Bobby Martinez of Clovis, New Mexico, jokingly calls his truck The Crapalade, which couldn't be further from the truth, but his jaded attitude is understandable once you find out that it was built in three months for SEMA. It's a story that some can personally relate to, but more so, one that many of you have read before within the pages of Sport Truck: A truck is picked up, built in record time for the show of all shows, and then it all catches back up with the builders. Most want to climb in a hole and sleep for about six months, but life's not fair like that.
For Robby, it all started when he picked up this '99 Chevy Silverado from a local wholesale dealer last August and took it back to his shop, Solar Shield. The game plan was to do a full Caddy conversion on the truck, but it was important that the truck wasn't just another cookie-cutter vehicle. It would need to have features that no other truck would have at SEMA.
The first thing on the to-do list was to get the truck to sit at a respectable level. Tony at Southwest Concepts pulled out the lower control arms and replaced them with DJM drop pocket arms. A set of Firestone 2,600-pound 'bags replaced the coil springs and were plumbed with 1/2-inch line through Parker valves. The rear axle was flipped and treated to Firestone 'bags as well, which were run through the valves to a 244ci nitrogen tank mounted in the rear. To finish off the job, a set of 22-inch Edge Concepts Arrow wheels encased in Toyo rubber was set onto each corner.
Elmo at Northstar Paint & Body removed the front bumper, grille, and hood, and began to reshape the front fenders to accept the new sheetmetal from an '02 Escalade. The hood was removed and a set of recessed vents was cut into the driver and passenger side of the hood. Six chrome trim pieces were cut to length and tapered for some additional styling, and were later installed once everything was painted and put back together.
To help clean up the cab, the seams were filled, the door handles were shaved, a set of Street Scene mirrors was added, and a custom third brake light was set in above the rear window. Below the window, the stake pockets were filled, and the stock taillights were removed, filled, and replaced with Caddy tails. To complement the custom styling on the nose of the truck, Elmo decided to do something a little different with the tailgate. An extruded design was started from the sides of the tailgate and brought in to meet at an angular peak at the center.