In­sti­ga­tor - Jan­uary 2006

❚❚Gets Down and Dirty TEXT BY JEREMY COOK PHOTOS BY BRIAN MCCORMICK AND JEREMY COOK

Street Trucks - - CONTENTS -

Gets Down and Dirty

IN THE WORLD OF STREET TRUCKS, A LOT OF NAMES COME AND GO OVER THE YEARS. New peo­ple are com­ing into our sport every day, work­ing hard to build their first show qual­ity ride and make a name for them­selves. Mean­while, veter­ans of our sport of­ten fade into the sun­set due to jobs or fam­i­lies or chang­ing in­ter­ests, leav­ing that “al­most fa­mous” ride moth­balled in the garage as a stor­age de­vice. Then there are the con­stants, the ones whose name you see over and over, each truck im­prov­ing upon the last. And just when they get close to fad­ing from mem­ory they reap­pear with some amaz­ing new ride that tells you ex­actly what they’ve been up to lately.

Craig El­der is a con­stant. If you rec­og­nize the name, it’s be­cause he has more ve­hi­cles on “Street Trucks’” cov­ers than prob­a­bly any other sin­gle shop or per­son. The thing is, Craig is known for build­ing some of the most in­sane lifted trucks in ex­is­tence, as op­posed to bagged or body-dropped rides. Not that he hasn’t built laid out trucks be­fore, but the show-win­ning mon­ster trucks have def­i­nitely be­come his forté in the last few years.

That’s why we were more than stoked to hear about Craig’s lat­est cre­ation. Seems he felt the need to be a lit­tle closer to the ground for a change and em­barked on a new project. He found a Sil­ver­ado that had al­ready been started by the for­mer owner, and then he took over, bring­ing it from con­cept to com­ple­tion (and cover) in record time. Craig has mas­tered the art of find­ing the right part for the ve­hi­cle and the right man for the job, and this time around was no ex­cep­tion. There was ob­vi­ously a lot of leg­work in­volved, but we think it was worth it.

The very first stop was STD Cus­toms in San Mar­cos, Cal­i­for­nia, for alti­tude ad­just­ment. A 3-inch body drop was per­formed, along with a stan­dard 4-link airbag sus­pen­sion us­ing Master Im­age Cus­toms half-inch man­ual air

valves and three Fire­stone com­pres­sors. Te­mec­ula Rods & Cus­toms then in­stalled chrome-moly tub­ing un­der the pinch mold­ings, bumper and roll pan, which hangs down quar­ter-inch be­low the body to pre­vent it from drag­ging the ground, no mat­ter how low the truck is driven. Now there is no need to slow down when en­ter­ing drive­ways or go­ing over speed bumps, and the truck is reg­u­larly driven about 2 inches off the ground—feats we wit­nessed first-hand on the way to the photo shoot!

Not sat­is­fied with the orig­i­nal tire and wheel combo, Craig headed over to Bio Kus­tomz in Hemet to see

Mr. Max Fish, who welded up a mon­ster max notch to clear a 24-inch wheel and tire combo and in­stalled a To­tal Cost In­volved par­al­lel 4-link. Oa­sis Wheels in Ana­heim built a set of 22-inch front and 24-inch rear wheels that were cus­tom-ma­chined to tuck deep into the wells and still turn up front and fit un­der the rear with­out nar­row­ing the rear axle. Nitto 255/30/22 tires were fit to the front, while the fat­ter 295/35/24s bring up the rear. In search of an ex­haust sys­tem that would add power as well as clear­ance, Ron Gib­son of Gib­son Per­for­mance hand-built a stain­less ex­haust sys­tem for body-dropped trucks. Shawn Gib­son TIG welded the head­ers and ex­haust sys­tem, and along with a K&N air in­take, net­ted Craig an ad­di­tional 47-hp!

When it came time for body mods, a few more stops were in or­der. First, a Sir Michael’s roll pan with tail lights and Street Scene cus­tom cowl were picked up. Then it was off to Crazy Cus­toms for the new Cadil­lac Es­calade front clip, shaved gas door, tail lights, door han­dles, third brake light, tail­gate han­dle and roll pan. Our own Mr. Mccormick came across the Sky Blue Pearl paint from PPG, and no sooner was he show­ing it to Craig than Te­mec­ula Val­ley Paint was mix­ing it and New Im­age Auto Body & Paint was spray­ing it. A Cal­i­for­nia Cus­tom ton­neau was sprayed to match on top, and sprayed with Rhino Lin­ing un­der­neath to match the cus­tom-coated bed floor.

An­other batch of con­trib­u­tors added their tal­ents to cre­ate the in­sane in­te­rior of the Sil­ver­ado. New Im­age painted the dash to match the ex­te­rior of the ve­hi­cle, and soon after Craig opted to take his uphol­stery to the next level, so Gon­zalo’s Auto Body & Paint in Mur­ri­eta smoothed and painted all the in­te­rior pan­els in­clud­ing the door pan­els, over­head con­sole and switch cov­ers. Frank’s Hot Rod Uphol­stery then in­stalled the black suede head­liner and match­ing car­pet as well as the Katzkin black and sil­ver leather seats. Foss Plat­ing chromed the speaker grilles (and a bunch of mis­cel­la­neous un­der­car­riage and mo­tor com­part­ment pieces), then Em­pire Mo­tor­sports came through with a plethora of ac­ces­sories, which you might re­mem­ber be­ing in­stalled in our Novem­ber ’05 is­sue.

NOW THERE IS NO NEED TO SLOW DOWN WHEN EN­TER­ING DRIVE­WAYS OR GO­ING OVER SPEED BUMPS, AND THE TRUCK IS REG­U­LARLY DRIVEN ABOUT 2 INCHES OFF THE GROUND...”

SIR MICHAEL’S ROLL PAN WITH IN­TE­GRATED TAIL­LIGHTS WAS WELDED IN TO AC­COM­PANY THE SHAVED TAIL­GATE AND BEDSIDES.

BLACK KATZKIN LEATHER WITH SIL­VER CAR­BON FIBER INSERTS RE­PLACED THE STOCK CLOTH. ABOVE IS BLACK SUEDE, BE­LOW IS NEW CAR­PET TO AC­COM­MO­DATE THE BODY DROP.CRAIG’S DASH WAS TREATED TO ALL THE SMOOTH­ING AND PAINT­ING A DASH CAN HAN­DLE, AND THEN TOPPED WITH THE WORKS FROM EM­PIRE MO­TOR­SPORTS.

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