Typically, your first truck is one that gets abused on the job site or thrashed just out of pure, unintentional carelessness, but for Carlos Botello, nothing could be farther from the truth. When his friends rolled by a '90 Chevy fullsize sitting on the side of the road with a For Sale sign stuck to the window, they gave him a call, knowing he had been looking for a truck just like that. When Carlos showed up to take a peek, it was resting on 15-inch wheels, sporting a factory-white paintjob that had turned yellow from years of neglect, and filled with the brown interior of death. Carlos saw past the factory-brown interior and was looking at his dream truck laid out, fully shaved, and sporting an interior that was the furthest thing from brown as possible.
A frenched-in Cadillac DeVille...
A frenched-in Cadillac DeVille license plate box and taillights keep the Caddy theme running from head to tail.
After the pink slip was in Carlos' possession, he drove the truck back to his house in Chino, California, and began pulling off the stock suspension components. The stock springs were replaced with Firestone 'bags, and a set of Belltech spindles was bolted between each of the control arms. Out back, Firestone 'bags were installed above the axle and plumbed using 1/2-inch line through eight Parker valves for front, back, and side-to-side action. The stock rollers were removed and replaced with 20-inch Oasis five-spoke Irok wheels wrapped in 35-series Nitto rubber.
Starbucks Customs airbrushed...
Starbucks Customs airbrushed the realistic flames with House of Kolor Cobalt Blue and then accented it using Violet Kandy.
It always seems like your friends have to one-up you, though, when it comes to building trucks, which was the case with Carlos' friend Daniel. Right around the time Carlos had 'bagged his truck, Daniel was pulling his 'bagged truck out of Starbucks Customs in Riverside, California, with a traditional set of flames. When he rolled over to show it off, Carlos took one look at the truck and knew that Starbucks Customs had to bring his truck to life.
Carlos sat down with Justin in the Starbucks showroom to go over a few graphic ideas. He knew that he wanted blue in his truck, but he wasn't sure that a traditional flame job was what he was after. Justin answered with a test panel flamed with the most untraditional flames he'd ever seen. The realistic flames were just what Carlos was looking for, so he handed the keys over.
The interior was ripped out...
The interior was ripped out and replaced with a flowing fiberglass dash, console, and sub box behind the seats.
Starbucks Customs began by shaving the door handles, gas door, drip rails, stake pockets, and taillights. A set of Caddy taillight buckets was molded in along with a Sir Michaels roll pan, and then accented with a frenched-in license plate box from a '96 Cadillac DeVille. To continue the Caddy theme, the front clip was removed and replaced with an Escalade nose and stuffed with a Trenz billet grille.
Once the truck had been primered and blocked, a basecoat of House of Kolor Pearl White was sprayed from head to tail. Starbucks then busted out with the airbrush and freehanded HOK Cobalt Blue flames with Violet Kandy accents over the nose, hood, and doors as well as behind the rear wheelwells and tailgate. The 'brushwork was then buried under several coats of clear to finish it up.
The gauges were replaced with...
The gauges were replaced with an 11-inch Accele monitor that displays the speedo' and tach or a DVD with the flip of a switch.
Now that the bar had been set on the exterior, Carlos turned to Al & Ed's and Advance Upholstery to pull out the dingy brown interior that had plagued the truck from the beginning and replace it with a complete one-off interior. Darren Sprayberry from the Ontario, California, Al & Ed's ripped out the dash and began custom-forming the new dash using 1/2-inch MDF, which was ribbed for support, and then fiberglassed to hold the custom shape. Since the factory computer still needed to interface with the OEM cluster, it was relocated, along with the A/C and headlight controls, to within the center console. To replace the gauges, an 11-inch Accele monitor was molded into the dash and wired to an HKS CAMP module, which converts the analog input to a digital signal.
The existing door panels were used to form custom fiberglass panels that flow smoothly into the 'glass dash. On each side of the dash are Boston Acoustic Z-series component speakers that were laser-aligned for perfect imaging within the cab. Behind the seats are two 12-inch Cutting Edge Audio subs powered by a Cutting Edge 1,000-watt Class-D amp. An additional 100-watt amp handles the Boston Acoustic separates, and an Alpine head unit was molded into the center console for easy access while cruising down the road.
Next, Darren went to town cutting plexiglass pieces for the armrests on the door panels, steering wheel, and center console. The armrests and center console pieces were drilled and super-bright LEDs were installed. The edges were polished so they would light up when the LEDs were switched on. The custom plexiglass steering wheel was formed, polished, and then mounted to the top of the ididit billet column. Once the interior was pieced together, the truck was taken back to Starbucks Customs, where the crew worked its magic smoothing the fiberglass and painted it to match.
The last stop was to Advance Upholstery in Brea, California, where the crew there handled the leather and suede within the cab. The stock bench seat was thrown away and a set of Honda buckets was recovered using white leather. Blue suede was inserted into the buckets and used to reskin the headliner, while blue cut-pile carpet was used to cover the floor, matching the paint scheme to a tee.
If you ask Carlos why he built his truck, he'll give you a simple answer, one that we always like to hear: "I built it for me, and only me." He knew what he wanted and built his truck just the way he had seen it in his head the first time he laid his eyes on it. After all, why would you want to drive around someone else's dream truck when you could be rollin' around in yours?