How did Louis D'Erasmo convince his wife Stacy to OK the $15,000 purchase of an '03 Chevy Silverado 1500 extended cab and the additional $40,000 and 3,000 hours he spent on the truck and not on her? Not by taking her out to dinner, sending her and her girlfriends to Hawaii, or lavishing her with jewelry. The Bronx resident convinced her he was doing it all for her, and he did - sort of. His unspoken motivation was no doubt the same that drives others in the sport of truck customization - the scraped knuckles, greasy hands, joint-wrenching work of it all is fun. And, in D'Erasmo's case, his blood, sweat, and time-added value to his wife's gift that no diamond ring could have unless he were to mine the precious stone and metals himself.

Precious metals were certainly an inspiration for this truck, as were exotic sweets. Its body and undercarriage are burnished in two-tone Candy Pagan Gold from House of Kolor, which glows like a desert sundown at the Burning Man Festival. D'Erasmo, his brother Larry, and some good friends did the painting and all bodywork (heck, all the work) at their company, Valanca. They clad the truck with a great 14-piece fiberglass upgraded body kit from Valanca and a Keystone Good Hood. An SS grille grimaces from the front end, APC carbon-fiber lights bookend the painted dragon at the rear, and the tailgate and door handles have been shaved. With a 4/6 drop courtesy of Air Ride 'bags and a four-link setup, the truck rides like a creeping fire on 22-inch Boze wheels wrapped in a set of Toyo Proxes S/T P305/45R22 118V tires. Power Stop rotors provide high-performance restraint.

D'Erasmo wanted his truck bed to move air, not haul it. Kept under wraps beneath an automated, air-powered tonneau are JL Audio drivers that include XR650-CSi component speakers and four rear-firing 12-inch W3 subwoofers. Four C2K-series Zapco amplifiers line the bed in custom fiberglass enclosures that look slippery slick. Two of the amps - rated 600Wx2 and 300Wx2 - power the subs and component speakers (respectively) in the bed, while the other two (300Wx2 and 300Wx1) feed the components and the Stealth Box with a 12-inch sub in the cab. A 20-inch ICON monitor hangs beneath the tonneau, while two 8-inch screens from the same maker are in the cab's center console and on the ceiling, facing the rear passengers. A JVC KD-DV5000 DVD head unit pumps out the audio and video entertainment.

While the bed's enclosures match the color of the vehicle's exterior, bright and dark hues dominate the interior of the cab. Graphite- and Maize-colored Katzkin-wrapped seats float on petroleum-black carpeting. The yellow center console leads up to a B&I dash bezel.

There is not much going on under the hood, besides the Magna supercharger resting on the stock 4.8L eight-cylinder powerplant and Gibson headers feeding a 3-1/2-inch exhaust system from the same maker. Oh, and there is the minor fact that D'Erasmo removed the engine and tranny just to polish and clearcoat them before their reinstallation. Boy, the things we do for love. If only we cleaned our houses with the same attention to detail. All in all, D'Erasmo indicates his setup harnesses about 350 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque - up from what was probably a stock value of 270 hp and a torque of 285 for a top speed of 120 mph.

So, how does his wife like the truck that D'Erasmo built for her? Well, let's just say that the buildup got so out of control, they decided it was too nice for anyone to drive around on a daily basis. Disappointing news for anyone that can appreciate a well-built Bow Tie such as this one. He named the truck Ballistic Edition, and it won best of show at SEMA's Spring Expo in Indiana and Spring Break Nationals in Daytona. As a kiss-and-make-up project, D'Erasmo is building his wife an '04 Tahoe. Let's hope he goes ballistic with this one, too.