OUTTA TIME

One Guy’s Search for a Quick Fix

Street Trucks - - NEWS - TEXT BY JOHN MATA JR. PHO­TOS BY KEVIN AGUILAR

ONE OF THE TOUGH­EST AS­PECTS OF A BUILD OF ANY MAG­NI­TUDE IS TIME MAN­AGE­MENT. You can plan all you want and stock­pile all of the parts you can get your hands on, but up un­til you ac­tu­ally have the time to ex­e­cute those plans and start in­stalling prod­uct (or can at least pay some­one else to do it), it’s nearly im­pos­si­ble to es­ti­mate just how long a cus­tom pro­ject ve­hi­cle can take un­til it’s fin­ished. Sammy Cantu can at­test to this. He’s taken on a few ex­ten­sive projects through­out the years. Some, like this ’99 Chevy Silverado, have reached fruition, while oth­ers … Let’s just say time just wasn’t on their side.

If you’re a fan of any type of cus­tom­ized truck, then you have to re­spect a guy like Sammy. He has a true pas­sion for these things, and isn’t afraid to take on a chal­lenge no mat­ter how the odds are stacked against him. One of his ear­lier builds, a fully loaded, ’bagged ’92 Sierra, proved to be a good step­ping-stone to more in­volved projects. He fin­ished the build, and he planned to fund his next truck with the money he got from sell­ing it. Sounds like a good plan, right? In the­ory, yes, but Sammy (like a lot of us) gets a lit­tle im­pa­tient and wants to see re­sults as quickly as pos­si­ble. It hasn’t re­ally de­vel­oped into a prob­lem, but things tend to get in­ter­est­ing in Sammy’s world.

“I bought a two-door ’96 Chevy Ta­hoe with the money from my old Sierra,” Sammy tells us. “I dropped it off to get body-dropped, and I added a set of 24-inch In­tro wheels all around to re­ally set it off. It took years just to get that far, and af­ter I was able to get the sus­pen­sion fin­ished up, I started look­ing for a painter who could fin­ish the pro­ject in less than six months. No­body took the job, so I de­cided to sell.”

This kind of turn­around is prob­a­bly more com­mon than some might think in the world of cus­tom ve­hi­cles. Af­ter a few years, in­ter­ests change and the di­rec­tion of a build can take a com­pletely dif­fer­ent path than ini­tially in­tended.

Some­times it’s bet­ter not to force a sit­u­a­tion just be­cause there’s a cer­tain amount of time and/or money tied up in a pro­ject. Mov­ing on can re­sult in suc­cess down the line.

Sammy’s very next pro­ject didn’t work out so great ei­ther, but it did prompt him to take pos­i­tive ac­tion to­wards get­ting what he wanted. “Af­ter I sold the Ta­hoe, I bought a ’72 2WD K5 Blazer. I dropped it off at a body shop and started or­der­ing wheels and parts for it, but as soon as I saw that the shop was work­ing too slowly, I de­cided to start some­thing else that I knew for sure I could fin­ish faster.”

That’s when the ’99 Silverado fea­tured caught his at­ten­tion. “I pur­chased it in Oc­to­ber 2015, and it was com­pletely stock. My goal was to work on it through­out fall and win­ter, and have it ready to de­but at Lone Star Throw­down [LST] in Fe­bru­ary 2016.” That time­line seemed doable, but it did re­quire Sammy to sac­ri­fice a whole lot of his free time to get ev­ery­thing done in such a short time.

“I work out of town, which meant that the only real time I had to work on the truck my­self was dur­ing week­ends and hol­i­days,” Sammy ad­mits. And he wasn’t talk­ing about work­ing through Colum­bus Day or some of the other light­weight ob­served days off ei­ther. He traded in valu­able fam­ily time dur­ing Thanks­giv­ing, Christ­mas and New Year’s Day in or­der to get the truck wrapped up. Luck­ily for Sammy, his wife un­der­stood how im­por­tant his pro­ject was to him. She also must’ve no­ticed how hard he was work­ing. If he was

slack­ing off or out play­ing around, things could’ve got­ten ugly for ol’ Sammy, but he was out in the garage giv­ing his lat­est pro­ject ev­ery­thing he had in or­der to de­liver on his dead­line.

The Silverado has been a dif­fer­ent type of build for Sammy for many rea­sons.

For one, it was geared largely to­ward per­for­mance with re­gard to horse­power gains and the sus­pen­sion sys­tem. Second, the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind the build has a lot to do with how he grew up. “Me and my broth­ers are re­ally close, and my older brother loves drag rac­ing, so I have spent a lot of time around the race track over the years.” That would ex­plain the LS en­gine swap, the healthy group­ing of go-fast ac­ces­sories and killer sus­pen­sion setup de­signed to bet­ter har­ness the in­creased power and torque out­put. “The rear lad­der bar de­sign and QA1 coil-overs, along with the slightly mod­i­fied front drop kit helped get the truck low just like I like them, but also make it han­dle a lot bet­ter.”

Even though Sammy was gun­ning to build a truck ca­pa­ble of hold­ing its own on any au­tocross track, he’s still a Texas boy, af­ter all. That fact is ap­par­ent with his se­lec­tion of 24/26 In­tro bil­let wheels.

“To make enough clear­ance for the front wheels to fit, I had to ex­tend the wiring har­ness and move the fuse box and com­puter from in­side the en­gine bay to in­side the cab.” The rear 26x10s have that huge Texas trade­mark re­verse lip that looks so good tucked un­der­neath a truck bed. This pickup fea­tures sim­i­lar de­sign cues from some of Sammy’s past projects, but it takes them fur­ther to bet­ter re­flect the per­for­mance ve­hi­cles he grew up ad­mir­ing.

In just a few months, Sammy com­pleted the truck he set his short-term sights on build­ing. In­stead of wait­ing around for lag­ging auto shops to get things done, he did a quick in­ven­tory of the close friends, fam­ily and tal­ented in­di­vid­u­als around him and man­aged to get the right team on­board to help him meet his goal of rolling into LST with a truck he was proud to have at the show. Although Sammy hasn’t up­dated us on the sta­tus of any other projects that may be in progress, we’re sure we haven’t seen the last of him.

RIGHT. HINTS OF RED SHINE THROUGH THE CUS­TOM AIR­BRUSHED GRAPH­ICS AND WHEEL DETAILS TO ADD JUST ENOUGH FLASH TO GET THE POINT ACROSS WITH­OUT STEP­PING OVER THE LINE.

ABOVE. FOR BE­ING A STAN­DARD CAB, THIS SILVERADO HAS A LOT OF GREAT STUFF PACKED INTO ITS CON­FINED IN­TE­RIOR SPACE. THE REAR WALL SHOW­CASES A WELLORCHESTRATED SOUND ARSE­NAL THAT DE­LIV­ERS FULL-BOD­IED LAY­ERS OF AU­DIO.

JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER SPOT ON THIS TRUCK, THE BED IS COOL AND CLEAN AS CAN BE.

THIS SILVERADO’S EN­GINE BAY IS CLEAN WITH ITS COLOR- MATCHED FEN­DERS AND SHROUD PIECES. THE LS EN­GINE DOESN’T HURT EI­THER.

THE PAIR­ING OF THE HD BUMPER AND GRILLE LOOKS RIGHT AT HOME ON THIS SLEEK AND ELE­GANT 1500.

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