The world of high-end customizing looks huge on TV, but that is not always the reality. Shops are few and far between that can actually lay their hands on a big-dollar ride and make it into something even better. Integrating into current factory electronics is only marginally easier than hacking into the Pentagon's website. Where do you turn if you have the dinero and a baller truck or SUV? If you watch TV lately, and if you're in Los Angeles, then the choice is clear: Just knock on the door of West Coast Customs.
Tony Gwynn, Jr. did just that. With a fresh Cadillac Escalade, Tony knew he had to do something different to separate himself from the masses. Bolting on 22s and tinting the windows wasn't going to cut the mustard in his book. Adding some snap to the already visually appealing Caddy required bringing it down from its high stock stance. WCC engaged in a fierce battle, but in the end, the Escalade lost and laid itself down to the victors. To get the big SUV to lie down, DJM lower control arms were installed in front with Firestone 2,600-pound air bellows. Since the all-wheel drive was kept intact, space was an issue between the front driveshafts and airbags. Creating room to run front shocks necessitated a trick taken from the off-road guys. WCC fabricated an over-the-engine shock hoop, creating an upper shock mount, while the lower shock mount was run from the top of the upper A-arm. In the rear suspension department, the coils were sent packing and, once again, Firestone 2,600-pound airbags were put in place. A custom C-notch was created, and the rear link bars were helped into alignment with DJM mounts. Nitrogen-charged shocks damp the 'bag oscillation. For rolling hardware, painted and chromed monstrous 24x10-inch Giovanna Gellos were wrapped with Kumho 305/35R24 rubber. Hauling Gwynn Jr. and his big Giovannas down from speed are Brembo cross-drilled rotors and four-piston calipers.
A stock Cadillac Escalade with the 6.0L V-8 puts out a healthy 345 hp, but the power is quickly devoured by the all-wheel-drive system. Helping to bring some grins to Tony's face, West Coast Customs installed a fully polished Whipple supercharger system. A smooth intake and some computer tweaks help produce some good boost numbers. The Whipple, in conjunction with a MagnaFlow after-cat exhaust, pushes the 6.0L into the 400-plus hp territory, which is just the thing for throwing all four 24s up in smoke.