Though there are many styles or themes in which you can build your truck, it's hard to fine-tune your long-term build for one single look. Styles change with time, and it's difficult to address this in the middle of a build. If you do make updates, then you have to make sure they flow with the work that has already been done. The best advice is to remember the term KISS. It stands for Keep it simple, stupid; and it might be the most important thing to remember when building a custom truck.
A perfect example of this rule of thumb is Mike Abney's '93 Chevy Silverado. It is cleanly built down to the smallest detail, and it has everything done in just the right way. It's one thing to paint a truck in a single color, but if that color isn't a vibrant one the vehicle may go unnoticed. Check out Mike's truck. It has a mute cream basecoat and a candy red on top to set it off. The candy red also helps draw attention to the whole truck, where the paint creates a consistent theme throughout.
The two-tone scheme coats the clean bodywork that was done to simplify the exterior of the truck. On the cab, Mike shaved the third brake light and rear seams. After the doors were shaved, a set of aftermarket mirrors was bolted on. At the rear of the truck, Mike got rid of the Fleetside bed in order to stand out with a Stepside. Once on the truck, the new bed received a welded-in Grant Kustoms roll pan with Toyota Supra taillights since the the factory taillights had been shaved. The tailgate was also shaved, and it received a license-plate box. The older-style original front clip was modernized with one from a '99 Escalade and fitted with a modified '03 GMC Sierra bumper.
To accent the stylish body, Mike chose to go low by first getting the frame flat on the pavement. To raise it up to a driveable height, he added a set of airbags with mounting cups in the front and airbagged the rear via a two-link and Panhard bar. The frame-scraping stance was a nice look, but Mike knew the truck would look cleaner if the frame became invisible. The solution was to give the Chevy a traditional 2-inch body drop. This brought the truck to a shockingly low stance and made for an overall better appearance.
One of the coolest mods on Mike's Silverado is the integrated '59 El Camino dash. Mike wanted to throw people off when they looked inside the cab, plus he really likes the look of older dashes in newer trucks. He found this particular dash rusting away at the local junkyard, and after the necessary repairs were made Mike mounted it up and made fillers to fit it in just right. Then, custom door panels were made, and Mike crafted some pieces to flow them into the dash. Nothing was sacrificed in the swap to the older dash: The radio, light, and A/C controls were relocated to a new custom console. To finish the interior, the seats and panels were upholstered to match the exterior paint. Then the little details like dyeing all the plastics and installing numerous pieces of billet were tackled.
This truck was neither an overnight success nor easy for Mike to work on. Throughout the build, he struggled with the limited workspaces of his parents' garage and friends' driveways. The project was begun in the mid '90s and only recently completed, and in such a long span, the truck could have easily become outdated before it was even complete. In a wise decision, Mike followed the KISS principle, and in doing so he has ensured that his truck will remain stylish for years to come.
Mike Abney / Weatherford, Texas
'93 Chevrolet Silverado
GM 350-cid V-8 painted to match exterior two-tone / chrome valve covers / billet underhood dress-up kit / GM 700R4 automatic trans / driveshaft shortened2 inches / painted factory rearend
Front & Rear: 20x8.5 Center Line Dagger with 5.5-inch backspacing
Front & Rear: 255/35R20 Kumho
Front: DJM drop spindles / Firestone 224c airbags / Ekstensive Metalworks airbag mounting cups / Toxic shocks
Rear: Ekstensive Metalworks two-link with Panhard bar / Firestone 224c airbags / Toxic shocks
Accessories: Two nitrogen bottles with Ekstensive Metalworks mounting brackets / Thomas compressor / 9-gallon reserve air tank / 3/8 Firestone valves
Chassis: Ekstensive Metalworks step notch / chassis painted to match exterior
Two-inch traditional body drop / '99 Escalade front clip with modified '03 GMC Sierra bumper / shaved antenna, door handles, third brake light, cab seams, fuel door, taillights, tailgate handle, stake pockets / Grant Kustoms roll pan with Toyota Supra taillights / custom license plate box in tailgate / custom notch cover in bed with Plexiglas to show rearend / Street Scene mirrors / smooth wiper cowl / spray-on bedliner
House of Kolor Candy Apple Red, PPG Silver, and PPG Cool Vanilla
By: Owner / Steve "Fella"
'59 El Camino dash modified to fit / Dolphin gauges / Billet Specialties Classic steering wheel, pedals, and misc. billet pieces / custom center console / factory seats reupholstered in red and cream suede / other plastics dyed cream / custom door panels with '59 El Camino handles, '57 Bel Air armrest, and vintage trim / tan carpeting
BY: Owner / Cal Top Shop in Fort Worth, Texas (upholstery)
Alpine CDE-9841 head unit / Pioneer 4-inch speakers / two JL Audio 10-inch subwoofers
Wife Dawn, Mom, Dad, grandparents, Steve Abney, Zack Nicholson, Steve "Fella," Red, Jeff, Rusty, Jimmy, Cal Top Shop, FinishMaster, Summit Racing, Chuck's Muffler, and Dolphin Gauges