In the days of the barbarians, the strongest survived, and the weak were just toys for the mob. In today's world of bigger is better, and biggest is best, Pete Cate of Alameda, California, built a '99 Suburban to climb over the competition and raise a little Cain in the process. Rolling on 44s and lifted a total of 23 inches, this flamed four-by wonder makes it easy to see why the world of custom truck building is so much fun. Focusing on the idea of fun and still functional, Pete ripped the 'Burban down to the frame, and with the help of talented friends, he created a lifted off-road rig we couldn't pass up.
Starting with the chassis, the fullsize SUV was dropped off at Lavender Brothers, in Seaside, California, where Pete requested a killer suspension setup that would push the Chevy past the mild mark and into wild territory. After removing the factory pieces, the Lavender Brothers converted the rig to a solid axle and a custom-made four-link was fabricated and bolted onto the front, along with King coilovers, King dual-rate springs, and a dual-trac bar setup. The rear Atlas 18-inch leaves with lift blocks were helped out by a set of King shocks, with external reservoirs lifting the rear a full 23 inches. All of the suspension components were powdercoated by Bay Area Powder Coating in Oakland, for good looks and protection.
Rolling large comes courtesy of 16.5x12-inch Weld Mountain Crusher wheels sandwiched between 44-inch Super Swampers. With the Suburban up in the air, the drivetrain was treated to full off-road service. Removing both diffs, the front was swapped in favor of a '79 Ford F-350 Dana 60R with 5.13 gears, and the rear received a Corp 14-bolt with a Detroit Locker and 5.13 gears. Both differential covers were replaced with finned aluminum covers for better cooling and looks.
Steering chores were handled by a hydraulic system fabricated by the Lavender Brothers, and the dual-piston Ford calipers aid in bringing the big beast to a halt. The drivelines are designed to take abuse, thanks to a 20-inch triangular-style front shaft and a dual CV-type in the rear, by South Bay Driveline. All of the power needed to turn this industrial-sized machine is supplied by a 454 Vortec big-block, which sends power to the stock 4L80-E transmission. With the structural integrity in place, Pete shifted gears to the fun side of things and dropped the truck off with Bill Tone, where he asked for some righteous flames.
Bill knew Pete wanted to keep the door handles, but he replaced the stock door handles with keyless ones from the rear of another Suburban, adding a custom touch to the exterior. After welding in the Sir Michaels roll pan, Pete laid down several coats of dark gray with silver flames and gray negative flames. With the paint dry, Pete added a chrome smooth front bumper with lights, Street Scene speed grille inserts, APC clear corners, and Kodiak steps. Final touches included APC plasma headlight bulbs, PIAA 510 driving lights, and a billet antenna and Bow Tie.
Inside the mob machine, Pete wanted a kicking sound system while causing carnage. To fill this bill, the Bow Tie was delivered to Pacific Stereo in San Leandro, California. While in the install bay, the big Sub received a Panasonic motorized 7-inch monitor, two 5.5-inch monitors in the headrests, one 7-inch flip-down screen, and a DVD player with a TV tuner. Providing the tunes are two sets of Pioneer mids and highs, two JL Audio 12-inch subs, and two Rockford Fosgate amps. Other than the system, the interior remains how Chevrolet designed it, functional and classy with the stock gray leather. Security for the big rig is in the safe hands of Viper's ESP 550 alarm with remote start.
Now that the mob machine was complete, there was only one thing left to do - pick up some friends, cruise around, and cause mayhem. For some reason, with the lifted Suburban rolling on 44s, mayhem is just second nature.