Constructing a rocker-wrinkling, rim-tucking, and brightly colored show hauler requires a serious commitment of time, patience, and most of all cash from the enthusiast building it. Take a look around at any custom truck gathering, and it is quite obvious that these trucks are not built overnight. It takes an enthusiast with a vision of the finished product and the commitment to do whatever it takes to transform that concept from the brain to the highway.
The most difficult part about building a high-caliber custom truck is sticking with it. In today's fast-paced world, while juggling the stresses of work, bills, and home life, most people tend to spend their personal time with their feet up and their attention and focus on a television set, but custom truck enthusiasts are different. With a strong passion for building, driving, and showing custom rides, usually as soon as an enthusiast finishes the daily grind, the evening is spent in the garage slowly completing their dream. James Williamson of Summerdale, Alabama, is an enthusiast who would stop at nothing to make sure his '91 Chevy standard cab was not only a visual knockout, but that its looks and style were impressive enough to land it on the cover of this month's issue of Truckin'. As the old saying goes, the longest journey begins with the first step, so the bed, front clip, and cab were removed from the frame, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Before this juiced and body-dropped hauler fell into James' hands, a close friend held the pink slip and, unfortunately, wrecked the truck in a rollover accident. Luckily, no one was hurt, but the truck's body was wrinkled tremendously, and the prognosis for its future as a custom did not look good. James had wanted to build a wild custom pickup for some time, and when he learned of his friend's misfortune, he offered to swap his daily driver Mustang for the truck's bruised and battered remains. Once the trade was complete, the truck was loaded onto a trailer and transported to James' home garage, where disassembly began. The cab, bed, and front clip were each unbolted from the frame and removed to provide easy access for the chassis and suspension modifications.
Before the frame was smoothed and detailed, it was delivered to MHC Customs, located in Gulfport, Mississippi, where a custom step notch was fabricated to allow the rear axle ample breathing room when James thrashes on the hydraulic switches. A pair of AIM Industries 2-inch drop spindles was placed up front to begin the initial descent, while 8-inch CCE hydraulic cylinders successfully put the forward portion of the truck's 'rails firmly down on the Alabama pavement. Moving to the rear, James' friend Andrew Schoen installed the FBI (Fast Bagged International) triangulated four-link setup to enhance the ride characteristics. The rear was lifted and slammed through the use of 12-inch CCE hydraulic cylinders, while the front and rear juice is powered by four Trojan Deep Cycle batteries mounted in the bed. With the completion of the suspension came a dose of detail to help the truck look just as good underneath as it did on top.
In order to sanitize the frame of this low-slung show-stopper, James called on professional painter Chad Macks of Robertsdale, Alabama, to coat the 'rails from front to back in a brilliant PPG Chameleon shade. After Chad prepped and sprayed the deep Chameleon paint on the truck's modified skeleton, and the 'rails were cut and buffed to a mirror shine, the bed, cab, and front clip were lowered back down onto the frame to perform the mother of all modifications - a rocker-wrinkling, pavement-hammering body drop. James, once again, called on his talented suspension and body friend Andrew Schoen to assist in getting the truck's rocker panels to conform to the Alabama asphalt.
With the bed, cab, and front clip sitting on the frame and a set of dubs under the fenders, Andrew took the appropriate measurements, gathered his tools, and performed a 2-3/4-inch body drop, slicing into the truck's stock floor like a knife through butter. Once the bed and cab floor were moved up and welded back in place, and the front portion of the frame was altered to hammer the nose, it was time to put the shine on the exterior of this Burnt Orange beauty.
Completion of the suspension, chassis detail, and wicked body drop led to repairing the body damage caused by the previous owner's wreck and putting in place a host of wild body alterations to enhance the truck's smooth envelope. Following the structural repair, the truck was delivered to Chad Macks at Jubilee Paint & Body in Daphne, Alabama, where the bone-stock body was transformed into a seamless work of art. The shaving party commenced and, when Chad put down his welder and grinder, the door handles, factory taillights, tailgate handle, antenna, and gas door were all removed.
Just as a few things had been subtracted from the body, a few things were added as well, including a Sir Michaels steel roll pan, chrome smooth front bumper with teardrop lights, APC diamond headlights, and a custom Goodmark cowl-induction hood. The tailgate was welded shut, while the roll pan was molded seamlessly into the bed sides to promote maximum smoothness. A chrome '98 Chevy truck grille shell with a billet grille insert was added to the nose for a mild updated look, while billet aluminum street rod mirrors replaced the factory units.
To enhance the driving and cruising experience, James installed a Street Beat sliding ragtop to allow the sunshine to pour into the restyled cab confines. After the metal was thoroughly tweaked, sanded, and smoothed, Chad rolled Alabama Slammer into his paint booth at Jubilee Paint & Body and coated the metal with multiple layers of PPG Burnt Orange paint. The truck emerged from the booth a bright and shiny gem, and Chad color-sanded and buffed the exterior to perfection. James received a phone call that his baby was complete, and it was time to bring her back home. Without hesitation, the trailer was hooked up, and James went to get his pride and joy.
Once back home, James and his buddies needed to cross a few more bridges before Alabama Slammer would be show-ready, but they were getting close. Now that the suspension, body drop, body, and paint were completed, it was time to shoehorn a detailed and potent powerplant between the smoothed and painted 'rails. The original 350ci V-8 was hoisted from the engine bay, put on a stand, and subjected to a host of new internals, as well as exterior detailing.
Desiring to maintain reliability, James stuck with a fairly mild rebuild using mostly stock components, save for a Lunati camshaft with a duration of 246 and a lift of 515 for a low rumble. Topping off the mill is a Professional Products Power Plus polished intake crowned by a Holley 570-cfm Street Avenger carburetor. Allowing the impeccably detailed small-block to breathe freely are Jet-Hot-coated Flowtech headers linked to a custom 3-inch exhaust system dumping spent gases into two Flowmaster mufflers. Popping the hood of Alabama Slammer is a treat for the eyeballs with flame-embossed billet valve covers and air cleaner, a polished intake manifold and Holley carburetor, chrome pulleys, and miles of Burnt Orange paint covering the engine block, firewall, and miscellaneous components.
With a highly detailed powerplant in place, all that was left to complete the project in style was a high-caliber custom interior. Before any fabric choices were made, James and a few friends smoothed all the cab plastics, including the dash and door panels, and coated them in PPG Burnt Orange to match the exterior hue. The mandatory billet bits and pieces were added to the inner cab realm, and a Billet Accessories Direct billet steering wheel complete with skull horn button gives the cabin a sinister appearance.
After the paint and billet spice were complete, the truck was delivered to JJA Upholstery in Marlow, Alabama, for a fabric update. A set of Honda Civic bucket seats took the place of the factory bench and were covered in buckskin leather to stand out above the tan tweed-covered floor. The back cab wall was treated to tan tweed laid over a sculpted flame pattern, and the headliner was also wrapped in tan tweed.
James Williamson, with the help of many good friends, has created a cutting-edge show hauler packed with sport-truck style and street-rod attitude. With the fierce competition for the coveted cover spot of Truckin', it takes something tasteful and cutting edge to make our heads turn. James' truck stopped us dead in our tracks the first time we were able to witness its rockers hit the pavement, and take a look under the hood and between the doors. James is quick to point out that his righteous ride wouldn't be rolling without the help of Jubilee Paint & Body, Glen Bink, Custom Truck Accessories of Foley, Alabama, friend Andrew Schoen, MHC Customs, Chad Macks, JJA Upholstery, countless friends, and his wife Daphne. They don't come much more tasteful and detailed than the Alabama Slammer.