1990 Chevy 1500 Custom Sound System - Turnabout
The Truck That Built A Shop And The Shop That Built A Truck
David Shockey from Green Castle, Pennsylvania, creates custom stereo systems in his shop, Blazin' Auto. Soon after completing the shop, he decided to incorporate some of the parts sold in his store into his '90 Chevy 1500 work truck. By turning the vehicle into a rolling calling card, customers could see first-hand the capabilities of the shop. And since custom fiberglass work was hard to find in his area, he concentrated on creating several unique 'glass parts on the truck as a way of showcasing his specialty. The technique did more than display parts. It created a sense of trust in David's abilities when customers contemplated high-dollar video systems for their vehicles. Once they saw what the work truck had become, they realized that Blazin' Auto was the shop for the job.
The truck has gone through several stages. Initially, it was a dependable work truck that helped to build the business. Once the customizing process started, however, the truck's work role was over. Body mods include filled taillights, a molded Sir Michaels rear pan, a welded tailgate, and multicolored high-tech LED taillights. A solid tonneau cover from Cover Craft continues the clean look, using twin gas struts to hold it open. The rear window of the cab was blanked off for both a styling touch and increased sound pressure levels inside. Shortly after the first facelift, the Chevy was involved in an accident that destroyed the front end. The truck sat idly while David decided its future, but the bright spot in the tragedy was that the other guy's insurance paid for the new Escalade front end, complete with distinctive Trenz grille. Once the truck was up and running again, David had lots of changes in mind.
For the second facelift, he concentrated on the stereo and accumulated a long list of parts before he began. Once all the equipment was on hand, he carefully laid out the design to ensure all the high-tech pieces would fit. His goal from the outset was twofold: He wanted to be a Lane Tamer in the sound pressure level (SPL) competition, but he also needed a system that would play music. It was just as important to demonstrate a good-sounding system for customers as it was to broadcast a single loud tone. With volume and clarity his two main priorities, he began to work.
Making a functional change into a styling touch, David used both Extended Cab windows to show off the stereo components. The driver's side now holds the Pioneer 7400 head unit that is accessible from the outside (after removing the three window bolts), allowing Dave to maintain pressure in the cab and control the system during competition. Also within easy reach are the Phoenix Gold line driver and Bass Cube, used to amplify specific frequencies that play the best. The Memphis EQ allows fine-tuning throughout the entire frequency range. Moving to the passenger-side quarter window, spectators get a peek at the rear of the sub enclosure, accented with stainless-steel flames that hold the divider board between the subs. The board separates the rear wave for maximum SPL. Looking inside the huge 19-cubic-foot ported enclosure, you see the source of the truck's booming bass, the pair of 15-inch MMATS Juggernaut subs. Below the subs in a separate Plexiglas compartment are the four Memphis 1500D amplifiers that pump out approximately 6,000 watts, with two amps dedicated to each sub. A fifth two-channel Memphis 3002 amp handles the front stage, powering two sets of the Memphis MultiSyc 8-inch mid bass in the kick panels and the doors, along with tweeters mounted in the A-pillars.
After the mechanics were in place, the real fun began with the fiberglass dashboard, now completely redesigned. Since fiberglass is Blazin' Auto's specialty, it was time to flex its creative muscles. The rounded gauge package in front of the driver uses a two-way mirror and a cluster of Cyberdyne gauges. With the key on, twin voltmeters, water temperature, oil pressure, speedometer, and tachometer shine through, but with the key off, it becomes a mirror. The dash also holds a pop-up 13.3-inch OptiView monitor using double roller slides and a linear actuator. Built-ins include a PlayStation II; a molded enclosure for the Pioneer 7400 head unit; and in the center console, a six-disc DVD changer. In front of the custom Hurst In-Line shifter, David positioned all the controls for the truck in a single panel that includes the air ride, headlights, power windows, door poppers, sunroof, AC/DC inverter, neon lighting, and alarm controls. Continuing the glass-with-class creativity, Blazin' Auto techs formed custom door panels featuring 3-D flames that follow the same flame motif on the outside. Many hours of hand-sanding were required to pull this off. V-Racing seats in bright red add comfort, while the Sparco wheel provides control.
Once the interior was complete, David turned his attention to the final cosmetic upgrade. Dave was losing points at car shows for the engine, so he continued the custom 'glasswork under the hood, designing a one-piece cover that shrouds much of the V-8. Showing through are the chrome air cleaner, multiple Stinger batteries and interconnects, and twin Power Master 240-amp alternators. In addition, a separate monitor was installed for a little audiovisual fun with the hood open. The cover was later painted to match the rest of the truck.
With body and stereo modifications complete, Dave turned his attention to putting the truck in the weeds. The new air-ride system uses a pair of AIM compressors and twin 6-gallon tanks mounted underneath. An additional AIM compressor was mounted under the hood to allow the V-8 to pressurize the system. Suspension changes on the Chevy include Shock Waves, Belltech dropped spindles, and lowered A-arms up front, while the rear uses a new air-ride four-link air suspension and 'bags. The digital air pressure gauge on the dash keeps track of each corner. Mondera 17s with BFG 245/50R17s were chosen for the rolling stock, and are soon to be replaced with 20s with spinners. Custom paint by Kib of Kib Air Works began with custom-mixed Poppy Red and accented with Bright Tangerine, Galaxy Silver, Cherry Red Pearl, and Lightning Yellow for the perfect finishing touch. The interior and under the hood were also painted to match.
Seven months and 2,000 hours later, the finished truck is easily the loudest vehicle in a two-state area, usually running in the 155-SPL range with a career best of 164.8. It has also been a very successful advertisement for the business. David and his wife Ashlyn vacationed in Daytona this year, enjoying a road trip in the truck and participating in the Spring Break IASCA Finals and Tuner Jam. All their hard work paid off when the Chevy took First Place in the Tuner Jam and Sixth Place in the IDBL. Who says your work truck can't haul home the trophies?