Sometimes the simplest custom truck can turn out to be much more once the hood is lifted, and the driver and passenger doors are opened up to reveal the cockpit. When it comes to customized rides, one definitely cannot judge a book by its cover. A lot of the custom trucks currently seen at most popular events throughout the summer show season feature cutting-edge looks on the exterior but fall short once examined on a deeper level. When it comes to being competitive in shows, it takes detailing a truck inside, outside, and underneath to make jaws drop and eyeballs widen with amazement. Being able to eat off the engine of a heavily modified show truck or see your reflection in the undercarriage definitely says something about the owner's meticulous nature.
Owner Jimmy Cox of Pocola, Oklahoma, is a custom truck enthusiast who is not satisfied with just the average show truck and is constantly figuring out ways to make his '94 Chevy extended cab more detailed and eye-catching. Having owned three previous pavement-pounding pickups, including a '93 Chevy extended cab, a 2000 Chevy extended cab, and a '92 Chevy extended cab, Jimmy has serious training in modifying the popular Bow Tie pickup platform. With these three haulers bought, built, enjoyed, and sold, the '94 was next to get the low-slung, big billet wheel-clad, street-rod-styled treatment. As a member of the prominent Severed Ties truck club, searching for suggestions on altering the stock landscape of the truck was easy. Working as a paint and bodyman at his father's shop, Dusty's Collision Center, also in Pocola, sculpting the Bow Tie's body into a smooth metal masterpiece and covering it with the PPG Porsche Red hue was a drop in the bucket. The first order of business in building Hell Raiser was to get the framerails laying flat on the tarmac and stuff a set of bold billet rollers on low profile tires in the fenderwells. To accomplish hammering the frame to the earth, a call was placed to Bill Carlton at Ektensive MetalWorks in Houston, Texas, where some of the world's lowest show haulers are created.
Initiating the initial forward descent was a pair of Belltech 2-inch drop spindles complemented by Firestone 2600 airbags mounted on custom Ektensive Metalworks brackets. Using Ektensive shock brackets, a pair of KYB shocks help smooth out ride characteristics when Jimmy hits the rough spots on his daily commute. Moving to the tail end, the Ektensive crew first step-notched the rear 'rails in preparation for a cantilever style suspension using a custom three-link with the companies: Billy Bars, a custom-made Panhard bar, and Firestone 2600 airbags. Delivering air to and robbing air from the Firestone bellows is done using Parker Gold 1/2-inch electric valves, 1/2-inch air line, four 3-gallon reserve air storage tanks, a Chassis Tech DC 7000 air compressor, and a Street & Performance chrome-plated belt-driven air compressor.
To maintain the clean and simple presentation of this classy custom hauler, Bill and the rest of the Ektensive suspension experts took extra care to mount the tanks and compressors underneath the bed on a custom-made crossmember. This left the bed floor unmolested and available to haul Jimmy's detailing cargo when the truck is displayed weekend after weekend in the summertime at several custom truck shows. After the team at Ektensive successfully turned the truck from a mile-high stocker into a pavement-hugging, switch-hitting, 'rail-dragger, the stance was completed with Budnik Fat Lip Fontana billet wheels wrapped in Kumho rubber bands.
To capture a true street rod and classic look, a pair of 18x8-inch Fontanas reside up front, while the rear fender wells play host to 20x8.5-inch Budnik billets. Protecting the old-school-style rim combination from being disfigured are Kumho tires measuring P225/40ZR18 up front and P255/35ZR20 in the rear. With the stance set, the project was kicked into high gear and the truck was trailered home from Houston, Texas, to Pocola, Oklahoma, and the search for a suitable powerplant began.
Since Hell Raiser was destined to be a pretty serious show pickup, the stock and extremely tired powerplant was relieved of further service and replaced with a tuned port-injected 350ci Chevrolet out of an '86 Pontiac Firebird. Before the mill was detailed and dropped in between the 'rails of Hell Raiser, it was delivered to Nicholson Performance in Pocola, Oklahoma, where machining chores were performed and a mild RV camshaft was installed. While the motor was given a check up over at Nicholson, Jimmy was busy smoothing out the engine compartment and coating it in PPG Porsche Red to create the perfect backdrop for the high-tech-looking power source. Prior to the engine being lowered into the bright and sanitary doghouse, the TPI unit was coated in PPG Porsche Red along with the valve covers, pulleys, and assorted brackets.
Jet-Hot-coated exhaust manifolds contribute to the sanitary scene underneath the Goodmark steel cowl-induction hood, while a chrome alternator and chrome Street & Performance belt-driven air compressor contrast nicely against all the painted components. Hooked to the mildly massaged and heavily detailed engine is a 4L60-E Overdrive transmission complete with a Street & Performance chip upgrade. Before Hell Raiser is seen, it is heard through a Flowmaster 2-1/2-inch exhaust system.
After Hell Raiser was planted on the ground and stuffed with an impressive powerplant, Jimmy and brother Rusty, along with their father Dusty, got busy over at Dusty's Collision Center, smoothing the exterior metal to accept the bright-red paint. First off, the antenna, taillights, stake pocket holes, and tailgate handle were all shaved to smooth the exterior scene. Out back, an AIM Industries roll pan was welded seamlessly into the lower bed region to go with the smoothness created by the shaved taillights and shaved tailgate handle.
Turning to the nose, an AIM front bumper, Goodmark steel cowl-induction hood, and Stull billet grille brighten things up, while a Street Beat sliding ragtop allows the sun to pour in on the cabin while Jimmy cruises his low-slung Chevrolet chariot. Once the metal was as smooth as a babies backside, Jimmy's brother, Rusty Cox, filled his paint gun with PPG Porsche Red supplied by Car Color Center of Fort Smith, Arkansas, and got down to business. The truck emerged from the booth a bright-red gem, and after hours of color-sanding and buffing, it was time to take the paint gun to the inner cab plastics.
Rather than upholster everything in sight like most show truck owners do, Jimmy chose to smooth all the truck's interior plastics and paint them in the same shade of red as the exterior. The dash, door panels, and remaining cab plastic panels were stripped of all texture and sprayed in Porsche Red, giving the inner realm a true street-rod feel. After the cab was given a healthy serving of smooth and cool with the painted panels, the class came in the form of '98 Chevy Tahoe bucket seats upholstered in tan leather by independent upholsterer Tracey Morris of Pocola. A factory Tahoe console was smoothed and painted red to contrast the surrounding leather seating.
Filling the back of the cab is a serious ear-blistering audio system featuring two 18-inch Kicker subwoofers mounted in a custom-built box, along with two Phoenix Gold 600 amplifiers. Filling in the blanks between all the bass are a collection of Kenwood mids and highs. Musical signals are sent to the amps and speakers through a Kenwood in-dash CD unit. The talents of Tracey Morris were used once again with the construction and installation of the audio system.
Jimmy Cox has constructed one sanitary hot-rod-styled Bow Tie pickup, and is quick to point out that the truck would not have come out half as cool if it weren't for the help and support of Dusty's Collision Center, Ektensive Metalworks, his father Dusty Cox, brother Rusty Cox, and wife Staci Cox. With more than a few Best Paint awards and several First Place trophies, we would have to say that building Hell Raiser was time well spent.
The nose of the Chevy is brought up to custom speed using a Goodmark cowl-induction hood,
Smoothing the tail end was done using a molded AIM roll pan with custom-cut taillights. Th
Setting off the slam are Budnik Fat Lip Fontana billet wheels measuring 18x8 inches up fro
Motivating Hell Raiser is an '86 350ci Chevy TPI engine dressed to impress with loads of r
Peeking through the Street Beat ragtop, a world of smooth red panels and supple leather ma
Behind the front seats rests two 18-inch Kicker subwoofers mounted in a custom box. Supply