iWey: 1997 Chevy Tahoe
Two-Door Tahoe/Silverado Mash-Up
Establishing goals in life is a proven equation for success. Creating a goal for a custom truck project is also vital to helping you not give up when times get tough. Eddie Gonzalez, of Houston, bought his 1997 Tahoe in 2004 and spent the following six painstaking years with the goal that at the end, he would have it the way he wanted. Everybody has their favorite trucks, and everybody has their favorite parts of trucks. Sometimes we wish that truck manufacturers had used different lights on a vehicle, or a different interior to fit your individual style. So it comes as no surprise when people swap lights, upgrade interiors, or even change the whole front end of a vehicle. Eddie loves two-door Tahoes, but he also loves the mean look of the ’03-’07 Chevy Silverado front end. Eddie made the commitment to combine them and do what he thinks GM should have done—enter his iWey.
For the first act, the Tahoe was taken to Erratic Trends, in Beaumont, Texas, where the factory suspension was removed. The body and frame were separated allowing the Erratic Trends team to focus on the frame alone. Not wanting a simple ’bag job, Eddie wanted the body sitting hard on the ground. To do this, the body mounts were moved up and the frame was cut down. A step notch was cut into the rear framerails, which were boxed for strength. For added show points and a clean look, the frame was coated with PPG’s Antifreeze Green paint. Finally the suspension was reassembled with new Belltech 2-inch drop spindles and chromed, tubular, upper and lower control arms. Slam Specialties ‘bags were used in conjunction with hydraulic hard lines to bring the truck up off the deck. For the rear suspension, a custom two-link with a Panhard bar was used. Matching Slam Specialties RE-7 ‘bags were then installed and plumbed. For rolling stock, 22x8.5-inch and 24x10-inch B.A.D. Rockstar wheels were wrapped in Falken FK-452 tires sized 255/35R22 and 295/35R24, respectively..
After leaving Erratic Trends, the truck made its way over to Alamo Customs in Alvin, Texas, where Robert Mesa and his crew started the transformation process. After removing the factory clip, the front fenders, grille and HD hood from a ‘06 Chevy Silverado were installed, after quite a bit of massaging. The plastics on the ’06 Silverado bumper were removed, as was the valance, and fabricated out of sheetmetal and welded to the bumper for a one-piece look. Then, the whole truck received a shave, including door handles, tailgate, taillights, and gas filler door, which was moved to the driver side C-pillar. A Sir Michael’s roll pan was welded on and the rear barn doors were welded shut for a clean look out back. One-off taillights were made to go under the rear glass. Finally, the body was smoothed, primered, and painted with the same Antifreeze Green paint that was used on the frame. To break up the sea of green, a simple graphic was painted on the side of the truck in Hot Wheels Blue paint from Johnson’s Paint Supply.
Under the HD hood, the factory 5.7L V-8 was trashed. With the engine out of the way, the firewall was shaved smooth and wheeltubs were welded in place and painted to match the truck. Powering his ’Hoe is a Blue Print Engines 383ci stroker motor, which received green paint to match the truck, along with a Billet Specialties Tru Trac serpentine kit, and a custom set of valve covers complete with his club’s name engraved into them. Aluminum radiator hoses and an aluminum steering shaft help clean up the engine’s accessories. Keeping this small-block nice and cool while Eddie is cruising it from show to show, an aluminum radiator and electric fans were installed. Finally, for an unobstructed view of the engine, Eddie relocated the battery to the rear of the truck.
Moving inside, Eddie called upon the team at Rivera Services, also in Alvin, to convert the core of this awesome SUV from a bland interior into a head turning cabin. The first step, as always, was to gut the interior. Next, a custom dash was made, along with door panels and a floating center console that flows flawlessly back to the rear cargo area. Bringing this ’97 Tahoe into the 21st century is an Apple iPad that is mounted between the custom front bucket seats. The entire interior has been wrapped in parrot green Ultra leather and lime green Ultra suede, including the headliner. Cream fine fit carpeting was laid down and for a bit of bling, a matching B.A.D. steering wheel was installed. The iPad is for more than just looks—it is the source for all the audio. It sends its signal to a Polk Audio amplifier, which in turn sends the beats to a pair of 5¼-inch Polk components and 6½-inch mids. For lows, a Polk 12-inch subwoofer was installed inside the center console. In order for everyone to get a nice view of the interior, Eddie installed clear glass in every window.
Eddie’s motto is “go big or go home,” and on this build, which is his first, he went huge. The truck was finished in November 2010 and since then he has won Best of Show at Killswitch 2011, Scrapin’ the Coast 2011, and Texas Heatwave 2011. He also won Best SUV at Showdown 2011. Eddie wanted to thank all of his sponsors for helping on the build, as well as Robert Mesa and the rest of the guys at Alamo Customs, the crew at Erratic Trends, and everyone at Rivera Services. Finally, he wanted to thank all of the members of Aftermath for all of their support during the build. Eddie also wanted to personally thank the jerk that drove over and did donuts next to the truck during the photo shoot. Thanks to him, Eddie had to repaint the truck and put in all new glass on the passenger side and back.