2006 Chevy Silverado 3500 - Backward-Built With Lots of Forward Thinking
Everything is just a little bit different on this lifted Chevy
Adrian Sixto from Miami, Florida, has been interested in mechanics since he was old enough to walk. He began his career working as a mechanic in high school at 17 and progressed to working at the local Cadillac dealership. The next step was when he started his own performance and accessories shop, Sixto Motor Sports in Miami, doing lift and lowering kits along with cutting-edge suspension work. As almost every shop owner knows, there’s no better way to attract customers than to build a project vehicle that shows off your talents. And not only is Adrian’s ’06 Chevy Silverado 3500 a rolling advertisement for his shop, but it’s also a daily driver during the week and great fun on the weekends.
“One of the reasons I built this truck was to show people you don’t have to spend $60,000 on a new truck and then spend another $50,000 on accessories,” Adrian told us. “You can take your old truck and make it look this nice. My goal was to build a quality truck that I could use for me and my family and also to show the capabilities of the shop.”
One of the first changes Adrian made to his used $5,000-salvage-yard special was to get the motor running properly. And since no custom truck would be complete without a little extra power, he added a Banks Ram-Air kit to feed the turbo, which was reworked with upgrades from BD Diesel Performance. The engine dumps spent gases into a Diamond Eye Performance 4-inch downpipe with 5-inch tips. Wrapping up the power upgrades is the Edge programmer, which coaxes lots of extra ponies from the 6.6L Duramax. Originally pumping out 360 hp, the LBZ motor is now estimated to make north of 550 hp. The Allison six-speed auto was reinforced with a Sun Coast valvebody and TransGo shift kit. For additional cooling and lubrication, Adrian added a Mag-Hytec pan—which holds an additional 4 quarts of fluid—on the rear differential.
The truck was originally equipped with dual wheels, but Adrian wanted more of a 4x4 look. He shortened the rear axle and replaced the bed in order to convert it to a single-wheel 3500. In the process, a theme emerged that combined rugged and classy in the same vehicle. Textured flat-black and smooth silver paint reflect those divergent views. On Adrian’s truck, the parts you expect to be dull, like the undercarriage, are a bright Corvette silver. The areas you might expect to be shiny, like the exterior, were done in matte black. Why such an unusual approach? Adrian explains, “Everything in my life has been backward. I had a boat before I had a car. I had a car before I had a driver’s license. I had a mechanic’s shop before I went to school for it. Everyone wants something that’s different, so it just seemed natural to do a truck that was just a little backward!”
There is nothing backward, however, about the handling of this lifted ride. As the owner of a suspension shop, Adrian spent lots of time on the undercarriage. The entire suspension system was removed prior to texturing the truck bottom with Line-X and painting all the components. The Chevy front end uses a CST kit with its one-piece subframe that drops the factory torsion bar suspension a full 8 inches while keeping the original steering geometry and stable ride. Twin Fox Racing reservoir shocks on each front wheel—along with thick, 1.5-inch sway bars—ensure precise handling. The Dana 80 rear is held in place by a custom five-link that uses shock mounts and bottom brackets salvaged from an old Kelderman kit. Everything else was fabricated in-house, including the custom brackets that hold the heavy-duty Peterbilt airbags, the Bow Tie driveshaft support, and the multiple, laser-cut Chevrolet emblems. A pair of Thomas compressors, three 6-gallon reserve tanks, and ½-inch lines provide a quick response.
Adrian did the welding himself then painted everything with a durable, aviation-quality paint. Since he regularly tows a trailer, the powertrain was overbuilt to ensure safety, including reinforcing the driveshafts. The Diesel Wheels rims were originally 22.5 inches, cut down to 22 inches and fitted with an adapter so they could transition from eight lugs to ten. Toyo Open Country M/T rubber adds to the look and provides aggressive off-road capability. While you’re admiring the undercarriage, look closely and you’ll discover the truck has multiple sets of train horns, with three trumpets on each side and an eargasmic five-trumpet setup in the rear. Lights were added to the undercarriage to highlight the modified suspension at night.
The interior renovation began with Adrian pulling the factory package and choosing a completely new one in a color that was never offered during that year. The black leather interior with suede inserts and silver stitching blends perfectly with the rest of the truck’s theme. Suede inserts were added to the headliner, center console, and door panels as well. All the interior trim pieces were painted glossy black to contrast with the textured black of the exterior. The stereo is a Kenwood double DIN with navigation, Bluetooth, and iPod connections. A boost gauge and pyrometer are mounted above the rearview mirror while the Edge programmer on the dash monitors trans temp, engine temp, intake temp, and boost.
In addition to the custom paint, the body is outfitted with textured Bushwacker flares and a narrowed bed to fit the new single rear axle. Also textured to match, the Alien Patrol Lunar Series front bumper comes complete with a heavy-duty Warn winch. Amp Research electric side steps automatically activate when any of the doors are open and there’s an additional manual step on the rear bumper.
Adrian is pleased to say that the shop is doing quite well—probably because he and his team treat every truck as if it were their own. “People seem to like the way we work. It takes a little longer, but it gets done right,” Adrian explained. Sounds like our kind of shop! Adrian sends special thanks to his guys who toiled for two years afterhours to make the truck possible: Chris Riverol, Cesar Garcia, Eddy Eglesia, and Willy Abreu.