When Joe Martinez set out to build a Suburban for the 2001 SEMA Show, he knew it had to stand out from the myriad radical fullsize SUVs that would be displayed there. Since Joe's number-one expertise and business is the art of fine automotive painting (George Grace Paint & Joe's Auto Body in Van Nuys, California), the '95 Sub needed to reflect that colorful tradition. However, to be a true show-winning vehicle, the Sub's mods needed to go beyond skin-deep.
Joe reports that the Sub was very much a family project, as evidenced by the fact that the paint was sprayed in his garage at home, not in a paint booth. He also gives much credit to his assistant, Adan Arrendondo, who pitched in for a fair share of the work. The Sub's name, Relaxed One, comes from Joe's club affiliation, Relaxed Atmosphere. The truck has won a number of trophies at numerous shows and, as we mentioned before, received its fair share of attention at last year's SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
However, it's the paint that is a definite attention-getter. The PPG Butterscotch was expertly sprayed by Joe Martinez himself, and that rich hue is indeed a tasty variety. When the sun hits the Butterscotch finish just right, the total effect is a lush sweetness. But as intoxicating as the paint is, there is more to the outside styling cues than just the color.
Up front, an Escalade grille shell, Escalade fenders, and Escalade headlights give new meaning to the term crossover vehicle. The Chevy and the Cadillac melding modification is a popular one lately, and this mix was expertly achieved by Joe. The Escalade grille and fenders were also modified to fit the custom front bumper. There is plenty of additional body modification, including shaved door handles, frenched Eldorado taillights, a rear bumper from a 2000 Chevy, which was modified to fit the frame, and dual Eldorado sunroofs to let in the sunlight.The Sub rides on stylish 22-inch Velox Kronus wheels wrapped by Pirelli rubber of the P295/30R22 size. Those big dubs really fill up the wheelwells, thanks in part to the Sub's lowered suspension, which takes the Chevy 4 inches closer to the pavement in front and 6 inches in the rear. The lowering was accomplished with the aid of Belltech 2-inch drop spindles and springs, KYB springs, and C-notching. In the rear, KYB shocks and an added leaf in the suspension provide better ride quality and refined towing capability. The Suburban's hunkered-down stance and big wheel combination makes a real statement as it cruises the streets.
Performance mods are few, but a 3-inch Borla Cat-Back exhaust system adds additional ponies to the mix and gives the engine better exhaling capabilities. Underhood, two Yellow Top Optima batteries provide additional juice for the Sub's mobile-electronics system (see sidebar).
Step inside and you're greeted with typical Suburban luxury. However, a few well-chosen modifications bring interior styling cues to the next level. The one-piece headliner uses custom detailing for that extra touch, Escalade door handles reside in custom door inserts, and a custom center console now sits between the bucket seats. Kenny Sisk of Arleta, California, did the custom upholstery work. Add a custom billet steering wheel and a billet shifter, and you have all the makings of a classic statement.
Tasty Butterscotch paint, mouth-watering interior mods, a lowered look with impressive rolling stock to whet your appetite: this Sub is a smorgasbord of aftermarket delights. Joe Martinez reports that he's hungry for more, and additional mods are in store in the near future.