Being a part of the custom-truck scene in Texas is a huge commitment. The trucks that seem to magically emerge from the super-sized state are built with show-winning good looks and usually lean towards the extreme in the modifications department. Alfonso Cantu, who hails from South Houston, is a member of the Ground Zero club. And his '96 GMC Yukon was built right and looks tight. Taking an eye-catching yet subtle modification approach has garnered himself plenty of attention from show judges, and the Yukon is a staple at almost any show in the South.
This SUV's days of hauling anything but trophies is over as the subwoofer enclosure and am
Mando's Drop Shop in Houston, Texas, took the Yukon under its wing and proceeded to administer the lowered-suspension treatment. Belltech 2-inch drop spindles replaced the stock pieces, while the coils were removed in favor of Firestone airbags. Holding the rear suspension in place is a two-link and Panhard bar replacing the archaic leafsprings. All the way around, KYB shocks damp the undulations of the lonely Texas highways. GC 1/2-inch valves lift and lower the GMC with authority and use nitrogen from the interior mounted tank as the sole means of air sourcing. A set of Centerline Smoothy wheels was procured from Big Wheel Rus, before being laid in the capable hands of Custom Wheels by Dima, in Houston. Once locked into a CNC machine, they were whittled into one-off works of art. Hankook high-speed rubber sized 265/35R22 keep Alfonso glued to the road.
Rolling low, Alfonso's Yukon was headed for a full-body makeover from Diaz Custom Auto in Pasadena, Texas. Once there, the crew got busy freeing the exterior metal of most of its extraneous items. Parts like the rear bumper, radio antenna, door handles, gas door, and taillights were unceremoniously removed and welded closed in the name of customizing. The rear bumper was replaced with a Sir Michael's roll pan with LEDs and the fuel filler was moved and hidden in the rear pillar. Adding to the cool factor is a cowl-induction hood. The body shop owner Israel Diaz laid down the clean two-tone graphics and covered his company's bodywork in Midnight Blue, Orion Silver, and Limetime Green. Once it had been cut and buffed to a high sheen, the stock Yukon grille insert was cut out and replaced with a 30-bar billet unit. Further reassembly of the SUV found diamond-cut clear headlights, turn signals, and corner lights sprucing up the nose of the vehicle, as well.
Inside of the GMC is a host of entertaining multimedia gear, which was laid out to impress any discerning eye. PNG Custom,in Houston, labored intensively to make the interior flow smoothly from the dash to the luggage compartment. A one-off custom console made its way from the dash, dipping and rising its way between the front seats before sliding up and over into the rear of the vehicle, where it became the amplifier rack and subwoofer enclosure. A JVC head unit with mini viewing screen was fit into the center console along with the relocated HVAC controls. In the dash, a 10-inch monitor sits cleanly, and for the rear passengers, an additional LCD screen was placed center-stage in the console. Just to be sure that the video entertainment was covered, one more screen sits atop the amplifier pyramid, like a beacon to draw in lost travelers. Two Kicker amplifiers power the sound array with the stock GM door locations filled with Kicker components, while two Kicker subwoofers in their enclosure drop the bass frequencies. Two capacitors and an Optima battery keep 12-volts ready to pump up the jams at the turn of the volume control knob. Midnight Blue paint trims the console, dash, and a few other strategically contrasting components. The rest of the interior is mostly stock, save for the Aronjas Upholstery stitched, blue-ostrich inserts in the seat centers and the lower door panels. Everything available from the Empire Motorsports billet catalog was placed into the truck, along with a matching Billet Specialties billet steering wheel. The contrast of the blue, gray, and billet allows plenty of show without looking like a gaudy afterthought.
Alfonso's affiliation with Ground Zero is proof that the customizing hobby is a disease with no cure in sight. But when you have a ride like this and the backing of friends and family, then we say this is a disease we can live with. Alfonso pointed out that he couldn't have made it all happen without the help of Ground Zero, PNG Customs, Mando's Drop Shop, Custom Wheels by Dima, Diaz Custom Auto, Big Wheel Rus, and Big Arnold from New Jersey. It sounds to us like a motley crew of custom-truck buccaneers customizing their road through life and feeding the disease.