Have you ever needed a cup of milk to make your breakfast, or just a little bit of sugar to finish up dinner in the kitchen? Sure you have, and most of us can relate to walking next door and asking for a benevolent contribution. We do it, because after all, we're supposed to treat our neighbors as ourselves. When you're the neighbor of a Truckin' editor, you get more than just milk or sugar. You get the gift that keeps on giving. One day driving home from work, I saw a guy working on his 'bagged Silverado and we began talking about trucks and the passion that comes with owning a custom ride. After shaking his hand, I began to think about how cool his truck could be with just a little help.
A couple months later, we were talking again and I mentioned needing a truck for some paint and body tech we had planned. Humbly offering his truck for anything we needed, the wheels began to turn in my head. You may recognize this truck as Project Intimidator, where we started with a white Chevy and turned it into a magazine-worthy show truck. The end result is clear. Besides, who needs sugar, anyway?
Mike Thomas is a virtual member of the Truckin' family. After all, he gave us his truck in faith that we would make it better than ever, he's been seen at countless shows with his Truckin' banner emblazed across the windshield, and his truck was the first to grace the cover of our calendar in years. Involved in the sport for more than a decade, Mike always wanted a custom truck in his favorite truck mag. His '01 Chevy Silverado was already airbagged on 20-inch wheels and had a full-face billet grille, but was stuck in the common "what next?" rut. We helped him by contacting Late Model Restoration Supply in Hewitt, Texas, for an '03 Silverado frontend conversion. The swap included the hood, fenders, headlights, bumper brackets, and grille shell. Handling the swap was the team at 714 Motorsports in Westminster, California. The addition of a Street Scene Equipment SS front bumper cover and Speed Grille inserts helped to finish off the front-end. Swapping the taillights for '04 Silverado units, no one would ever guess what year Mike's truck is. Good things didn't stop for Mike with just the frontend swap, either.
Todd from 714 Motorsports also shaved the door handles and added a combo skin to the rear, which smoothed out the truck drastically. Delivering the truck to the paint pros at Kelly and Sons in Bellflower, California, Mitch and Shaggy finished and cleaned up the bodywork, then prepped the truck for the multiple colors of PPG Vibrance paint to be applied. Once the body was smoothed, Mitch and Tom went to work taping off the long, wispy traditional flames along the truck and masked off the top for the PPG Crystal Black.
Under the black coat, the bottom of the truck received a coat of Vibrance Sunset Orange. PPG Vibrance Silver Star was then applied for the amazing hot-rod flames. Even the tonneau cover received the flame treatment. Tom Kelly then stepped in and used his steady hand to pinstripe the truck's flames in black and he added some old-skool flair on the hood in orange. No more boredom for this truck, it now looked the part of a killer truck.
Originally 'bagged by Devious Customs in Ontario, California, for the 20-inch wheel and tire combo, new suspension and body mods were needed to clear the new 22-inch Detata wheels and Continental tire package planned for the truck. Enter GO-EZ in Fullerton, California, where the crew tubbed the rear for the larger wheels and built front inner fenders to make it lay out. GO-EZ also installed an Air-Zenith air compressor for quick fill-ups, the Advanced Flow Engineering (aFe) cool-air intake, and the Power Slot larger brake rotors with Hawk brake pads. It was then time to add the final exterior piece of the puzzle: the wheels and tires. On went 22-inch DeModa Concept DF-1 black wheels with 265/35R22 Continental tires. With a grin from ear to ear, Mike couldn't believe how great his truck looked, but he knew the interior needed an overhaul, too.
A quick drive to Westminster, where 714 Motorsports calls home, and Mike had the truck torn apart and ready to receive its new gear. Cut down and reshaped Chevy seats were wrapped in black leather with orange stitching, then the dash was pulled -only to be wrapped completely in black suede. The headliner and door panels were also wrapped in suede. A Billet Specialties Fast Lane steering wheel was installed, along with a Hurst shifter and US Speedo gauge cluster, adding to the good looks of the interior. Beach Audio in Huntington Beach, California, added an Alpine head unit and built a sub enclosure housing a 10-inch Diamond sub behind the seat.
As a newfound member of Relaxed Atmosphere, Mike is more involved than ever in the custom-truck community. No longer in a rut, his truck is now his pride and joy. Cruising the coast of Southern California is now the perfect way to escape the doldrums of any 9 to 5. Mike wanted to extend special thanks to his club brothers, Art Gomez, Jeff, Leo, Tammy, Eric, Todd, Manny, Casey, Sergio from Deranged, Air-Zenith, PPG, Mitch and Tom at Kelly and Son, Continental, and DeModa Concepts. And just think, it all started by being neighbors.