When gazing at a wildly modified custom truck, it is hard to imagine that the truck may have had a grim past. Let's face it, not all builders start with a brand-new truck with dealer plates and no miles on the odometer to fulfill their custom-truck dreams. Many builders today are turning to used pickups to decrease their initial purchase price and increase the amount of cash left over for customizing. Choosing a used truck usually means the truck may have a few bumps and bruises, and there is no telling how the previous owner put the truck through its paces on the road. It's difficult to imagine that many of the prominent show trucks that have made an impression in the show scene today were once twisted hunks of metal, theft recoveries, or beat-up daily drivers that most people wouldn't even consider modifying.
For truck enthusiasts, molding and shaping sheetmetal is a task taken with great patience and passion. The fact remains that most enthusiasts would rather start with a battered hauler just to show that they can turn it all around. Jay Crews of Macclenny, Florida, is an enthusiast who knows all too well the reality of creating beauty from twisted and wrecked metal.
Jay and his business partner, Jamie Futch, operate a business called Sled Shed in Jacksonville, Florida, where they build custom trucks and street rods. Back in September of 2002, Jay purchased an '00 Chevy Silverado 1500 standard cab, equipped with a 5.3L V-8, and not long after the acquisition, the Bow Tie was sandwiched between a van and a semi, emerging from the wreckage with more than just a few scratches. The entire front end was caved in, and the rear frame was crushed and bent. Although the accident did a lot of damage to the truck, it gave Jay and Jamie an opportunity to take the truck to the next level and create something that would make a statement and promote their business. Out came the torches, welders, and plasma cutters, and the reshaping began.
To repair the damage to the truck's stock chassis structure, Jamie and Rob Futch used their suspension expertise. A custom rear subframe using 2x3-inch square box tubing was welded up, and the framerails were step-notched to increase clearance for the adjustable suspension system that would make its way underneath. Up front, 2x4-inch box tube was used to replace the truck's original and badly battered front 'rails. Once the truck's skeleton was structurally sound and smoothed to perfection, the 'rails were painted and covered with airbrushed skulls before the suspension mods were made. Slam Specialties RS72 airbags were shoehorned into the factory front spring pockets, while the rear was treated to a custom two-link setup activated with Slam Specialties RS82 airbags. The system was plumbed with 1/2-inch valves and air lines. Jay knew once the air ride was done, his quest for cruising in extra-low mode would not be complete. A 3-1/2-inch stock floor body drop was performed on the Chevrocad to lay the rockers flat on the Sunshine State's asphalt. Filling the void in the fenderwells were 22x10-inch Boyd Coddington Turbine billet wheels dressed scantily in P295/35ZR22 Pirelli Scorpion rubber. Completion of the suspension and frame alterations led to determining what signature of style to put down on the Bow Tie's exterior region.
A truck's exterior features make the first impression when the frame- or body-sparking ride comes into focus, so nailing the outside looks are important to the successful campaign of any show truck. To make a statement of class and simplicity, Jay decided his 1/2-ton rocker-crushing cruiser should be slick, smooth, and covered with one unique and classy coat of color. To make this vision a reality, Jay busted out his welder and began smoothing the truck's envelope. The door handles and stake pockets were eliminated for a clean shave, and the replacement bed's rear was skinned with a tailgate and roll pan combo, eliminating all seams. Up front, a complete '02 Cadillac Escalade front clip was installed to sanitize the nose. For clearance issues when the truck is in full body-dragging mode, the bumper was raised up 3/4 inches.
Now that the body was flush with the ground and wore a host of metal mods capable of dropping the jaw of any enthusiast, the body's rough points were ironed out, and Chevrocad was given a facelift with multiple coats of Valspar Dark Persimmon Metallic paint. Hours of color-sanding and polishing followed until every blemish vanished, and the truck's body shone like a diamond.
To finish off the project, Jay made sure some of that off-the-hook custom style present on the exterior and suspension made its way into the interior. Trick styling on the truck's inner realm was handled by Burghart Upholstery in Green Cove Springs, Florida, where the seats were given a dose of cool with charcoal-suede material flanked with ostrich inserts. The door panels were given the same treatment, while the dash and assorted cab plastics were sanded smooth and painted with matching Valspar Dark Persimmon Metallic paint.
Jay Crews cooked up one quality-crafted custom Bow Tie pickup and successfully turned the heads of the Truckin' staff to produce this feature. A special thanks goes out to Jamie Futch and father Rob Futch for helping to finish Chevrocad off in such top-notch fashion. Jay also sends out his thanks to local paint supplier Albert Kemperlye Paint Supply for contributing the Valspar liquid in which the truck is covered. Sometimes, a little wrinkled sheetmetal is all it takes to push an enthusiast to create the truck they have always dreamed of.