Quick Change - 2008 Chevy Silverado
The New Standard, Again
You see it in sports over and over again. A star athlete sets a record or wins a championship only to be ensnared by the desire to feel that rush of being on top over and over. It’s an affliction - uncontrollable and irreplaceable. They say being on top is a lonely feeling, but that’s a bunch of crapbeing on top is the best feeling and it’s this need to constantly make yourself better that fuels CEOs, athletes, and in this case, custom truck builders. As a clean, white Chevy Silverado, Tim Donelson’s Color Blind, took the custom truck world by storm in 2010 as it featured an understated appeal by using a "less is more" approach. Wild doors, hot rod meets audiophile interior, and a chassis that allowed the Chevy to swallow a set of 26-inch Giovanna wheels - this thing was in a class of its own. For one year it was at the pinnacle of our scene and for one year Tim was thinking of ways to make the truck even better. It’s a disease.
Hearing him talk about his Silverado is like hearing Michael Jordan talk about hoops. He had achieved so much, but he still had so much he wanted to do. As you probably have seen, either online or at a show in Texas, Tim decided on a whim in July of 2010 to add candy apple red flames to his all-white Chevy. Status, in Rockwall, Texas, performed the classic, hot-rod-styled flame paintjob and with a debut at Heatwave, the buzz was incredible. Used as a segue, the flames didn’t last long and Tim already had the second build of Color Blind worked out in his head. On his list of to-dos was to freshen up the front end, cover the entire truck in new paint, refresh the interior, and create a rear suspension that would leave no doubt of this truck’s place in the upper echelon.
Again teaming up with Bill Carlton and his talented group of fabricators at Ekstensive Metalworks, in Houston, Tim told us, "Bill and I were talking one day and he said 'Hey, I’ve had an idea for a long time and never had the right truck to do it, but we’re going to make it work on yours.’" Tim went on to say, "At first I wasn’t sure what we has thinking, but with Bill, you just go with it because you know it’s going to be sick." Tim was right, as Bill saw a Winters rearend designed for a racecar at a local speed shop and thought it would make the perfect setup for a custom truck. If they were going to ditch a perfectly good Chevy 10-bolt, they were going all-out. A plan was devised to make the rearend look as if it were floating in the bed. To achieve this, Tim cut off the rear sections of his mandrel-bent Art Morrison framerails, which is virtually sacrilege in the custom truck world, and together with Bill, designed a new rear suspension. With the mandrel-bent rails missing, the entire back half was bare and Tim welded in 2x4-inch tubing to the inside of the bed for support and strength. Another pair of 2x4-inch rails were then welded to the Winter’s Championship Quick Change rearend that serves as the lower airbag mount and allows the rearend to go up and down. Ekstensive then fabricated 1.25 inch DOM tubing to act as the upper airbag mount and as a heavy-duty crossmember. A wishbone three-link with sliding Heim joint centers the axle by bolting to the inside of the inner rails. The wild setup causes plenty of head scratching at shows and Tim is constantly asked to explain how it works. To help stop the giant wheels planned, the Winter’s rearend was upgraded with Wilwood disc brakes and aluminum calipers. Copper hard lines were fabricated and Zach, from Daily Grind Fabrication, ran stainless fuel lines and brake lines to add style and function. Up front, the tubular upper and lower A-arms remain from the first build, but Tim upgraded the 'bags to quality pieces from Firestone. With the air out of those 'bags, the body hovers over massive 28x10-inch Gianelle Designs Santorini II wheels in matte black that are wrapped in Pirelli 295/25R28 tires.
With the suspension buttoned up, Tim and Bill switched their focus to the body. During the first iteration, Tim left most of the body’s front end factory fresh, but this time, he had something bigger in mind. Ditching the 1500 bumper, grille, and hood, the guys swapped on Chevy 2500HD pieces for a burlier head-on appearance. To seal the deal, Bill guided Tim through the fabrication of a sheetmetal front bumper and welded it to the fenders for a clean, molded look. A polished mesh grille from T-Rex adds a little brightwork to the front end. Other body mods included shaving the side mirrors and adding taillights to the Grant Kustoms Cali Combo. With the body prepped, Caesar, also from Ekstensive, painted the entire truck PPG Subaru Blue (or Bud Light blue as Tim likes to call it). One pigment forever changed the appearance of Color Blind. The PPG paint came from Johnson Paint Supply in Houston. With the truck blue, it somehow looks lower, meaner, and even more custom.
Those wild 180-degree-opening rear Crew Cab doors - the brainchild of Bill at Ekstensive and Bob Grant of Grant Kustoms remained intact, only with modified door panels that now house 32-inch TVs rather than amplifiers. Tim removed the fiberglass dash and replaced it with a metal unit from a ’54 Ford pickup. That dash was then filled with elegant Dolphin Gauges. Tim extended the underside of the dash and fitted it with a 22-inch monitor. That metal lower dash area then seamlessly flows into a sheetmetal center console housing the 7-inch Pioneer head unit and four Alpine amps that cascade like a waterfall on the backside of the console. Providing the boom are three 15-inch Alpine Type-R subwoofers in a wild sheetmetal enclosure that is also home to three 22-inch TVs. "Little One" and "Squirrel" handled the audio/video wiring, while Tim handled the interior metal work and helps prove that cover truck owners do get their hands dirty. Powering all of the audio are multiple Kinetik HTC800 Power Cells. Something that just makes us shake our heads is the headliner. We’ve seen suede, leather, animal hides, even fiberglass, but we’ve never seen what Tim came up with. Buying a full roof skin from an ’08 Silverado, Tim shaved the headliner by welding in a completely smooth metal roof skin. It’s awesome and it’s original. Tim also welded in Alpine 6 1/2-inch components in each corner for a surround sound experience. The Handmade Seat Company seats were retained but mounted on new, taller sheetmetal pedestals. Once the console, dash, sub enclosure, headliner, and seats were dialed in, everything received several coats of blue paint. Joe at Advanced Auto Trim, also in Houston, wrapped the seat cushions in black suede and completed the interior makeover by wrapping the steering wheel in black leather.
Daily Grind Fabrication assembled the 383ci small-block the first time around and the only thing the engine needed was blue accents to match the makeover. The valve covers, air cleaner, and engine block were all painted blue to match the frame and suspension components.
With the truck looking as good as it does, Tim plans on showing it for 2011 and then driving the wheels off of it later in the year. He’s obsessed and our scene/hobby is better for it. As with anything, teamwork was important and Tim was quick to thank Bill, Bob, Mitch, Derek, Rudy, Matt, Zach, Jamey, Erik, Joe, and his family who support him no matter what color the truck is.