To get a smooth, wrinkle-free finish, all of Red Rocker's factory body annoyances had to go, so the Hill's Hot Rods team warmed up the welder for a spark-showering session of metalwork. Gone from the exterior makeup are the door handles, key locks, driprails, factory mirrors, factory C10 cab trim, cab seams, emblems, side markers, taillights, stake pockets, tailgate handle, cowl vents, and windshield wiper holes. The tail end was tricked up further with a steel Grant Fabrication roll pan, which works in harmony with a Fender Bender International custom tailgate skin fitted with a Hitech LED Products 54-inch LED taillight for optimum tail-end smoothness. A Gaylord's X-2000 tonneau cover was placed over the bed and further accentuates the seamless theme. Bringing the nose of Red Rocker up to date is a '91 Suburban front clip fitted with Precision Billet Grille inserts and a fresh chrome grille surround and chrome replacement bumper from LMC Truck. Once the metal artwork was complete, the truck was delivered to Jimmy Davis at Vision Audio in Lubbock for the construction of the elaborate, vintage Corvette-style dash, custom waterfall center console, and rear cab structure.

At the beginning of this buildup, I and the entire welding, grinding, and fabricating team agreed that in order for this truck to be a standout on the show scene and set a whole new level of cool for square-body Bow Ties, the interior had to be topnotch and completely custom. We're not just talking about some custom-upholstered seats and door panels with a few billet trinkets and some audio gear but a fully molded and sculpted custom cockpit that screams hot rod and shouts elegance. Master wood and fiberglass craftsman Jimmy Davis spent countless hours inside the cab of Red Rocker, creating the classic Corvette-inspired dash, rear cab structure, and street rod-styled center console that flows between the reshaped '91 Suburban bucket seats. A custom dash center panel was built to house four Infinity 6 1/2-inch Perfect 6.1 component set speakers. Also, a custom speaker bar, stretching the length of the dash face, houses the Infinity tweeters and holds the Alpine head unit, while an Infinity 10-inch subwoofer, mounted in a custom subwoofer port in the center console, handles bass chores. Delivering tunes with authority are Infinity amplifiers mounted behind the seats on the back cab wall. Quality cabling, fuse blocks, and RCAs from Hooker Audio link all of the in-cab electronics together and ensure that the system's performance stays in check when this custom truck editor's favorite hair band hits come thundering out of the speakers. With the interior sculpting task complete and the symphony of sound equipment in place, the truck was trailered back to Hill's Hot Rods, where the rich, red basecoat with pearl-flaked hot licks was applied.

It's no secret that cover trucks need to be eye-catching. That's what sells magazines. So, when painter Jason Hill headed for the paint cabinet, I instructed him to stay on the brighter side. The only rule was that it had to be bright-red with lots of traditional flame licks. Craig Kennedy of Auto Air Colors mixed up a custom red for the base by blending Auto Air Colors Flame Red with some blue tints to eliminate the orange pigment. Once the truck was block-sanded to perfection, Red Rocker rolled into the booth and was coated with the bright-red topcoat. After a few days of letting the base color cure, it was time to light the fire and singe the sides of Red Rocker with some traditional flames. Hours of taping and masking were followed by the application of Auto Air Colors' Tequila Yellow Pearl, Coarse White Pearl, and Mango Orange onto the red backdrop to create the blazing inferno that dances down the sides. For depth and definition, the licks were striped in One Shot Orange and Green and the uncontrollable blaze was smothered in PPG Clear. The polishing buffer cleared the fog created from extensive color-sanding, and a cover truck was born. All that remained was to get some off-the-hook threads sewn up, attend to the details, and put it all back together for its '04 SEMA debut.