November 17th, 2009

A Flamed and ‘Bagged Bow Tie Fueled by Pure Passion and Retro Influences


Jason Mulligan
1997 Chevy Silverado 1500
Anaheim Hills, CA
Relaxed Atmosphere

Photos by Jason Mulligan

There are a lot of things that influence the way we build our custom trucks. For many of us it was a neighborhood kid or relative who cut one up when we were young. While we were spending our afternoons attempting to clear trashcans on our BMX bikes, they were busy building the ultimate dream pickup. Street Trucks Feature Editor Jason Mulligan began mentally building the bright red and flame-licked Silverado splashed across this month’s cover long before he could drag the frame rails unsupervised. Mulligan’s truck addiction began the moment he laid eyes on his cousin Chris Malek’s 1996 body-dropped Chevy extended cab, rolling on 17s, back in 1997. He vowed that one day, “I will own a truck that cool.” After staring at his cousin’s creation in amazement, the then 14-year-old Mulligan went back to popping pimples and trolling the local malls for female companionship. Fast forward 12 years and the bond between man and metal is still strong, as Mulligan rolls his bright red, flame-bedecked Bow Tie with pride to every show.

Like many young enthusiasts, Jason’s custom road was paved with directions from dear old dad. Mr. Mulligan planted the seed with model cars and model hopper lowriders, with full-scale influences stemming from classic luxury cars and hot rods.

Mulligan’s “red truck” (as he refers to his Silverado) was purchased in 2003 off a small dealership lot with just over 100,000 miles on the clock and some pretty funky chrome rocker moldings adorning the side. Before the small-block even had a chance to cool down from the drive home Mulligan was already turning wrenches to make the truck his. Like many long-term truck projects, this Chevy went through all of the build stages from being dropped on 17s to be being ‘bagged on 18s and 20s, until finally it was shaved, flamed and ‘bagged on 20s and 22s. It was driven daily through it all; it didn’t become a cover truck overnight. Mulligan worked hard to earn extra cash to throw at it, and he used his experience as a graphic designer and his thumbs up approval of hot rod and retro styling to craft the beauty seen here. For his first custom vehicle, Mulligan did a pretty bang-up job.

After rolling static dropped for a few years, Mulligan got the urge for air and dropped the truck off at GO EZ Customs in Anaheim, California, to get it laying rail. Art and the crew from GO EZ installed a KP Components 6-link out back with Firestone 2600 airbags doing the heavy lifting and an 8-inch bridge notch allowing the rear axle room to roam. Hammering the front end firmly to the tarmac is a pair of DJM 2-inch dropped spindles and Firestone 2600s to accept Mulligan’s switch commands. Two 5-gallon air tanks, an Air Lift Air Commander engine-driven compressor, 1/2-inch SMC valves with dump mufflers, and a 185-PSI pressure switch handle air management. Dakota Digital gauges and switches mounted in the dash control suspension motion. Baer DecelaRotors with brushed aluminum powder coated caliper covers stuffed with ceramic brake pads slow the 20 x 8.5-inch front and 22 x 10-inch rear Intro Magnum XLR wheels mounted on Toyo pavement punishers. The wheels were staggered for retro appearances and resemble spindle-mount Gasser wheels from the ‘60s, borrowing a bit of vintage drag style for this modern pavement crusher. A pair of Toyo Proxes 4 P255/35ZR20 front and P285/30ZR22 rear shoes handle the road battles. After the stance was nailed, Mulligan injected the factory 5.7-liter with a bit more power and style.

A K&N FIPKII air intake kit, MSD ignition wires, Doug Thorley headers, and a custom-built Flowmaster 3-inch exhaust system pull a bit more power out of the smoothly running small-block. For show style, PML retro style valve covers, Spectre hose sleeves and clamps, and a billet overflow tank dress the engine bay with flash and glare. A Kinetik 1800HC Powercell battery keeps the mill cranking and the energy flowing to the hard-rocking audio jams.

Once Mulligan was rolling low enough to trap golf balls under his control arms, and the truck had the rumble of a modern hot rod, it was time for the body and paint to flex some custom muscle. The bodywork was tackled using the combined talents of Deranged Rides, South County Auto Body and Bach Werks, with Mulligan working with his dad to weld a few things up and sand a few things smooth. To achieve the smooth theme, the door handles, gas door, antenna, rain gutters, third brake light, taillights, tailgate handle, and stake pockets were all shaved clean. A steel Sir Michael’s roll pan was molded seamlessly into the truck’s backside, while a CanDo Specialties 59-inch LED light bar mounted between the tailgate and the roll pan glows like mad when Mulligan jumps on the brakes. Fortunately it’s bright enough that even bus drivers go blind when the Intros stop spinning. Up front, the look is topped with a Street Scene Equipment smooth grille shell sans Bow Tie emblem, a Street Scene smooth wiper cowl and custom fiberglassed one-piece Cal-Vu mirrors. A GM steel smoothie front bumper provides mandatory street truck attitude, while Carriage Works billet grille inserts stuff the nose with hot rod style.  With the truck chiseled into the ride Mulligan had dreamed of since he closed his lids and drooled on his desk in junior high, it was time for the body alterations to be trapped under coat upon coat of House of Kolor Blue Blood Red.

For the paint and graphics, a bright red basecoat topped with a combination of loud and aggressive hot licks was accomplished by the team effort of Tom McWeeney of Kustoms Inc., Marcel Venable of Venable Koncepts and Blake Weaver of Future Tattoo/Paint by Blake.  McWeeney and Venable got down with masking and prepping the surface, and Tom mixed and sprayed the HoK hue down on the wrinkle-free metal. Blake Weaver shifted the look into high gear by laying down a bright and aggressive combination of 3D flames. The wildfire spreads in HoK Orion Silver and is accented with custom hot rod style pinstriping by Tom McWeeney, shaded in House of Kolor Process Blue and Violet for bold contrast. The retina-burning package was color sanded and rubbed to a brilliant shine, and Mulligan’s Bow Tie gem was successfully fit for boulevard cruising or all out jaw-dropping show duty.

Before Mulligan could roll his flamed and frame-dragging pride and joy out of the garage and onto the scene, the interior had to pack a punch as hard as the exterior. Precision Sound was tapped for the audio updates and enclosure fabrication, which features a host of Swiss Audio products mounted in a custom enclosure behind the seat in the extra cab region. These thumping beats allow Mulligan to crank his Jamaican Jams with authority. The interior features a blend of retro style touches joined to create a one-of-a-kind look. The style blends ‘50s hot rod and ‘60s Kustom influences for a feel that takes Mulligan instantly to Bellflower Boulevard every time he climbs behind the Colorado Custom Classic steering wheel and sinks into the reworked Corvair buckets. The Corvair buckets really launched the retro interior treatment as Mulligan searched high and low for a classically inspired seat and finally found the pair at a local Pick-Your-Part for a cool $75.  He was even getting offers from other Pick-Your-Part shoppers as he carried them out to the bed of the CK. To continue the smooth street rod theme between the doors, Mulligan had the armrests, seatbelt holders, inside door handles, coat hangers, and door panel pockets shaved. The door panels were modified with molded speaker pods and the panels and subwoofer box and amp enclosure were molded to fit and covered in Enduratex Cherry Red and Ebony Black vinyl. The silver Swiss amps round out the black, red and brushed aluminum theme while Big Al’s brushed billet armrest/grab handles give the illusion that you are riding in a high-tech deuce coupe.

Moving forward in the cab, the dash was smoothed and painted red by Extreme Audio and stylized further with Mazda Miata stainless steel A/C vent rings, which were the team effort of Extreme Audio, Kustoms Inc. and Mulligan. A 1965 Impala SS console was mounted between the seats by Extreme Audio to keep the retro theme flowing, while the seats and headliner were upholstered by Stitchcraft in a combination of Cherry Red, Ebony Black and brushed aluminum Enduratex vinyl. The bold mix of color teams together to create a resemblance to interior styling from the ‘50s, while the tuck ‘n’ roll pattern on the seats, door panels and headliner give the threads a period-perfect vintage hot rod feel. The Chevy V emblem found its way throughout the interior as one more piece of vintage Bow Tie branding contributing to the overall throwback look.

Mulligan, with the help of some talented builders and professionals in the industry, as well as the guidance from his gearhead father, Brian Mulligan, has crafted a truly striking custom truck that features a timeless build style that will keep it looking great for years to come. Its versatile hot rod look makes it a shoe-in for thumbs up approval from automotive youngsters and seniors alike. As a graphic designer and photographer by trade, Mulligan has transformed his passion for design and photography into not only a promising magazine career, but this wicked flame-licked Bow Tie chariot, too. This build was a perfect exercise in patience and developing the commitment to achieve the perfect hot rod look. Mulligan refused to settle and built a truck over and above what he always dreamed of. We hope some neighborhood kid catches him detailing or wrenching one of these days and starts taking notes.

Special Thanks
Mom and Dad Mulligan
Chris Malek
Art Gomez and Crew at GO EZ Customs
Rene and Crew at Precision Sound
Sergio at Deranged Rides
Stitchcraft Interiors
Bryan Stearn from Intro Wheels
Street Trucks Magazine
Travis Noack from Street Trucks Magazine
Erik Harbour from Kinetik
Ruben Arteaga
Adam’s Polishes
Gil Luna Jr.
Street Scene Equipment
Colorado Custom
Coast Airbrush
Tom McWeeney at Kustoms Inc.
Blake Weaver
Marcel Venable of Venable Koncepts
Spectre Performance
Rick and Crew from Swiss Audio
Extreme Audio
Doug Thorley Headers
No Limit Engineering
C/K Resto
Superior Mats
PML Covers
Steve at Cando Specialties

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The dash features extensive smoothing and HoK Blue Blood Red with Mazda Miata vents and a Colorado Custom steering wheel upholstered in a black and red.
Old-school-style door panels wear Ebony black Enduratex vinyl, billet armrests and silver tuck ‘n’ roll for a look that blends street rod and Kustom styling.
The original seats were pitched in favor of these ’65 Corvair buckets upholstered in Ebony Black, Cherry Red and Vintage Gray suede by Stitchcraft. The old school tuck ‘n’ roll is just one more notch in the retro build belt.
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Mulligan likes bass and depends on a host of Swiss Audio products expertly installed by Precision Sound for his fix. Four 12-inch Swiss Audio woofers, two SMX 1000 Mono amplifiers, one SMX4400 four-channel amplifier, a SEQ 16-band equalizer, and a 52-Farad capacitor send Jamaican thumps through the cab. An Alpine 9831 MP3/CD head unit feeds the powerhouse of sound, while Swiss SAK650 and 525 6.5-inch and 5.25-inch three-way components belt out the high notes. Protecting all of this automotive art is a Viper 891 two-way alarm with DEI power module, while all of the electrical demands are supported with a Kinetik 1800 HC battery.
The hood is one of the most artistic parts of the truck, featuring the handy flame work of Blake Weaver and pinstriping style of Tom McWeeney slamming eye balls wide open.
The custom bed tubs and notch cover by GO EZ Customs are covered in color-matched red Line-X.
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Even the bottom of the smoothed Gaylord bed cover is laden with retro sculpted flames.
The factory 5.7-liter is detailed with a host of polished billet covers from Empire Motorsports as well as finned valve covers from PML. A K&N air intake does the heavy breathing, while a Kinetik battery brings the Doug Thorley pipes and Flowmaster exhaust to a low rumble.
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