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  • Creating the World's First Bodydropped 2015 Chevy Tahoe

Creating the World's First Bodydropped 2015 Chevy Tahoe

Built Dreams

Grant Cox
Aug 9, 2016
Photographers: Grant Cox
Josh Talburt and his wife Tabitha's lives were about to change drastically. The Garfield, Arkansas, couple had just gotten the news that they were expecting their first child. Tabitha's daily driver, a Mercedes CLA250, was soon going to be too small for their growing family and its 50-mile-a-day travel routine. After many discussions, they began searching for a family appropriate vehicle. At first, Josh first set his sights on a Tahoe and tried to close a deal with their local dealership to replace his wife's beloved Benz with a brand-new ’15 Chevy Tahoe.
Despite many attempts, their version of "Let's Make a Deal" left the Talburts without a new car. Not wanting to give up, Josh contacted their good friends Sean and Kristi French in Oklahoma City to take advantage of their urban contacts to get this project in motion. After a few quick calls and internet searches, they found a diamond in the rough at a dealership in OKC. Finally, Tabitha and Josh were able to make a deal, and the keys to a new Tahoe were handed over.
Photo 2/15   |   2015 Chevy Tahoe Front Quarter
Photo 3/15   |   2015 Chevy Tahoe Side
This Tahoe would not stay stock for long. Josh called Jake McKiddie of Phat Phabz and ordered a set of 24-inch Intro billet rims, which was a good start to getting rid of the boring stock look. Although Jake pitched his best sales attempt to try to convince Josh to move up to a set of 26-inch Intros, Josh politely turned him down. He stuck with his original plan and vision.
With their brand-new Tahoe finally home, Josh immediately started painting all the chrome the new body color and de-badged it. From that point on, plans were flying inside his head and spinning with the possibilities for the new Tahoe. But no one had customized a new Tahoe yet.
Photo 4/15   |   2015 Chevy Tahoe Engine
One weekend Sean invited Josh and Tabitha to come hang out in OKC and play a few rounds of Topgolf. After a few Dos Equis, Josh talked with Sean about his wild ideas of ’bagging their new Tahoe on 24s. McKiddie was also hanging out with everyone playing golf, and overheard their conversation, and in typical McKiddie fashion, pursued the idea of stepping up to the set of 26-inch billets, again, and this time added the persuasion of body dropping it, too. After a few more beers and several more rounds of golf, plans were coming together to make his dream come true. The first plans were to get this first body dropped Tahoe into the 2015 SEMA Show. With Josh and Tabitha's baby due at about the same time as SEMA, and other unexpected SEMA builds Josh took on as work projects, it just wasn't going to be feasible to make everything work this round. They decided to hold off SEMA.
Josh made plans to drop off the Tahoe with McKiddie on New Year’s. He immediately started cutting into all the pieces and building a 3/4 frame with a two-link to lay rocker on 26x12s. Mid-build, Josh got the call he did not want to get. His workplace was cutting staff, and he was on the list to be cut. Needless to say, Josh and Tabitha had to take a step back and adjust their build budget to accommodate their new financial situation. It was not the best situation to be in when they had a child in daycare and the growing cost of building a highly visible custom truck. After many long talks, they decided to pursue their dreams for Josh to open his own full-time paint and collision business. He had been doing side jobs of this kind for several years.
Photo 5/15   |   2015 Chevy Tahoe Wheel
With his own body shop, McKiddie could take on more of the finishing work on the Tahoe. After discussing some ideas with him, Josh turned the build back over after Lone Star Throwdown (LST) 2016 to wrap the finishing touches. After a debut weekend at LST, it went back to McKiddie’s shop, where he could finish things up on his own time.
While tearing down the Tahoe to complete the body work, Josh decided to remove the factory roof rack and replace it with Police Tahoe roof moldings to fill in the roof channel to give a cleaner look to its roof line. Before Josh could spray down any graphics, he asked good friend Corey Puttkammer to build headlight brackets. Once the brackets were done, it allowed the factory headlights to be installed. And Josh sprayed the graphics over the factory Slate Gray Metallic color paint. Next, Brandon McCoy of Gooch Freehand Pinstriping laid down the lines to make everything pop on the paint.
Photo 6/15   |   2015 Chevy Tahoe Interior
Next up, tackling the interior of the Tahoe. Once started, Josh relied on his friend Paul Jordon for Fiberglasing expertise. They cut the factory door panels, sectioned a few inches out of them, and remade parts to retain a factory look. Next, they covered the monstrous wheel tubs that now resided inside the Tahoe. They started out by laying down some matte and resin to shape the inner panels and adding a factory-looking access hole to get to a 10-inch sub, which now hides behind the rear panel. Now to fix the backseat situation. Josh decided to keep as much legroom as possible. He cut 16 inches out of the rear bench seat and had the leather redone to accommodate the newly narrowed rear seat. This also required new custom seat brackets and seatbelt brackets to make it kid friendly.
Without the help from all his friends and family, this growing family could not have made everything come together like it has in such a short amount of time. Stage one of this slammed 2015 Tahoe is complete, so now what does Josh have up his sleeve for stage two? That will have to be for another story.
Photo 7/15   |   2015 Chevy Tahoe Rear Quarter
Inside the build
Year/Make/Model: 2015 Chevy Tahoe
Owner and City/State: Joshua and Tabitha Talburt; Garfield, Arkansas
Club Affiliation: None
Chassis:
Front Suspension: Modified stock spindles, Custom 3/4 boxed frame, Phat Phabz front A-arm kit, Airlift 3H system, 5-gallon Specialty Suspension tank, Viair 480c dual pack compressors, Airlift 2600 ’bags by Phat Phabz
Rear Suspension: Custom tubing two-link, Airlift 2600 ’bags, 23-gallon fuel cell with stock sending unit by Phat Phabz
Drivetrain:
Engine: 5.3 GM LS lowered 2 inches in frame Rearend: Moser axles
Body: Handmade rear wheel tubs, all chrome paint-matched by owner, graphics and pinstriping by Puds's Paint/Fab & Collision; Gooch Freehand Pinstriping
Interior: Katzkin leather kit, custom-built rear door panels and rear interior panels, sectioned rear seat by Pud's Paint/Fab & Collision Stereo: Alpine INU-W957HD head unit, 10-inch Alpine SWT-10S2 subwoofer, Alpine MRV-M500 amp
Wheels & Tires:
Wheels: 26x9, 26x12; Intro Artics
Tires: 295/30R26, 305/30R26; Lexani
Special Thanks From Owner: To Paul Jordan, Corey Puttkammer, Brandon McCoy, Trevor Dewitt, Jake McKiddie, Kyle Dimetroff, Eddie Talburt, and Travis Talburt for all the time and help so far in the build! They've gone above and beyond in both the Tahoe and our new shop.

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