John Mata Jr. February 10, 2023 OBS Builders Guide
While the popularity of OBS pickups continues to spike these days, some builders out there are looking to switch things up a bit by creating something a little different than the norm. Mike Batty of Vero Beach, Florida, is a big fan of ’88-’98 Chevy pickups, but he didn’t want to add yet another truck to the show fields in his region. Instead, he selected another Chevy alternative of the same vintage—a ’95 four-door Tahoe that he was eager to smooth out and slam to the ground.
It really is difficult to not be a big fan of the OBS-era GM SUV models, especially when they’re laid out on a nice set of wheels. The Suburban of this same period would also be a great choice to build instead of the Chevy pickup, but there is just something about the more compact and boxy Tahoe that makes it an ideal candidate for a full rebuild—no matter if it’s equipped with two or four doors. Mike subscribed to this exact same sentiment as he began tearing into his ’95 about four years ago.
The first order of business was to address the Tahoe’s altitude, so Mike reached out to Kevin Dixon of Home Brewed Customs in Mooresville, North Carolina, to work his magic on the factory frame. Air Lift Dominator D2600 ’bags and KYB shocks were utilized on each corner, as was an Accuair VU4 4-corner manifold and SwitchSpeed controller to assist in adjusting the Tahoe’s ride height on the fly. To further increase its ride quality, Kevin built a custom back-half frame for the Chevy from the transmission back. Once that was completed, he performed a bodydrop to allow it to sit as low as it does when aired out.
Capitalizing on his Tahoe’s newfound slammed stance, Mike began sifting through multiple wheel options before landing on a set that stopped him dead in his tracks. Raceline’s Explosion 5 forged billet wheels are custom built to fit a truck’s individual specs, and in this case, 22×8.5-inch wheels were an ideal size for the front and wider 22×10-inch units were chosen for the back, which required the rear drive axle to be narrowed 6 inches by Jimmy’s Rod ‘N Customs. Pirelli P Zero Nero ultra high performance tires were used to cover the high-end billets for an equally sporty appearance and all-season drivability.
For the exterior, Mike was looking to stay within the whole “less is more” realm. To help massage the Tahoe’s panels and prep them for paint, Scott Refice of Intense Works tackled the bodywork the Chevy needed as well as adding more custom touches, such as shaving the door handles, roof rack, and fuel door. A specially mixed dark blue paint color was soon applied, but to really bring out the most of the new paintjob, Jason Feltham of Feltham Fabrication concocted a multi-color mini-truck inspired graphic that adorns the center of the hood and onto the dash inside the cab for a slick stroke of individuality. From there, Mike kept the exterior accessories relatively streamlined by only adding RZ custom headlights, LED tails, and a throwback Trenz billet grille.
Moving inside the Tahoe, Robert and Dylan Doerr of Robert Doerr Upholstery added a fresh set of buckets from Snowden Seats. The upholstery options were narrowed down to a tan Rolls Royce leather and suede combo that adds an elevated touch of class to the interior space. The inner quarters really were a joint effort as Scott Refice clocked back in to create a custom center console and door panels for the interior, while Jason Feltham also made a return appearance to fabricate custom rear panels for good measure.
…there is just something about the more compact and boxy Tahoe that is an ideal candidate for a full rebuild…
Mike was able to source and squeeze a 1959 Impala dash into place, which sports the aforementioned paint graphics but has also been stuffed with Dakota Digital RTX gauges and a Raceline Explosion steering wheel. With so much more room to work with inside the Tahoe, a complete JL Audio sound system was wired up—complete with front and rear speakers, an 8W7 subwoofer, and the right amps to feed the suggested juice to them for optimum thumping power.
While the factory 5.7L V-8 is still intact under the hood, it has seen some healthy upgrades in the way of Hooker short tube headers, a 3-inch exhaust system and Flowmaster muffler for better breathing abilities. Mike has hinted that he would be game for an LS swap sometime in the future, so we’ll see if he takes the plunge with that upgrade sooner than later.
Mike is a proud member of the Aftermath truck club, and made sure to stick to their collective “Quality Over Quantity” motto with the build of his Tahoe. The build process spanned a total of four years, and the outcome of this project took every bit of that time because absolutely zero corners were cut. Mike believes in doing things right the first time, even if that means having to practice extreme patience when problems arise.
While nothing comes easy with builds of this nature, Mike saw his Tahoe through and now has a cool 90’s era Chevy to cruise around town in. It has enough retro styling without going overboard to serve as a fantastic example of that old school Y2K style that got a lot of us hooked on the whole custom truck scene to begin with.
1995 Chevy Tahoe
Vero Beach, FL
Engine & Transmission
Chassis & Suspension
Wheels, Tires & Brakes
Body & Paint
Interior & Stereo