When it comes to towing, many drivers are perfectly happy using their standard-duty ½-ton trucks. For those that tow heavier loads and need more torque, a 2500 or 3500HD will easily get the job done. However, Ricky Rygaard of Texas City, Texas, wanted the best possible rig to tow his 'bagged Tahoe to shows. So, he set his sights on something that's closer to a commercial-grade truck than a consumer pickup: the GMC TopKick C5500. After making a deal with Extensive Metalworks' owner Bill Carlton on the custom Top Kick he owned, Ricky proceeded to modify this colossal truck into something truly unique.
Working hand-in-hand with Houston–based custom shop Ekstensive Metalworks, GMC was brought down to terra firma via a full air suspension. The front and rear solid axles were fit with Firestone 'bags and matching four-link setups, and a Panhard bar and C-notch were added out back. KYB shocks and a custom front sway bar ensure the truck rides smoothly and handles precisely. Refusing to accept an off-the-shelf wheel design, Ekstensive also custom-made the truck's 24-inch billet wheels, then powdercoated them in gloss black. This lowered stance combines with the C5500's enormous size to create a seriously menacing look.
To give the truck even more custom flair, Ekstensive made a surprising number of body modifications. First, the truck was stretched a whopping 24 inches between the doors, and custom running boards were made for each side. Up front, a custom sheetmetal bumper, custom grille, and frenched-in Range Rover headlights give the big GMC an air of luxury. Out back, a new-body–style Ram dualie bed was sculpted to fit the body lines and custom-mounted to the frame. Finally, the entire exterior was sprayed in a deep metallic red hue, leaving behind the truck's workhorse looks once and for all.
With so much interior space inside the stretched cab, Ricky had plenty of space for some hardcore audio gear. After a call to his friends Chris Dragon and Jeremy Brenner at JBL, a tower of speaker boxes showed up on his doorstep, including six 12-inch subwoofers, four amps, and a full set of component speakers. To house all this equipment, custom fiberglass panels were formed by Heath Moore at Sinner's Garage in Houston. A sleek center console houses the partially exposed amplifiers, and two huge panels at the truck's midsection contain the sextuplet of subwoofers. Video screens are scattered throughout the interior, from the dash to the rear doorsills, and there's even a custom gun rack overhead.
Ricky set out to build the ultimate tow rig for his Tahoe, and we'd say he was successful. His TopKick looks mean, rides low, scares the neighbors with its sound system, and can effortlessly transport his other projects to shows across the country. A heavy-duty hauler doesn't get much better than this. Ricky would like to thank the team at Ekstensive, Bill Carlton, Chris Dragon and Jeremy Brenner at JBL, Heath Moore at Sinner's Garage, and his friends and family for helping make this dream a reality.
Inside the Build
Year Make Model:
2006 GMC TopKick C5500
Owner and City/State:
Ricky Rygaard • Texas City, Texas
Type: 6.6L Duramax turbodiesel V-8
Induction: K&N cold-air intake
Exhaust: Magnaflow 5-inch with side-exit tip
Engine Management: Edge Evolution CS tuner
Transmission: Allison 1000 five-speed automatic
Rearend: 4.88 gears
Front suspension: Ekstensive four-link, Firestone 'bags, KYB shocks, custom sway bar
Rear suspension: Ekstensive four-link with Panhard bar, C-notch, Firestone 'bags, KYB shocks
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: 24-inch Custom Ekstensive billet
Tires: 325/45R24 Pirelli Scorpion ATR
The dash fascia, B.A.D. billet wheel, custom center console, and fiberglass door panels ha
Opening the doors reveals video screens recessed in the doorsills, as well as cleverly mol
Sitting in the back seats, passengers are greeted by two huge fiberglass enclosures with a