It isn’t every day that you’re able to look back and reflect on accomplishing a big milestone in your life.
Building a full custom truck of any type is not cheap—we all know that. The job can be done fast, but that doesn’t say very much about the level of quality workmanship the crew performs. That old adage of good work not being cheap and cheap work not being good is a wise builders’ proverb that should be followed closely, because that sentiment always seems to ring true time and again.
Adam Villa of Chandler, Arizona, can attest to this sentiment. In the past, he has assembled numerous customized, show-worthy pickups, and in that time, he has learned how to navigate through the process much more safely than he did during his very first project.
“It has always been a dream of mine to build cool vehicles since I was little,” Adam says. “I was raised poor, but after seeing all the old school mini-trucks from back in the day, I always had a passion to build my own.”
Once Adam got older and in a better position financially, opportunities starting presenting themselves. He began to purchase trucks he wanted and scout local shops to help him achieve his automotive goals.
“One thing I learned was to find people and businesses that you can fully trust,” he says. “Unfortunately, it’s easy to go wrong when you really don’t know any better. I’ve always tried to double check the work done by shops by looking at their previous builds and hearing what others had to say about them—basically doing my research before committing any of my time and money anywhere.”
Throughout the years, Adam developed a method and a list of trusted sources that he still utilizes to this day. When he picked up his 2014 Chevy Silverado, he already had some ideas—and builders—in mind to customize it to better suit his taste.
To start on the build process, Adam reached out to Lowboys Motorsports in nearby Mesa, Arizona, to drop the truck as low as possible. Of course, ‘bags were the way to go, so the Lowboys crew began the work of modifying the factory frame before a lineup of top shelf air-ride components were installed. The frontend was equipped with custom brackets, and the rear of the chassis was notched and outfitted with an Ekstensive 2-link rear setup. Ridetech HQ Series shocks were then brought in for each corner, and an Accuair eLevel system with ECU upgrade was wired up, as were dual Viair 444C compressors and a FLO aluminum tank to supply the system with an ample amount of air.
To further upgrade the Silverado’s much lower chassis, the factory brake system was treated to fresh R1 Concepts cross-drilled rotors that were then neatly framed behind the spokes of a fresh set of wheels. Adam was looking forward to maximizing the size of wheel that could be tucked underneath his truck, and his solution was a set of front 26×9 and rear 28×10 Intro Texan units. Shortening the rearend by 6 ½ inches would be necessary to properly squeeze those wide rear wheels into place, but anything Adam needed to do to make them fit would be well worth the effort.
With the Silverado sitting at a much cooler cruising altitude, the next phase of the build was ready to be implemented. With Adam being a fan of the older style of custom street trucks, he was interested in creating an eye-catching paint scheme with a thematic sense of storytelling in the background.
While there is a deep pool of talented artists in the region that could’ve successfully pulled this off, Adam turned to Arnaldo Castillo at Drastik Changez in Houston to first lay down the blue base before requesting the airbrush expertise of Verrick Falcon at Enhanced Air Custom Paint in Pasadena, Texas, to finish off the job. The image that Verrick came up with depicts a skeleton wearing a jeweled crown and wielding a scepter worthy of a powerful royal figure positioned by a captivating combination of shapes and colors.
While the factory 5.3L was kept mostly stock with the additions of a K&N intake and a rumbling 4-inch Borla exhaust, the most noticeable change to the drivetrain can be found inside of the cab. The Silverado’s column shifter was thrown out the window and replaced with an automatic shifter from a 2016-2018 Camaro that has been planted in the custom center console designed by Anthony Medina at Medina’s Interior Design in Chandler, Arizona.
While Anthony had the truck at his facility, he also wrapped the dash and door panels in tan and black leather and suede, as well as the pair of 1990s Impala front bucket seats and set of matching custom buckets for the rear. Oh, and there is another center console positioned between the rear buckets that adds a comfortable separation of personal space throughout the cab.
“Kartunes of Tempe, Arizona, had worked on my last two truck builds, so I dropped off the Silverado for them to work their magic on next,” Adams says.
The magic they created is an audio/visual masterpiece led by a 10.1-inch high definition Kenwood DMX10375 navigation and multimedia receiver that has been linked up to JL audio speakers and 10-inch sub housed in a custom enclosure for a sound system loud and clear enough to meet Adam’s stringent standards.
While not every little thing worked out perfect for the Silverado, such as the powdercoat color not coming out correct and other very minor situations here and there, Adam’s process of bringing the truck to its current state has been painless for the most part. In two years’ time, his Silverado has drastically changed, but there are still things Adam is looking to accomplish with it.
Very rarely are these types of projects 100% complete due to the constant tweaking of things for the better or to try something new, but one thing that will always be certain for Adam and other builders just like him: Following and trusting learned instincts always prove to be invaluable with all future projects to come
2014 Chevy Silverado
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
CHASSIS & SUSPENSION
WHEELS, TIRES & BRAKES
EXTERIOR & PAINT
Just as in years past, it happened at Irwindale Raceway on Saturday 12-10-16. Hours before sunrise, in front of the gates, over 1,500 hot rods, rat rods, customs, lowriders, vans and motorcycles began lining up along Live Oak Ave.
Participants and spectators sat in their idling rides with their heaters on trying to stay warm from morning’s winter cold. The gates opened at 6:00 AM for the event. More than 115 vendors were busy inside the venue making final assembly of their booths in preparation of displaying their cool car culture swag and hardware.
As the participant gates were opened the Mooneyes X-Mas Party staff did a great job directing the cars into the massive Irwindale Raceway parking lot where they were guided to their parking spaces. More than 15,000 spectators visited the event.
It’s become a Southern California December tradition
The Irwindale 1/8th-mile drag strip was open for two sessions to allow all the 120 contestants to have side-by-side drag racing, including six Cacklefest dragsters. The trailered dragsters were quickly unloaded in the pits then directed to the tech inspection area.
Soon the cold December morning gave way to warm sun and blue skies greeting show goers, many dressed in their Christmas and lifestyle swag.
The smell of, fresh carne asada and tri-tip on the BBQ’s filled the morning air. The stage was set for another Mooneyes X-mas Party to begin with its Von Dutch/Big Daddy Roth renaissance flare.
Five bands played live music throughout day: The Go Getters, Colony Boys, Gamblers Mark, Hot Rod Trio, and the Dynotones!
At 3 o’clock, after the Pin Up contest and trophies were presented, the event ended.
The exceptional people in attendance made this show unique. They came with all their imagination, creativity, ingenuity, attitude, and style for all to enjoy.
Thanks to Shige Suganuma and Chico Kodama of Mooneyes for hosting this special event and carrying on the Moon legacy.
The exceptional people in attendance made this show unique.
Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared in the November 2017 print issue of the Drive Magazine.