Family Ties: Chevy Trucks

Husband and wife tag team the custom truck scene

Maxwell Matthewson
Nov 1, 2011
Photographers: Dan Ward, Brandan Gillogly
Oftentimes in this scene, men will spend their free time building their truck, leaving their significant others to enjoy their own hobbies. One will come home covered in grease with a receipt from AutoZone, and the other will come home sporting a fresh do, new nails, and a receipt from Coach. In the case of Mark and Crystal Zarate, of San Antonio, Texas, they are both into building custom trucks. Mark has a 1994 Chevy C3500 dualie and Crystal is the proud owner of a 2004 Chevy Silverado 1500. Both trucks are laid out and fully custom. Now, instead of spending time on separate hobbies, this husband and wife team spends their time arguing about which truck is better. And, of course, Crystal is always right. The Zarate family finished both trucks right before Tex Mex 2011 and unveiled their trucks at the Lake Somerville, Texas, show.
Photo 2/22   |   chevy Trucks Family Ties trucks
It is obvious that this couple love trucks and that mutual passion has spawned a pair of show-ready trucks. Husband and wife custom truck enthusiasts are nice to see and we hope this tradition continues. Mark and Crystal wanted to thank Patrick Reid, Josh and Thomas at Big D’s Line-X, Jerry Vincent, Les Voudrie, fellow Severed Ties members, their parents, and each other for the love and support throughout the builds.
Mark’s C3500 was taken to Les Voudrie, in St. Louis, Missouri, to have the suspension built. It consists of DJM shocks and Contitech 2600 airbags fed by ½-inch line up front. While, out back, a bridge notch was fabricated into the frame and a parallel four-link installed. The ’bags are massive Firestone airbags for a tractor-trailer that are supplied by ½-inch SMC valves. Fabtech shocks finish off the rear. Also, a custom bridge was made in the bed with a gooseneck hitch so Mark can still tow in his laid-out dualie. To get the chassis rolling, six Alcoa 22-inch semi wheels were wrapped in Nitto 265/35R22 tires.
Photo 3/22   |   chevy Trucks Family Ties 1994 Chevy C3500 Front Angle Motion
Wanting a clean look for his Chevy, Mark first replaced the factory door handles with those from a ’94 Altima. He then smoothed the front bumper, molded the dualie fenders to the bed, and shaved the stake pockets. The tailgate handle was moved to the inside of the bed and the third brake light was converted to a 34-inch LED. To finish off the body, a set of Cadillac taillights were installed and the rear bumper was replaced with a roll pan. When the sheetmetal was complete and ready for paint, Patrick Reid from Daggers and Flames Airbrush, in Galveston, Texas, sprayed the entire dualie in Monte Carlo Blue Pearl paint before laying down a set of blue and silver traditional flames over blue airbrushed real-fire flames. And that, my friend, is only on the passenger side. On the driver side, more blue real-fire flames were airbrushed onto the truck with blue, silver, red, and green graphics going from front to rear.
Photo 4/22   |   chevy Trucks Family Ties rear Angle
Each side of Mark’s dualie has a different attitude. Traditional flames on one side, and a multicolored graphic on the other.
With the chassis and body complete, Mark turned his attention toward the interior. The dash was wrapped in gray tweed and the inserts were painted to match the exterior. The front buckets and rear bench were also wrapped in gray tweed but received gray ostrich skin inserts for a more custom feel. The floor was covered in gray plush pile carpeting and the headliner is matching tweed. A custom center console was built and wrapped in gray tweed and gray ostrich to match the seats. Finally, the steering wheel was discarded in favor of a B.A.D. Rockstar surrogate. For beats, Mark installed a Pioneer head unit that send its signal to two JL Audio amps and then on to the mids in the doors, tweeters in the dash, and the two 10-inch JL Audio subs. Mark could finally ride around in style.
Photo 8/22   |   chevy Trucks Family Ties interior
Crystal was tired of riding shotgun in Mark’s tricked-out rides so she decided to build her own custom truck to cruise in. Starting with a stock 2004 Silverado, an Ekstensive front kit was installed, consisting of new control arms, along with McGaughy’s 2-inch drop spindles, DJM shocks, and Firestone 2600 ’bags. Out back, a C-notch was cut into the frame and a simple two-link was bolted on. Matching Firestone ’bags were bolted into place and fed by ½-inch SMC valves. For rolling stock, Crystal went with Boze Six Speed 22-inch billets with custom-painted Speed Grille inserts. The billet hoops are wrapped in Nexen 295/30R22 rubber.
Photo 12/22   |   chevy Trucks Family Ties side View
Moving to the body, Crystal decided to ditch the door handles, tailgate handle, and gas door. The front bumper was swapped out for a Street Scene SS bumper and the rear received the roll pan treatment. The bed is tubbed and smoothed and finished off with Line-X. Once again, the airbrush skills of Patrick Reid were called upon, and after spraying VW Cyber Green and Chrysler Black Metallic paint, Patrick airbrushed some green real-fire flames then laid down a sick “biomechanical” graphic. Crystal wasn’t 100 percent sure what else she wanted airbrushed onto the truck, so she told Patrick to do skulls with hair. He laughed and said, “Skulls don’t have hair, but I get where you’re going with the idea.” Now residing on her Silverado’s tailgate is a large skull with what looks like hair. Good job Patrick.
Inside, the dash has been smoothed and painted and fiberglass door panels were created and also painted to match the exterior. Patrick even went as far as bringing in the graphics onto the jambs, door panels, and lower dash. It truly is something to see. The seats were wrapped in dark green alligator skin and black vinyl. The carpet is black plush pile carpeting and the headliner is black vinyl over flames. For added show points, a Colorado Customs’ Severed Ties steering wheel was bolted to the column. MTX and Pioneer audio equipment was used in Crystal’s truck for superior bumpability. After installing a 12-inch MTX sub behind the seat, 4x6-inch Pioneer speakers, and 5-inch Pioneer singles were installed in the doors. These were plugged into MTX amplifiers and connected to a Pioneer head unit.
Photo 16/22   |   chevy Trucks Family Ties interior Seats
Crystal wasn’t to be outdone in the graphics department and called upon Patrick Reid’s airbrush skills for her truck as well.



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