It's not just that this truck was built on the cheap that makes us insane with jealousy. Certainly, there have been scores of other trucks built for less. It's the fact that not only was this truck built for less than 5,000 bucks, but it kicks butt over most show trucks, including ours-and it's only a shop truck. This isn't Robert Meza's primary show vehicle. This sanitary Silverado is the truck he picks up parts in. Damn. We'll pause for a moment to allow that fact to sink all the way into your cerebral cortex and send an impulse to one of your middle fingers.

That's right, this candy-flamed, billet-adorned killer with the bench seat and leather interior is the man's parts-chaser and shop cruiser. The street rod-flavored bench seat is the giveaway. He kept the bench, so he and his boys could roll to lunch together in a truck that looks entirely too nice to be relegated to such mundane tasks. Yup, we are indeed jealous that our so-called show trucks don't look half as nice as Robert's cruiser. We guess that it just goes with the territory of owning your own custom shop.

Robert is a bodyman, through and through. He's also the quintessential sport truck fanatic, with six under-construction projects in the mix at all times. Robert picked up his '91 Chevy as a wrecked driver for cheap. Robert's bread and butter isn't made fixing wrecks, though. He specializes in crafting show trucks for his clients, friends, and associates of his club, Erratic. The Chevy had potential, so he snapped it up and parked it for three years while his attention was drawn toward greater things.

We all know that paint and body guys have all of the connections and hookups, and that's how they are able to build trucks for less than us commoners. Everyone, including upholsterers and fabricators, wants to be friends with a killer painter, so there's no need to try and figure out how Robert built his truck for less than we could ever dream of doing. When he finally got around to giving the Chevy its due attention, he quickly repaired the front-end damage by swapping the stock Silverado front clip for GMC parts. He also injected instant style into the standard cab by ditching the Fleetside bed for a Stepside unit. The new parts eliminated a hefty amount of bodywork that would have come with staying tried and true to the Bow Tie. However, we aren't prejudiced, and neither is Robert. The larger GMC grille looks perfect with billet stuffed inside it, anyway.

Since this is a shop truck, Robert didn't bother spending the time or expense of dropping it to the pavement with an airbag suspension. Instead, he relied on Belltech components to drop the GM 4 inches up front and 6 inches out back to quickly perfect the stance that not only looked good but also made driving the truck comfortable every day. It also doesn't hurt that the 20-inch Billet Specialties wheels left enough fender gap to fit 40-series rubber, which makes for one smooth ride. The suspension work took little time, which was good because with 28 years of bodywork experience under his belt, Robert knew the majority of the build time would best be spent using his real talent.

If you're going to build a mild custom that doesn't rely on flashy tribal graphics or a rocker-dragging stance, then you have to execute your paintjob in a tasteful manner to get your props from the custom crowd. Robert has a good eye for color and aesthetic, because his Chevy is smooth and silky, with just the right amount of flash to achieve magazine superstardom. The jet-black basecoat and traditional Kandy Red flames are the perfect complement to the red leather interior and moderate stance of this truck. If you focus your eyeballs on the front fender and look rearward, you'll find the body is as straight as a board, and the clearcoat is smooth as glass, too. There's nothing like cutting-edge craftsmanship and a timeless style to make your truck stand out from the crowd without spending a small fortune.

This truck has it where it counts. The requisite billet is found throughout the engine compartment and interior, but this ride is more than just polished aluminum. When you get up close and personal, you can see the quality of the work here, and beyond, and you can see a coherent style was adhered to, from start to finish. This is one cool, cheap, shop truck that we wish we had the talent to build. Thanks a lot for making us feel so good about ourselves, Robert.