Just when you thought you'd seen everything in the customized SUV world, a truck such as this pops up and proves you wrong.
Rob Maggi is no stranger to aftermarket perfection. As owner of Master Image Customs (MIC) in Anaheim Hills, California, Rob has created dozens of vehicles that would certainly qualify as show winners. Specializing in suspension drops and airbag setups, MIC sees a steady stream of customized SUVs on the racks awaiting the ministrations of the company's technicians.
When it came time to work on the '01 Tahoe you see here, however, Rob knew he had to call upon all his resources. The owner of this particular Tahoe was not just another MIC customer, but rather someone a little closer to Rob's heart -- his wife, Donna. Donna has owned, driven, and been interested in custom SUVs and trucks for a number of years, and she had very definite ideas of what she wanted for her personal ride.
The brand-new Tahoe was rolled into the shop at MIC -- with Donna scrutinizing every move -- and the process of turning the stock Chevy into a head-turning road cruiser began. Since a lowered suspension is a MIC specialty, that was the first modification performed on the Tahoe. Not wanting to skimp on parts, the shop chose its top-of-the-line setup: the MIC High-Flow FBSS system, which uses Firestone airbags at each wheel. But the extensive suspension lowering process didn't stop there. The front subframe was attacked, as were a number of the stock crossmembers. After they performed extensive modifications to these units to make the front system compatible, efforts were turned to the rear of the Tahoe, where an MIC four-link setup was fitted to the rear axle, which had to be narrowed by 3 inches.
The next suspension tweak was a set of DJM lowering control arms that were installed in the front. Since Rob wanted the Tahoe to ride as low as possible, a final modification was to build a new fuel tank that would be fully functional, but not hang too low to cause any problems. The result of these careful modifications is a Tahoe that is not only dramatically lowered, but actually results in a body resting on the frame with the airbags fully deflated.
To finish off the stance of the Chevy, MIC selected an impressive set of rolling stock -- 22-inch Lexani Krystal wheels that are wrapped in Dunlop rubber of the P285/30R22 variety. After the tires and the wheels were mounted and the Tahoe lowered to the ground, the crew at MIC knew they had done the job well -- the Chevy definitely had that impressive, hunkered-down stance and was tucking the big wheels nicely under the wheelwells.
After the radical suspension drop, the next series of modifications that form a lasting impression is the Tahoe's radical paintjob and the extensive bodywork. The Chevy was taken to Al Martinez Auto Body & Paint in Orange, California, where it was shaved, sprayed, and groomed for star quality. Many of the exterior pieces were shaved, including the roof rack, the taillights, the rear handle, the door handles, the trim, and the emblems.
After these careful modifications were performed, a Street Scene cowl was installed just below the windshield, and a Sir Michaels roll pan, fitted with recessed taillights, was attached to the Tahoe's rear for a smoothed look. With these mods in place, the Tahoe was moved into the paint booth and Danny Scholtz lovingly sprayed the one-of-a-kind paintjob. Numerous coats of House of Kolor Yellow, Blue, and Platinum Gray were applied over the stock white color to create the unique flamed effect.
The final radical touches were the addition of white stars to the overall scheme and the use of micro flake mixed with the clearcoat, which gives the paint an overall sparkle that has to be seen in person to be fully appreciated. A final exterior touch is a set of exclusive MIC star grille inserts, which puts this Tahoe in the spotlight while on the road.
In addition, the engine compartment did not escape the star treatment. Pop open the hood of the Tahoe and you're greeted with a dazzling mix of white stars, blue-painted engine pieces, an aluminum battery cover, and a custom inside hood skin featuring polished grind marks. To add a bit of performance punch, a Full Throttle air intake was also been added to the mix.
Step inside this radical Tahoe and you settle into the dreamy world of blue stars, blue trim pieces, and quality tunes. Revo Reeves of Stitchcraft in Westminster, California, was the star craftsman who expertly stitched the blue suede stars onto the gray leather seats. Stars also adorn the side door pieces and the headliner. Additional inside styling cues include a blue wool carpet in place of the factory unit, a blue suede-wrapped steering wheel, blue dash trim pieces, and the polished MIC airbag instrument panel below the dash.
Listening pleasure is turned up a notch with the addition of a custom subwoofer cabinet in the luggage area containing a trio of Alumapro 12-inch subs. The subs are powered by three Ample Audio amps and the sound system also employs Ample Audio separates and a Pioneer AM/FM/CD head unit. Advantage Audio & Alarm expertly installed all the audio equipment.
With all the modifications complete, the end result is a Tahoe that's not only a neck-snapping headturner, but also a real tribute to aftermarket ingenuity. A starring example of the MIC name, which is emblazoned on the Tahoe's windshield, this is one Chevy that had little trouble finding its way onto the cover of Truckin's SUV. And Rob reports that when Donna took the wheel of the Tahoe for the first time, her instant, dazzling smile and starry-eyed expression could only be matched by the Chevy's equally radiant paint and star-quality mods.