Who needs legroom when you are rollin' down the boulevard so low to the ground that you actually look up at the chick walking next to the street? Legroom is overrated anyway, right? Ross Stoqsdill must certainly think so. Hell, he body-dropped his Chevy Tahoe 6-1/2 inches the old-school way, raising the floorboards up so high in the interior that his head is in danger of smacking the roof when he's behind the wheel. Talk about cutting the legs right out from underneath yourself. It sure sounds nutty, but damn this SUV does look cool lying flat as a board on the asphalt, thanks to the monster body drop. While there are certainly more modern methods to enable a Tahoe to lay on the ground, such as constructing a new chassis, we give credit to Ross because he did it himself, when those around him told him it was impossible. When Ross' friend Donny said no way could he 'bag his Tahoe, Ross took a good look at it, rolled it into his garage, and the next time the Tahoe re-emerged from behind the door, it sat flat on a set of dubs. It's that same kind of work ethic and mindset that pushed Ross to go big with the rest of his ride, as well.
Ross grew up with a father who is heavy into the street rod scene and in Ross' own words, "I sort of fell into this wonderful world of custom rides." Taking inspiration from those who questioned his abilities led to the buildup of his ride happening mostly at home and in the garage. "All of the work, except for the paint, was done in my garage and it not only lays rocker, but we cut the back off the rockers so it would go even lower." To ready the suspension for the kind of action that would allow the Tahoe to be slammed at will onto terra firma, Ross had to narrow the front control arms by 1-inch and shorten the rear axles by 2-1/2 inches. The addition of Firestone airbags and a healthy step notch in the framerails allow the chrome bumper to nearly touch the tarmac when all the air is released from the system. Going this low obviously required dedication and complete disregard for the word crazy.
Big ol' traditional body drops always mean big-time interior modifications to make a truck comfortable and driveable afterwards. The Tahoe's interior required quite a bit of modification, since the floor was now many inches higher than stock. Luckily, the floor was modified well inside of the doorsill plates, so at least those went back in with no problem, but the kick panels were another story. Ross turned those lemons into lemonade, though, by cutting up the stock kick panels and reshaping them to hold a pair of JL Audio coaxial speakers. The kick panels not only went back into the stock locations but also provided a prime location for direct sound aimed at himself and a passenger. Ross also maximized what was left of the space in the cargo area by constructing a custom enclosure to house four 12-inch JL subwoofers. The rest of the interior mods were handled by Gary Barth, who covered Ross' custom center console, door panels, and seats in a suppled mix of tan vinyl and suede material. Ross also installed a massive 40x80-inch Street Beat sliding ragtop to make sure that magazine guys would have no problem taking a good photo of the custom interior.
One of the few aspects of the Tahoe that Ross didn't tackle at home was the body and paintwork. That was probably a good thing, since we can't think of too many guys who can do it all and do it well. Ross and his friend Craig Christian did suicide the rear door, before the body received several other custom touches like a molded-in Sir Michaels roll pan, Caddy taillights, and a chrome front end with billet inserts. J.R. Rymand relieved the body of any useless items, such as the door handles, rear step bumper, and even the factory roof rack. Ryan also laid down the PPG white basecoat before Dustin Haven came through and sprayed the graphics package and Nick Cherrone cleared the whole thing.
During the photo shoot, Ross admitted to nearly purchasing a Mustang before his buddy Donny called and told him about this Tahoe being for sale. Thank God for good friends like that, because we nearly lost a damn good sport truck builder. Ross would like to thank all his friends and his club, Costly Obsessions.
Owner/hometown: Ross Stoqsdill / South Bend, Indiana
Year/make/model: '96 Chevy Tahoe 4x4
Engine/drivetrain: Vortec 350 V-8 / Turbo 350 / custom driveline / removed 4WD transfer case / rearend narrowed 2-1/2 inches
Installers: Action Machine of South Bend, Indiana
Wheels/tires: 20x9-inch Niche Brittain / 245/35ZR20 Nitto NT-555
Suspension: (Front) control arms narrowed 1 inch / Firestone 2,600-pound airbags / Red Ryder shocks taken from '86 Chevy 4WD pickup / '78 Chrysler engine-driven air compressor mounted on custom brackets / 5-gallon reserve tank / 3/8-inch SMC solenoid valves / 3/8-inch air line / (Rear) custom four-link / custom C-notch / Firestone 2,800-pound 'bags / 6-1/2-inch body drop that puts the rockers flat on the ground
Fabricator: Ross and his dad
Body Mods: Phantom billet grille / Sir Michaels molded roll pan / shaved door handles, roof rack, and taillights / suicide rear door with handmade hinges
Bodywork: J.R. Rymand, Craig Christian, and Ross tag-teamed the mods
Custom Paint: Dustin Haven performed the airbrush work, and Nich Cherrone took the paintwork into the doorjambs and beyond using PPG colors
Interior: Custom-painted dashboard / Street Beat sliding ragtop / Auto Meter gauges / Honda Civic and Chevy Blazer bucket seats upholstered in tan vinyl and suede materials / flamed billet steering wheel
Upholsterer: Gary Barth of South Bend, Indiana
Audio/video: Pioneer AVX-P7000CD head unit / Savv 7-inch monitors in visors / JL Audio 5.25-inch component speakers in the doors / JL Audio 12W3 subwoofers in a custom enclosure / Crossfire VR404 400-watt amplifier / Zapco AG1000 1,000-watt amp / system wired with Monster Cable products
Club: Costly Obsessions