Stacy Lee is the kind of guy that like's tackling a build himself. Sure, he relies on his friends for help, but for the most part he's spinnin' wrenches and doin' the dirty work on his projects. An automotive enthusiast since he was old enough to legally lay tracks across Tennessee, Stacy only recently got back into the game after a 10-year hiatus spent getting his business off the ground. His sign shop doubles as the fab shop for his projects as well as those of friends and family. Whatever can't be accomplished within the confines of his spot is farmed out to locals that take as much pride in their work as Stacy does.
The paintjob on his '88 C1500 Work Truck is one example of achievable results that spring from the unique marriage between a professional bodyshop and Stacy's hobbyshop. He saved more than a few bucks by starting out with the longbed, stripper-model WT truck, instead of a showroom-fresh rig. He saved even more dough by tackling the bodywork on his own before sending his ride to East Tennessee Collision. The duo of Jim Caswell and Troy Kiser put the shine on Stacy's handiwork, which included a Cadillac Escalade front-end conversion, a full shavejob, and LED taillights. When all was said and done, the arrow-straight body lit up the spray booth with Honda's Super Sonic Blue Pearl and custom green hues.
The vinyl-adorned and bare-floor cab received even better treatment from Lee. First, he ripped out the factory dashboard-you know, the one with the radio in one spot and the tape deck awkwardly placed out of arm's reach in the center of the dashboard. He replaced those waste of plastic pieces with the much cooler '95-and-up model dashboard, a conversion which is not easy, even if you have the wire harness from the donor truck. Door panels from a '98 Silverado soon followed, and then Stacy crafted a smooth center console, which splits a pair of two-toned leather-wrapped factory bucket seats. More interior tricks are found upstairs, where three dimensional flames in the headliner threaten to singe the hair gel right off passenger's heads.
Stacy got busy under his Chevy as well. He rounded up parts from Ekstensive Metalworks, Viair, Belltech and Slam Specialties to give his ride a better stance. The front of the truck scored 2-inch drop spindles and RE-6 airbags. The rearend lost its leaf springs and gained a two-link and Panhard bar suspension, complete with another pair of 'bags mounted midway up the bars, giving the rear suspension a mechanical advantage that yields a smooth ride. The framerails were notched for axle clearance, crossmembers were replaced to ensure the 'rails were the lowest part of the truck, and then Stacy plumbed the air system with hydraulic hose and crimped fittings for reliability under extreme operating conditions.
The finishing touch on this boulevard bruiser is a lumpy idle and a throaty exhaust note courtesy of Flowmaster and a tuned port-injected small-block Chevy. The 355ci V-8 block was machined by Performance Machine, and then the shop balanced the rotating assembly. Stacy tackled the job of re-assembling the beast with an RV camshaft and a 3-inch exhaust system. He also went the extra mile to ceramic-coat all of the visible metalwork and then went even further by polishing the heat-resistant coating. The shine reflects the paint gleaming off the custom inner fenderwells and detailed chassis.
Stacy waited over a decade to start a new project. He took less than three years to finish it. He's driven it just three times in the last two years. Has he thought about selling it rather than letting it collect dust? Probably, but he says he still digs blowing out the cobwebs when time permits and then stashing this righteous ride away until the mood strikes him to lay some rubber around town. If that's not a test of patience, we don't know what is.