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Diego Navarro * Fresno, CA
'99 Chevy Silverado
Whether you're the kind of person who lightly modifies a truck by adding simple bolt-ons, or a person who fabricates parts for a truck, we all have the same goal. That underlying objective is to take a regular truck and style it to your liking so that it doesn't get lost in the crowd of other mass-produced vehicles. For Diego Navarro of Classic Soft Trim in Fresno, California, nothing can ever be left untouched because he has a need to personalize all of his possessions. He has always been into everything automotive and isn't afraid to get his hands dirty in order to make improvements. So, it comes as no surprise that he would end up getting into custom trucks and working in the automotive scene.
When Diego purchased this '99 Chevy Silverado, it was used, had the factory Light Pewter paint, and had a major dent in the passenger-side door. While trying to fix the door in his friend's driveway, he was told that he would not be able to paint the door and match it up to the rest of the truck. So, he ended up having the whole truck repainted in the original color while adding a cowl hood. He also lowered the stance and bolted on a set of 20s. The truck was far from being a showstopper, but it was exactly what Diego wanted to roll around in.
Everything was fine and dandy until Diego spotted someone else in his town who had performed exactly the same mods to his truck. Since the point of customizing any truck is to make it different from all of the others, Diego was not cool with the fact that his Silverado had a twin in his town. Diego always wanted to go to the next level with his truck anyway, and this situation really motivated him to move forward with it. From there, the first idea that popped into his head was to paint the truck in a whole new color. For this he looked to Jay Martinez, owner of Jay's Auto Body in nearby Fowler, California.
Jay's shop has a good reputation in the area, and Diego was impressed enough with the work he saw that he dropped off his truck to have it not only shaved and painted silver, but also updated with an '06 Silverado front end. Once Jay and his crew worked the body straight, the truck was set in primer before it was to receive a coating of House of Kolor's Orion Silver paint.
At this time, Diego was very anxious to see the truck done, but Jay's shop was slammed with work and it could not paint the truck for another two weeks. During the same time, Jeremy Thorton, owner of Bad Habit Customs, was bugging Diego to let him take the truck further by airbagging it to lay flat on the frame. When Jeremy heard that the truck was going to sit at Jay's for another two weeks, he told Diego that he could do all the work during that time. Usually, installing a full air ride system on a truck means that the vehicle will be out of commission for awhile. Since the truck was already sitting around, Diego was inclined to have it done because it wasn't going take any longer to have it finished.
At Bad Habit Customs, Jeremy, Carlos, Vince, and Pancho, proceeded to remove the suspension in lieu of a custom one that would help it get down over a set of 22-inch Billet Specialties SLG06 wheels. On the front, the crew used the McGaughy's drop spindles that were already on the truck, made a new set of control arms, and bolted on a set of Slam Specialties RE-7 airbags. For clearance, the firewall was tubbed and a set of steel trailer fenders replaced the stock inner fenders. In the rear, a parallel four-link was made with a Panhard bar and a cantilever system, along with a set of Slam Specialties RE-8 airbags. To allow the narrowed rearend to travel upward, the frame received a step notch while the bed floor was cut and patched up with a custom notch cover and another set of trailer fenders.
With the suspension done, the truck was taken back to Jay's with just enough time to get it painted right on schedule. While there, Diego spotted a '66 Cadillac convertible that had a deep candy apple paintjob. Diego liked what he saw, and wanted to incorporate the color on his truck. After the Orion Silver basecoat was dry, Diego had Kool Hand Luke of Fresno, California, lay out a flame design in tape and sprayed the transparent candy color over the silver paint. Then, Luke airbrushed the flames for depth and striped them in a light blue color. Once it was done, Jay locked in the color with several coats of clear. After being color-sanded and buffed by friend Richard Manning, this truck shined like never before.
After seeing the finish of the exterior, Diego had to continue the custom work inside the cab. Here, the theme for the interior was cleanliness, while still adding a lot more shine. Diego pulled out the entire interior and had Jay's smooth and paint a few plastic pieces like the dash. While this was getting done, Diego was busy at Classic Soft Trim recovering the seats with a Roadwire kit. When everything went back in, Diego improved the audio capabilities by adding two sets of component speakers, three 10-inch subwoofers, and an Eclipse navigation-ready head unit to operate it all.
For the final touches, Diego decided to powdercoat all of the suspension components to match the flames. However, when he contacted Jeremy, he found out that he was no longer in the business of fabricating lowered airbag suspensions, but the crew that had worked on Diego's truck had started their own shop, called Choppin' Block Kustom Fab in Fresno, California. So, Diego hit up the guys to dismantle the suspension for powdercoating. At the same time, he had the crew install a set of Baer 14-inch brakes with calipers powdercoated to match the suspension. Once back together, this truck took on a totally new appearance and we're sure it hasn't been duplicated.