Most of us would see this truck and assume that the owner must have a few customs under his belt, and how wrong we'd be. This magnificent metalwork is the creation of a first-time artisan. With absolutely no experience in the truck-customizing field, Jose Rodriguez of Mission, Texas, pitted his mettle against metal and really hammered out a stunner.

Jose jumped into the shallow end of the pool-head first-with the purchase of a Chevrolet Silverado in standard cab, shortbed configuration. Hitting the chassis modifications first, Castelan's Customs in McAllen, Texas, made way for some air-induced, gravity-defying suspension. Air Ride Technologies was sourced for front and rear components. Strong Arms replaced the puny, stamped stockers, and a Cool Ride 2,600-pound 'bag set makes the front end dip and rise. For rear components, Air Ride once again came to the aid of Castelan's and Jose. Out came the archaic leaf spring suspension and in went a new, technology-driven, bolt-on Air Ride Air Bar four-link. The Air Bar kit suspends the rear of the truck, with a another 2,600-pound 'bag system up front. Creating driveability from the entire kit and caboodle is a Ride Pro air management system featuring 1/2-inch valves and air line. Slowing the action of the harsh Texas byways are KYB nitrogen-pressurized spring dampers. Sparkling, rolling fare from Driv adds a dash of class to the Caddy-equipped Silverado. Four 22x9-1/2-inch Sessnas are pressurized with 265/35ZR22 Kumho ECSTAstx corner grippers for easy gliding across the tarmac.

That high-priced front end hides the face of the 5.3L V-8 living and breathing under the hood. Opening up its intake ability and freeing up some hidden ponies is a K&N FIPK intake. Any and all of the spent fumes remove themselves from the small-block through stock manifolds and a Borla 3-inch after-cat rumbler. Keeping the fire lit is an Optima RedTop, and covering the top of the bland factory intake manifold is a Cadillac Escalade 6.0L engine cover painted silver to complement the exterior paint.

Obviously, the appeal of this truck is the exterior snap. Credit goes to Custom Creations from Pasadena, Texas, for attention to detail. Custom Creations did more than just garner Jose some show points with the Cadillac clip. Under the SnugTop tonneau lie two huge wheeltubs to clear the 22s at full dump, surrounded by a sheet-smooth bed floor and inner tailgate. Speaking of the tailgate, Custom Creations created a seamless side hinge system to add some wow factor to the already appealing package. Although it would seem the bulk of the welding and filling was inside the bed, the rest of the truck saw a lot of spark-tossing action as well. Adding to the smooth appeal was the loss of the antenna hole, door handles, third brake light, stake pockets, tailgate handle, and taillights. The latter was replaced by a flush-mounted pair of LEDs. Shaving the door handles was just the starting point for the doors as they got the go-ahead for a full upswing into Lambo land. Also keeping things looking up is the power sunroof mounted over the cab and its passengers. Color saturation comes in the form of PPG Silver over Blue with a tribal flame, flavoring the mash of pigmentation.

On the inside of the Italian copy doors is a remake of the shell. Silver and blue mark the interior with the flame element playing through. Anything that could be colored was done so, including all the factory plastics and one-off center console, which were smoothed and smothered in PPG's finest tones. Jose slipped his ride into the confines of Pepe's Electronics wiring world. Situated in Palmview, Texas, Pepe's soldered up a range of in-cab visuals. A big Kenwood screen takes center stage in the dash and gets its signal from the Kenwood flip-face head unit in the custom console, while another video monitor calls the dash home. Four JL Audio amps push 2,600 watts through two 12-inch JL subs mounted in the bed in a blow-through Plexiglas enclosure, while one pair of 6-1/2-inch separates in the kick panels and one pair of 6-inch mid-bass drivers and 4-inch separates are located in the door panels. While relaxing in the standard cab, the Katzkin two-tone leather seats provide Jose and his passenger some supple luxury. Blue carpet adds a hint of detail to the already overwhelming interior.

In the end, Jose gathered together-with the help of a few shops and friends-the right ingredients for a successful show-truck recipe. As the owner himself puts it, "It's a great experience setting a goal and getting it accomplished". We agree. Jose is just getting started in the world with his baby-steps-into-manhood project. Look for this truck to garner a few trophies in the coming season. Jose hands out handshakes to the shops that did the work, his friends in the club Beyond Limit, his brother Pablo Rodriguez, and personal friend Lee Roy Perez. With no prior experience, Jose has set the bar high.