Brandon Michael Wooden * Plainfield, Indiana'95 Chevrolet Suburban
All of us dream of building a show vehicle, or more importantly, a winning show vehicle. Having been involved in the scene since 1996, Brandon Wooden thought it was time for a project to take newbies through the process of building a winning ride using only the best manufacturers' products. The "Big Wood Project" began as a build on a '95 Chevy Suburban for GaugeMagazine.com and was to be the centerpiece in a series of articles aimed at first-timers. At the time, Brandon was the editor and his goal was to debut the Chevy at the 2003 SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
The first step was to put together a memorable sponsorship package to start getting manufacturers on board. With the help of Donnie and Ginger Babb, the trio secured Joe Mattis of TR Manufacturing and Air Lift Suspension to provide adjustable suspension and a body drop. Rolling out of the shop on 22-inch wheels, the Suburban was then ready for the bodywork to be cleaned up and sent to Mike Menchhofer to begin working his magic on the paint. After taking one look at this vehicle, you can see how a year was spent completing the exterior. The airbrush work is nothing but perfection with insane creativity. You'll find everything from skulls, bubbles, faces, flames, wood grain, and anything else you can wrap your mind around in this amazing paintjob.
Although the SUV wasn't complete, Brandon was ready for the 'Burban to make an appearance at the Indy Truck Bash in Indianapolis. To take such a sick project with only the paint and wheels finished to a show was pure genius because it reeled in new sponsors. With a few sneak peeks the night before and a lot of hype and spectators during the show, Brandon walked away with both audio and interior sponsors.
At the ITB show, the Big Wood Project was selected by Kicker Audio to showcase its new line of audio components, so the system components were sent to Discount Audio in Louisville, Kentucky. With a time crunch of only three weeks, the DA crew had their work cut out for them. The crew constructed a fiberglass enclosure to hold the mids, highs, and the Solo X 18-inch subwoofer. Time was counting down to get the vehicle to Troy Whitt at Kustom Koncepts to dial in the rest of the interior before the next show.
Heads were spinning as Brandon and his crew raced into Troy's shop. The Kustom Koncepts crew were not only gracious enough to host this buildup at their shop, but they were hard at work completing the panels for the interior. Everyone knew his job and got straight to work. While Brandon and his Gauge team were working on the air suspension, John Arnold and Nathan Goff of Discount Audio were tying up loose ends on the stereo equipment. After about 15 hours of nonstop work, Brandon headed home, leaving the build in Troy's capable hands. He would be back in time for the end of the build and ready to hit the road.
Arriving back at Kustom Koncepts, Brandon found the crew exhausted. With a package full of accessories from Empire Motor Sports, the finishing touches inside the 'Burban were put into place. Brandon and friends hit the road with everything in place except for the seats. The interior looked great even without seats, and many SEMA spectators actually thought that the seats collapsed into the floor, which made for an interesting conversation starter.
The Big Wood Project had a showing in every publication that covered SEMA. It also gained an appearance in the first airing of the television show Rides. Heading back to Alabama to have the interior finished up, Brandon was excited to not only see the completion of the project but to make the rounds for the 2004 season. During the next season, he made it back to SEMA and also attended an additional 35 shows, winning such titles as Best in Show, Best Paint, Best Interior, and Mayor's Choice. With two years' worth of car shows, countless wins, and features in multiple truck publications, Brandon's Big Wood Project definitely lives up to its name.
Chevy 5.7L 350 / Edelbrock intake manifold
Front & Rear: 22x10 HPD Spinout
Front & Rear: 295/30/22 Hankook
Front: Air Ride Technologies 2-inch lowered spindles / ART tubular control arms and shocks
Rear: ART lift 'bags / parallel four-link
Accessories: Air Lift engine-driven compressor / 12-gallon air tank / four nickel-plated valves / 20-gallon custom fuel cell
Chassis: Rear bridge notch
BY: Joe Mattis at TR Manufacturing, Auburn, Indiana
2-3/4-inch body drop / shaved roof rack, door handles, emblems, antenna, third brake light / molded dash smoothed and painted / molded roll pan / reinforced front fenders / modified Sierra bumper / '99 Denali front end and fenders / billet grille / LEDs molded into rear pillars / Pro Finish hood / Street Scene mirrors
BY: Jim Land / Joe Mattis
House of Kolor Tangelo Orange, Purple Passion, Red, Green, Yellow, White, Blue, Silver
BY: Mike Menchhofer, Indianapolis, Indiana
Custom Cerullo seats in Ultraleather / Porsche camel carpet / custom console wrapped in Ultraleather / BAD Carnage steering wheel / Empire Motor Sports shifter, pedals, A/C vents, rearview mirror / APC white-face gauges / Phipps door and ceiling lights and door handles / door panels wrapped in Ultraleather / House air gauges / Auto Meter gauges / custom-painted floor mats
BY: Troy Whitt at Kustom Koncepts, Decatur, Alabama
Pioneer AVH-6500DVD with 6.5-inch monitor / four Kicker 8-inch SSMB8, four 6-inch SS65.2, and four SS65.2 speakers / Kicker 18-inch Solo X subwoofer / two Kicker SX700.4 amps for mids and highs / Kicker SX1250.1 amp for sub / Stinger wiring / amps and air tank covered in Deco-Tech automotive finish / all mids and highs molded in fiberglass panels in the bottom of the door / custom-fiberglassed sub enclosure / interior covered in Dynamat
BY: John Arnold at Discount Audio, Louisville, Kentucky
Donnie and Ginger Babb; Matt Petro; Joe Mattis and Matt Mason at TR Manufacturing; Jody Crue at Trophy Source; Big Mike; Kevin Houston at Foster Marketing; Bart Deele at Kicker; Keith Higgins, Nathan Goff, and John Arnolds at Discount Audio; Rob Robertson; Jason Swinford; Eric Bailey; Chad Wiggins; Todd Townsend at Optiflo; Kevin Aguilar at Sport Truck; Dan Davis; Air Lift; Mike Dolson; and Jerry Kuner