It was snowing in Tyler, Texas, and Andrew Adams and I were heading to a Mexican restaurant for some lunch. Riding around in his totally stock ’08 Chevy Tahoe, I started giving him a hard time. It went something like this, “Andrew, how in the world can a guy who has a custom Tacoma and has been featured in several different magazines have a stock Tahoe?” He laughed and said, “I bought a 4WD so I wouldn’t do anything to it.” At that moment, the wheels started turning in both of our heads and the custom truck bug bit him hard. We talked about different scenarios with a small lift and some 32-inch all-terrain tires and then he said something that would completely change the months to come, “Well, if we’re going to do it, we might as well do it right.” 10-4 good buddy, you’re coming in loud and clear.
After getting permission from his lovely wife, Lindsey, the entire Adams family was on board for turning their grocery getter into a bona fide triple threat Tahoe. Once Darryl Tracy created a digital rendering incorporating all of Andrew’s ideas, several orders were placed for parts. Rather than give you the play-by-play, we picked up the phone and talked to him directly. This is what he had to say:
Dan: So Andrew, what made you change your mind and finally start modifying your Tahoe?
Andrew: The real answer is, I can’t leave anything alone. I have never been satisfied with a stock vehicle and I have been modifying my cars and trucks since I got my first one. Also, I wanted to build something to take to SEMA because that show is the best of the best.
D: Why go with 8-inch Bulletproof lift instead of a simple leveling kit?
A: Well I wanted to run the new 35-inch Nitto Trail Grappler, and a leveling kit would just not get the job done, so I had to go with a larger kit.
D: I know your Tacoma was ’bagged, so did you have any experience with a big, lifted truck?
A: In high school I had a ’98 Z71 with 38-inch tires. It rode like a tank, but it was fun to drive. Not easy to change lanes in, but most cars moved out of the way.
D: Once you made the call to the guys at Ekstensive Metalworks, who are known for making trucks as low as they can go, what were your first thoughts when they said to bring the Tahoe down to Houston?
A: I have known Bill Carlton and the guys down there for a long time. Once Bill said he wanted to do it, I had no worries that my truck would be done to the same topnotch caliber he does the rest of the projects that roll in and out of that shop. I was not disappointed. The Ekstensive crew went above and beyond a regular install. They stripped all the undercoating off the front of the frame, painted parts, cleaned parts, some things that they were not even working on were painted, but they did it because it made the truck better.
D: How does the truck ride after the lift and big Nitto tires?
A: It rides like a Cadillac; those Fox coilovers are awesome. The tires rubbed, but after some minor trimming it’s all good now.
D: We’ve seen big power losses when we lift truck a with tires 35 inches or larger. Did you notice any drop off in power, or did the AEM intake, Edge programmer, and Corsa exhaust return it to factory?
A: Oh big time, I felt like I was in that TV commercial pulling the boat anchor. But after the intake, programmer, and exhaust were installed, things were back to being close to factory. The Tahoe had factory 4:10 gears, which helped some, but the aftermarket parts really picked up the slack.
D: What was your initial thought when we talked about doing a vinyl FLX-Paint wrap, instead of custom paint?
A: I did not want to do it. I thought there is no way that a wrap can look as good as paint does. Then you showed me the green and black truck from SEMA ’09 that was an FLX-Paint wrap. I had walked past the truck and looked at it multiple times at SEMA ’09 and never had a clue it was a wrap. That sold me.
D: You told me before that people don’t believe you when you tell them it’s not paint, what’s the craziest encounter you’ve had with someone?
A: Almost all the time people have to touch it. They really don’t believe that you can wash it, wax it, and clean it just like custom paint. The reason you can do that is because it is paint, just paint sprayed on vinyl. I like it, the main reason being if you get tired of it, you can just peel it off.
Inside the Tahoe, the two-tone Z71 leather was retained, and Performance Audio installed a
D: What were you expectations for the audio system?
A: I wanted something that I could crank up loud when I wanted and be very stealth at the same time. The JL audio equipment did not let me down. The new Stealth box has great bass sound and the HD amps produce so much power. It sounds like a concert hall in the truck. The bass knob is another great addition, so when my little man is in the truck I can turn the bass down or even completely off. The best part about the system is that is all looks stock thanks to Performance Audio.
D: How do like the finished product?
A: I love driving the Tahoe. I live in East Texas and we drove it out to the 2010 SEMA show. That thing got looks and thumbs up from here to Vegas and back.
D: With the Tahoe completed and driven every day, what else did you use it for?
A: You name it—I use that Tahoe for everything. It drives great and I am not scared to take it on long trips. I also tow my boat with it.
D: What’s the best mod/part you did?
A: I really liked the Corsa exhaust we put on the Tahoe. The sound is aggressive, but doesn’t drone out the cab. I am a big fan of Corsa now.
D: Anything you’d change?
A: I might have chosen different colors for the wrap and taken more time with the install.
D: Best memory of the build?
A: It would have to be the guys at Ekstensive and my friends working on the truck. We did the lift, shocks, wheels, tires, exhaust, intake, grille, and programmer in pretty much one day. The second day we got an alignment and cleaned up the loose ends, but for the most part the entire install was done in one day. They killed it and I could not be happier.
D: What did you learn during the process?
A: I learned Ekstensive Metalworks really can lift a vehicle, I will never drive to Vegas again, and listen to people that modify trucks everyday for a living. They know what they are talking about and know what will look good. Who would have thought red caliper covers would look so good?
D: What’s next?
A: I have a 2011 Ford Raptor Super Crew sitting in my driveway now. It’s really fun to drive. I might have to leave this one alone, but don’t count on it.
D: Any last words?
A: I really want to thank all the sponsors and companies that made this project possible, without these guys this would still be a bone stock Tahoe. I would also like to thank my friends, family, and Severed Ties that helped work on the truck and get it ready for SEMA. I would also like to thank you Dan, Brandan, Big Ryan, and New Guy for following me around taking pictures of the build up and dragging me out into the desert for an awesome photo shoot.
As seen in Issue 1, the Tahoe arrived at Ekstensive Metalworks, in Houston, completely sto
Leaving Ekstensive, the Tahoe dramatically different.
An 8-inch Bulletproof Suspension lift was installed in one day, along with the optional Fo
In Issue 2, we showed how easy it was to bolt on 23 rwhp thanks to an AEM intake, Corsa ex
We showed you the latest vinyl wrap technology in Issue 5 when we installed an FLX-Paint t
Here you can see Performance Audio building a cover for the JL Audio Stealth Box to make i