention to detail is no joke.
Inside the cab, details abound everywhere you look, but chances are you'll hear it before you see it. Behind the front bucket seats lies a huge subwoofer enclosure that is home to six 15-inch Audiobahn subs. Powering this audio carnage are three Audiobahn A2X600HQ amps, also mounted to the enclosure. Jaime, from Exclusive Audio, performed the audio work, including the Audiobahn 6 1/2-inch mids and highs in the doors. Keeping tabs on the audio is an Alpine head unit installed in a custom center console. Also found in the console is an Alpine DVD player that sends video to a 22-inch monitor found in the dash. The dash, with its smooth, flowing lines and intricate edges is not fiberglass, rather Aaron rolled sheetmetal to create the one-off dash. Danny, from DSG also painted the dash to match the truck and then added some lovely ladies airbrushed to the upper portion and center console. Powering all of the insane audio are four yellow-top Optima batteries housed in a custom battery rack in the bed. Charging duties are taken care of by a 300-amp alternator from Chuy's. A B.A.D. steering wheel, custom door panels, and hidden air ride switches are also nice additions to the interior. Rogelio's Upholstery, in Irwindale, wrapped the seats in tan vinyl and tan suede and they also installed the matching suede headliner. Once back from Rogelio's, the truck was given a once-over and the only area left to tackle was the engine bay.
It may surprise you to find out that this truck is completely smog legal, a feat that Chassis by Aaron takes pride in. Despite the rocker hugging stance, new suspension, and custom firewall, the Chevy passes all smog testing. Edelbrock 50-state legal headers were bolted on and a Magnaflow exhaust added for some street rod rumble. Other than those mild performance enhancements, the engine was left alone--sort of. You see, if a part could be removed and chromed or polished, it was. Many pieces were also painted to match the orange and Aaron even found time to fabricate custom inner fenders out of aluminum.
This truck took more than three years to perfect and now that the truck has won several Best of Show awards, Paul can drive it with pride. Another area of pride in his life is his wife, Jennifer, and he wanted to make sure we thanked her for all of her support and understanding. It started out as a simple request to build a nice truck and after a complete transformation from top to bottom, Paul has a Chevy that is far from average.



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