Ever had one of those days when you got so busy doing other things you completely forgot to do the one thing you set out to accomplish? Mike Godat of St. Peters, Missouri, has been guilty of wrenching on other people's custom rides and putting his own pride and joy on the back burner. On and off for eight years, his 2002 Silverado has seen three different front clips bolted on, multiple wheel styles under the fenders, and even several transmissions during the transformation. When his wife, Robin, was asked what the truck should be named, she immediately came back with "Eternity" because in her words, "It seems to have taken that long to build it." Good things come to those who wait, and this Caddy-clipped Chevy is definitely worth waiting for.
Learning the custom truck ropes from his dad Dale, the father and son teamed opened the doors to their very own shop, Elite Customs and Collision, in spring of 2004. Buying a wrecked truck can be a cheap way to start a project, and Mike picked up this Silverado for just over five grand. Putting the business first, he saw his neglected project sitting at the shop for years with minimal work being done to it. Five years went by until one day, Mike made up his mind to get the truck done. Here is the story of how he achieved his goal.
Step one: Slam it. A complete Ride Tech airbag suspension with StrongArms and the Cool Ride setup in the front and four-link with Air Bar out back allows the Chevy to tuck 24-inch Dropstars DS-02 wheels mounted in 295/30R24 Toyo Proxes II tires. An E3 controller mounted in the front portion of the custom center console gives Mike instant adjustability. Paint-matched SSBC calipers and 14-inch rotors bring the extra mass to an instant halt. Mike was quick to thank Joe Lynett for help on the suspension install.
Rarely seen in the custom world, Mike used braided hose and black AN fittings to plumb his
Step two: Show off. As a collision shop, Mike and Dale are no strangers to making a bent piece of metal straight again, and with the truck seeing so many different front clips as styles changed, the decision was made to show off what Elite Customs could do. Now residing on the nose is a complete 2010 Escalade Platinum edition front end, complete with custom-painted mesh inserts. This newer body-style front clip doesn't just bolt on, as the Godat family quickly found out. Parts modified include the fenders, hood, and wiper cowl. To tuck the 24s, the firewall had to be notched, front wheeltubs were fabricated, and the bed floor was tubbed and notched. Other body mods included shaving the door handles, third brake light, and molding in Caddy taillights and a roll pan with handformed, chrome-plated exhaust tips that would match the planned graphic for the body. Mike applied that graphic at Elite and used DuPont Hot Hues to pull off the unique colors. Below the graphic line, Mike used Starry Night as a base, then covered it in Molten Orange Candy giving it a root beer look. The graphic itself is Candy Apple Red with a Silver outline separating the upper Cosmic Dust that was also covered in Molten Orange Candy. Once the sun hits those colors, you'll need a pair of shades to protect your eyes from the out-of-this-world brightness.
"Almost eight years after purchasing the truck, opening a successful body shop, getting married, and having two kids, the truck was finally completed just before SEMA 2011."
Elite Auto is responsible for the Caddy taillights, molded license plate from a Mercury Mi
Step three: Explore new avenues. Mike tells us, "When I started on the truck, fiberglass work and audio were not on the top of my skill's list." After learning by doing, Mike felt no reservations to complete the custom dash started by Tony Dimmit. Now the futuristic dash is home to an Escalade dash cluster, trick A/C vents, and a large 10-inch monitor for DVD viewing from the JVC head unit. A genuine Escalade steering wheel handles directional chores, while David Tharp, of Underground Upholstery in Olathe, Kansas, reshaped and wrapped the seats in Calico saddle leather with orange suede inserts. The headliner was covered in orange suede, and is home to LED backlit mirrors, as well as three tribal-shaped mirrors that serve as a functional rearview mirror. Tunes are supplied by Arc Audio 6.5-inch speakers in the fiberglassed door panels, while bass can be felt and heard from an 8-inch JL Audio W7 sub mounted inside the fiberglass center console.
Step four: Don't skimp on the details. As the owner of a custom shop, Mike knows what it takes to bring a truck up to the next level. He paid close attention to details often forgotten such as the bed, engine, and added performance. Under the Escalade hood, the 5.3L was dressed to impress with paint and graphics applied to the Escalade beauty cover, custom wheeltubs, and fiberglassed radiator cover. Helping the V-8 run better, BBK ceramic-coated headers connect to a 3-inch Corsa exhaust. A large aluminum air intake tube is capped by a Spectre filter, which also provides the bling. One of our favorite mods is the painted engine block and accessories, along with the unique paintwork on the alternator. Out back, the bed was coated in Line-X, while the "floating" air tanks were plumbed with AN fittings and hose, and were custom-painted to match the tailgate graphic. A billet fuel cap leads to the custom fuel filler mounted on the driver side of the bulkhead.
Extra show points go to Mike’s Silverado any time the judges pop the hood and see an engin
Step five: Drive it and enjoy it. After eight years of work, many people would be content to sit and look at their hard work from a distance and never enjoy it. Mike and Robin would rather load up their two kids, Tyler and Addyson, and drive the truck until the wheels fall off. Tyler is even the proud owner of a custom-painted Power Wheels Escalade that perfectly matches dad's truck. With smiles on everyone's faces, it's hard to argue that a family who customizes together, stays together.
Inside the Build
2002 Chevy Silverado
Mike Godat | St. Peters, Missouri
Type: 5.3L V-8
Induction: Custom aluminum tubing with Spectre filter
Exhaust: BBK ceramic-coated headers and Corsa exhaust
Front suspension: Ride Tech StrongArms, Cool Ride airbag setup
Rear suspension: Ride Tech four-link with Air Bar
Brakes: SSBC 14-inch rotors and custom-painted calipers
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: Dropstars DS-02 24x10-inch with paint-matched blades
Tires: Toyo Proxes II 295/30R24