December 21st, 2009

An Incredible Truck for an Incredible Guy


Robert Valencia
2000 Chevrolet Silverado
Las Vegas, NV

I have been waiting a long time for this, to write a feature on Robert Valencia’s 2000 Chevrolet Silverado. The truck itself is a work of art, second to none. But the guy who owns the truck is even more special to me, and all of the members of Negative Camber from around the globe. That’s because there isn’t a single member of the club, or any truck enthusiast for that matter, who has been to Las Vegas and hasn’t felt the warm embrace of his family’s hospitality. His restaurant, La Mexicana, has become like a shrine dedicated to all of his friends from the truck and lowrider communities, with photos and memorabilia adorning the walls. A truck enthusiast could get lost in his restaurant for hours just looking at all of the photos, and then there is the food, don’t get me started on the food! It is the best Mexican food I have ever had the pleasure of eating way too much of, and I have a feeling I am not the only one who has left there so full that I thought I was going to explode.

Somehow Robert finds time between being a dedicated husband to his wife, Jolynne, and a caring father to his two daughters, Devin and Monique, to build custom cars and trucks. He actually has been involved in one type of custom automotive scene or another for as long as he can remember, so rolling the streets of Vegas in a custom car or truck is almost second nature to Valencia. Maybe that’s why it seems to come so effortlessly for Robert, because it is almost second nature.

Robert actually started this project with a finished truck that had been featured in a couple of magazines and looked really good sitting right out in front of his restaurant every day. Whenever he could manage to get a couple of days away to go to a show, he always came back with an award, and he was mentally recharged to serve his customers with the great attitude for which he is known. But after a couple of years of rolling around with the same paint job and interior, he started to get bored.

First the old paint job had to be stripped off, which was no small feat by any stretch of the imagination. That task was handled by Eric Naranjo, who stripped the entire truck down to bare metal before he busted out the filler, primer and sanding block to make the exterior of the truck perfectly straight again. When the truck was ready it was taken over to Roman’s Exotic Customs where Roman Gomez sprayed the Corvette Yellow base and topped it with tribal flames. Then John was called in to do all of the airbrush work before Roman came back in to spray the clearcoat over the entire truck. Wes from Cade Customs built a custom battery box for the Optima red top in the bed, and that was painted to match the rest of the truck as well.

The interior was the next thing on the truck slated for change. The first order of business was to turn Ghetto Bob from Homeless Entertainment loose to upgrade the audio system. Ghetto Bob installed a new Alpine head unit in the dash, built custom speaker pods in the door panels for the Rockford Fosgate component sets, constructed a speaker box/amp rack behind the seat for the Rockford Fosgate 10-inch woofers and the pair of Rockford Fosgate amplifiers. The freshly painted truck was then delivered to Luxury Upholstery to have the combination of Tan Mercedes Leather and yellow Mexican blanket stretched over all of the interior panels. It sounds like a strange combination, but it looks really good in the cab of Robert’s truck.

The air ride suspension, 3-link rear suspension and custom, stock floor body drop chassis that were all constructed by Ron at N’sane Motorsports was still in perfect shape, so Robert decided to just swap out the wheels. He stepped up to a set of 22-inch DUB Big Homie wheels wrapped in 265/35/22 Pirelli Scorpion tires. The wheel and tire combination work perfectly with the truck’s ultra-low stance.

The freshly redone truck was parked out front of La Mexicana on Decatur Street as soon as it was finished again, and the truck was given big thumbs up by all of the regulars that come into the restaurant. Robert would like to thank his family, Eric Naranjo, Miguel Zapien, Jeremy Hagen, Paul Barns, Ron Anderson, Charlie Kuong, Zack Luke, Jesse Forester, Keith Perla, John Deel, Roman Gomez, Ghetto Bob, and Wes Cade for all of their help and support getting this version of the truck on the road.

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