Contacting Steve and Phil at Fender Bender International, Mike requested another tall order. He wanted to 'bag the Escalade and retain the all-wheel-drive unit. After four months of R&D, and plenty of prototypes, the Caddy left the shop with a complete airbag setup, while still retaining all-wheel drive. DJM Suspension upper and lower control arms were bolted into place for a mild drop, then custom airbag mounts were fabricated for the front and rear. The factory four-link was reworked, the front frame was notched for clearance, and a custom chassis brace was installed under the hood. Controlling the system is a billet eight-pin Blitzluft switchbox, which sends signals to two Thomas 355 compressors extracting air from two 7-gallon tanks mounted in a cage inside the spare-tire compartment. All of this heavy-duty gear brings the Escalade up and down with ease and quickness. Tucking the 22s was easy, but Mike wanted more.
A chance meeting with George, one of the owners of Gen X wheels, saw a joint business venture between Mike's Caddy and one of the newest wheels in Gen X's lineup. On went a set of 24-inch Gen X Fushions, wrapped in P305/35R24 Kumho rubber, giving the Escalade a whole new look and attitude it lacked with the 22s. Loving the new look but still not satisfied, Mike dropped off the luxury SUV with experienced painter James Cashman, at Cashman Customs. As Mike describes, "He modified my original design with his own artistic genius." James laid down several coats of House of Kolor True Blue with Turquoise Metallic flake and Purple Pearl, complete with Millennium Silver tribal flames. Dark-blue pinstriping keeps everything in order, and for a little more flair, Cadillac crests were airbrushed on the flames. Continuing with the exterior modifications, a Trenz billet grille was installed, and chrome tow hooks were bolted in place.
Adding more power to the custom mix comes from a Volant cold-air intake and a Flowmaster exhaust system. Competing at shows has now become much more fun because his Escalade takes home plenty of trophies, and turning heads is as easy as flipping the switches. Finally, Mike's Caddy was finished - for now anyway, because we all know these projects only sit still for a brief period of time. Until then, however, he has secured his place on top with the Dadillac.