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.

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

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.

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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