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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.

The 411
Year/make/model:
'99 Chevy Silverado

Engine/drivetrain:5.3L V-8 / BBK 80mm throttlebody / Airmax cold-air intake painted to match exterior / Edelbrock headers / MSD plug wires / two Optima batteries / computer tuned by a Diablo progammer / dual exhaust with Magnaflow mufflers / B&M shift kit / relocated computer, painted fuse box, and radiator overflow tank / painted engine cover and radiator cover / 12-bolt Chevy rearend narrowed 4 inches / Richmond 4.10 gears / Eaton positraction unit
BY: Owner / Bad Habit Customs and Choppin' Block Kustom Fab of Fresno, California

Rims:
Front & Rear:
22x10 Billet Specialties SLG06

Tires:
Front:
265/35ZR22 Pirelli Scorpion
Rear: 295/35ZR22 Pirelli Scorpion

Suspension:
Front:
Choppin' Block upper and lower control arms powdercoated candy apple red / McGaughy's drop spindles powdercoated candy apple red / Slam Specialties RE-7 airbags / custom airbag cups / Nitro Drop shocks
Rear: Choppin' Block parallel cantilever four-link and Panhard bar powdercoated candy apple red / Slam Specialties RE-8 airbags / Nitro Drop shocks
Accessories: Two Viair 380C compressors / Choppin' Block engine-driven air compressor kit / 5-gallon air tank / 1/2-inch Parker valves / AVS digital gauges and 9-switch billet airbag controller / cross-drilled and slotted 14-inch Baer brakes with calipers powdercoated candy apple red /
Chassis: Rear step notch / factory fuel tank raised 2 inches
By: Bad Habit Customs and Choppin' Block Kustom Fab, Fresno, California

Body Mods:
'06 Chevy Silverado front clip / shaved door handles, third brake light, fuel door, taillights, tailgate handle, and stake pockets / Sir Michaels rollpan with AVS LED taillights mounted in / Street Scene mirrors / custom wheel tubs made from trailer fenders / custom notch cover in bed / spray-on bedliner / Precision billet upper and lower grilles / Empire billet bowtie
By: Jay Martinez of Jay's Auto Body, Fowler, California

Custom Paint:
House of Kolor Orion Silver / custom flames painted in House of Kolor Candy Apple with air brushed shadows and pinstriped in a light blue / custom pinstriping on hood and tailgate
By: Jay Martinez of Jay's Auto Body, Fowler, California / Kool Hand Luke, Fresno, California (flames and pinstriping) / Richard Manning, Detail Specialist, Bakersfield, California

Interior:
Dash and other interior plastics smoothed and painted to match exterior base color / seats reupholstered in light gray leather and medium gray suede Roadwire covers / flamed leather headliner / door panels covered in leather / Trenz billet steering wheel, rearview mirror, A/C and headlight knobs, heater box cover, gear selector, door sill panels, gauge cluster bezel, air vents, and foot pedals
By: Jay Martinez of Jay's Auto Body (paint) / Classic Auto Trim, Fresno, California (seats) / Big Daddy Upholstery, Fresno, California

Audio/video:
Eclipse AVN5495 navigation DVD head unit with 7-inch monitor / two 4-inch and two 6-1/2-inch MB Quart component speakers / custom A-pillar speaker pods / Precision Power 650 amplifier for speakers / three JL Audio W3 subwoofers in custom enclosure / MTX Audio 81000D amplifier for sub
By: Owner

Club:
Aftermath

Special Thanks:
"My wife and family for all the support, the guys at Jay's Auto Body, Carlos Marron of Choppin' Block, Jeremy Thorton of Bad Habit Customs, Richard Manning at detail specialist Bakersfield, Dennis Patterson, and Danny Cerba"

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