You've probably had some serious thrash sessions over the years to get a truck ready for a show, a race, or a long trip. Pulling all-nighters are not that big of a deal, right? They are a rite of passage that any serious truck owner must endure on the way to custom greatness. We thought we'd pulled off some incredible feats of custom before, that is until we met Tahua Pena and found out that he took a bone-stock '07 Chevy Silverado and completely transformed it in just five nights.
The truck you are looking at literally went from stock to full-blown custom in less than five days. Tahua and a crew of five guys that work at his body shop, Dinuba Collision, shut the doors at the end of each work day and then went ballistic on his Chevy just so they could debut it at our Havoc show in Fresno with one of the first '08 Caddy clip conversions. It's an improbable amount of work to get done in five days, let alone just five nights. Although the drivetrain and audio systems are stock, the miraculous story behind a truck he calls Pancho Tequilas was enough for us to put it onto the cover.
The madness got started on Monday, the same week we were invading Fresno, California, for another installment of Havoc. While we were at home watching Family Guy on the boob tube, Tahua, Raul Pena, Noah Rios, and Speedy were hard at work in the shop. By Tuesday morning, the framerails of Tahua's Chevy were planted on the floor of the spray booth thanks to a complete airbag suspension. The factory springs were gone and the truck tucked tire over a set of 22s and the guys switched gears, ignoring the 'bagged fullsize so that they could concentrate on fixing customer vehicles.
Tuesday night rolled around, and once again the guys turned their attention to the Chevy, this time cutting up the body with the help of employees Israel and Tony. The taillights were shaved and replaced with Hi Tech LED Products 16-inch-long LED lights. The door handle holes were filled and contoured to fit '07 Pontiac Grand Prix units. The rain gutters and third brake light were also filled in. Given that the show was just three days away, you might think that the guys might stop here and just get to sprayin' the new paint. Tahua wasn't ready to quit though. He picked up a complete OEM '08 Cadillac Escalade front clip and sliced, diced, and tweaked it until it looked like it belonged on the truck. The guys also covered the holes left in the bed from the step notch and massive wheels with fresh sheetmetal.
By Wednesday the all-night party started to take its toll on the crew, but they pushed through the daily grind of ordinary collision repair that the shop specializes in. Nightfall came and the interior revamp was tackled next. The stock headliner was covered in fiberglass, sanded smooth, and painted to match the dash and factory door panels. The seats were reupholstered in suede by another local friend, Mr. Gary of Ace Upholstery.
Thursday night was do-or-die time. If the truck was going to make it to the show in time to take its place on the showfield, it would have to be disassembled, painted, reassembled and polished in less than 24 hours. The factory paint was scuffed in preparation for sealer. If you look closely at the photos you'll notice that the guys didn't cut corners on the paintjob. There isn't a trace of factory paint in the door jambs of this truck. The areas that had been bodyworked were sanded smooth.
At 3:30 a.m. on Friday morning, Tahua laid down the first coat of House of Kolor Sunset Orange Pearl with his spray gun. At 2:30 p.m. that same day, the guys began reassembling the truck so that it could be wet-sanded and polished. Customer-owned vehicles were put on the backburner finally so that the gang could focus on the task at hand. They had a higher purpose and it was getting Pancho Tequilas ready to drop jaws in less than 14 hours. They had a date with destiny and it was rollin' into the Fresno Fairgrounds to show the locals what five talented guys and a ton of motivation could accomplish.
When the brilliant orange Chevy rolled in the gates of the show, we noticed that it was freshly finished. The guys looked weary and were still wiping polishing compound out of all the crevices. We thought they had simply sprayed a new paintjob on the truck at the last minute. Imagine our surprise when Tahua's brother Martin explained the events of the past four days to us. Since the shoot, the wheels have changed and Tahua has put the finishing touches on the truck. Still, in its current form this is a clean ride that came from nothing in a very short amount of time. Television hook-up shows have nothing on these guys.
Stock 4.8L LS1 V-8 / 4L65-E electronic overdrive tranny
By: General Motors
Front & Rear: 22x9 U2 65B with 13mm offset
Front & Rear: 265/35R22 Pirelli Pzero
Front: McGaughey's 2-inch drop spindles / Monroe shocks / Slam Specialties RE-7 airbags
Rear: Custom triangulated four-link with adjustable bushing ends / Slam Specialties RE-7 airbags / Monroe shocks
Accessories: Two Viair 380C compressors / five-gallon reserve air tank / 3/8-inch AVS valves / 3/8-inch air lines
Chassis: Step-notched framerails
By: Dinuba Collision in Dinuba, California
'08 Cadillac Escalade front clip swap / Pontiac Grand Prix door handles / shaved third brake light, taillights, tailgate, fuel filler door, bed rails, and drip rails / LED taillights
By: Dinuba Collision
House of Kolor Sunset Orange Pearl
By: Dinuba Collision / Skip (pinstriping)
Custom-painted interior panels / seats reupholstered in suede and vinyl
By: Mr. Gary of Ace Upholstery, Dinuba, California / Dinuba Collision
"Thanks to all my soldiers, Tony Covarrubias, 'Speedy' Noah Rios, Israel Moreno, Raul Pena, The Choppin' Block, and the families of the crew. I especially want to thank my wife Maricela for puttin' up with me."