At the 2nd Body Shop.
A few months before at Spring Bash, I remember hearing a name called over and over again during the awards.
I knew this name because the guy lived in a small town that was only 15 miles away from me.
Once I found out what he built, I was on a mission to find him at Texas Heat Wave to talk to him about building my truck.
His name is Mark Whiteskunk. If you don't know his name, I bet
you know his truck known as "Instigator".
Click here to see more information on SkunkWerx - "Instigator"
I've lived only 15 miles away from Mark nearly my entire life and it took a car show that was 500 miles away for us to meet.
Seeing his truck I knew I was making the right decision if I ever wanted to get my truck custom built.
The first body shop was to scared to do any custom work so once the talent in the new body shop increased, so did my list of mods.
The lower body line is now going to be shaved all the way around the truck, and the inside of the bed is going to have custom sheet metal.
Storing the bed for safe
Since the first body shop spray painted my frame black, I wanted to redo my frame so I could add more detail. What's a custom truck without redo's anyways?
Once the bed was taken off it was flipped upside down so the bottom rockers would not get damaged. (Smart thinking.)
It might not be the best way to store a bed, but this would keep the bed from being used as a random junk pile.
|Flipped upside down for safe keeping.||No dented rockers!||The pinch welds will be cut off.|
Since the bed was going to be stored for a few months, this was the best way to reduce damage while I prepped the frame in the garage.
There is a little bit of surface rust from rain and snow, but that is an easy fix.
After all is said and done, I'm happy that the bed was flipped upside down for storage.
The last thing I want to see is my rocker panels all dented up from careless mistakes...
That would just plain suck!
|Horrible prep work by the 1st body shop...||Weak factory support rod.|
Pulling the Engine and Transmission.
Mark told me it would be about a month before
he could start working on my truck.
He told me if I brought my fenders to him first, he would finish welding up all the holes. So when the time came, I took the fenders off and delivered them to him.
But while I was waiting, I decided that I wanted to pull the engine and transmission so I could begin prepping it for paint and custom mods.
Just thinking about what the finished product would look like
and how exciting the coming projects were going to be called upon feelings I
believe would be similar to
I experienced feelings of pure happiness, peace and relaxation knowing the journey had begun.
Since I have never done this type of thing before I had Mark and my friend Justin help me take it all out.
|A few days before the engine gets pulled out.||Front bumper removed.||I didn't remove the doors to remove the engine.|
|What A Mess!||Got it chained up and ready to remove!||Almost out!|
|Success!||Thanks Mark and Justin for helping me out!||Dodge Ram 3.18 V8 needs a lot of attention!|
|I already had most of the frame taken down to bare metal before the engine was pulled.||That's a lot of wires!||Some of the prep work that went into the frame.
More to come!
Stripping the frame and
suspension to bare metal.
A lot of the tedious work that I did might be getting shaved, covered up, or completely removed altogether. My designs and ideas have changed so I tried to get everything stripped, smoothed and reshaped no matter where it is located on the frame.
I treat every inch of the truck likes it's going to be the center piece.
This way if it happened to be exposed, the quality and detail will remain throughout the entire truck from top to bottom.
It's a lot of work, but this is what separates you from the rest of the crowd that only focuses on the exposed areas. Like I said before, It's all in the details!
|Stripping Black Spray Paint|
|Work In Progress|
|If I had room I would have taken off the cab a long time ago. It would have made things a lot easier. Anyways, you get the idea...|
Self Promoting On A Smaller Scale.
Since my truck was taken apart and I had no way of showing my Tonneau Gate Prototype in person, I needed a way to keep my existence known and to get more traffic and attention to my website. I came across a realistic looking 1:6 scale remote control Lincoln Navigator.
My friend Tyson and I began working on some different details to make this thing over the top. We used a 1.2" MP4 Player as a real working TV!
It was flush mounted in the dash and JL Audio XR Tweeters were used to make this thing have a working stereo system! The model was shaved, the door was swinging suicide, LED's where added to the headlights and Mark finished it off with a custom two tone paint job!
Stock Navigator with Khaki Interior, Spinner Rims, Flame Decals, Yellow Head Lights, Bumper Pads, etc...
|Starting to look better...|
|Fun in the snow!|
|Fully Customized with working TV and Stereo, Shaved with Custom Paint!|
|The Pay Off!|
This model was built for advertising purposes and after the model was finished I posted it on some custom truck forums. I remember two individuals laughing at me for spending so much time working on a model car. They told me I should put down the toys and start working on a real vehicle.
One guy owned a body shop, and the other doesn't even have a custom vehicle. That's great advice and I'll be sure to do that. It's probably a good thing that I kept the email from an interested buyer that offered me several thousand dollars to purchase this same model...
I told him this model wasn't up to par and I wouldn't feel right selling it to him for such a high price since this was my first one.
I do have 2 more of these models sitting in storage and I can't wait to see what kind of offers I get for those.
So I would say customizing a $100 model and selling it for a few grand would be a good investment.
Click here to see more information on my "IntimiGator" Lincoln Navigator Model
I have 5 videos with over 350,000 views on YouTube with this Navigator.
I had better music picked out for the Build-Up video but with all the copyright issues, I had to pick out a different song.
One-Off Steering Wheel
Earlier in 2006, I hired Robbie Bryant from Kutting Edge Graphix to help me design a one-off steering wheel. Thanks Robbie! It turned out great!
I told Jason I didn't want the
steering wheel to be shipped because I didn't want it to get
This is my first (of many) things I have ever
designed that was made out of billet. I was happy to see my design created into
a top notch quality show piece!
The non-functional horn button is my favorite part.
When I got my wheel, Mark's wife Nichole said "Wow you completely changed once you got your steering wheel! You were a different person, you were happy!"
I said "Yes I'm happy! Because this is progress!"
A Few Months Earlier...
Mark is working out of a small shop where he is the only employee. His boss was never around and when work came in, the collision jobs were taken care of first. Mark had already finished welding up all the holes on my fenders and even shaved the lower body line.
He then started to shave the front fascia.
Due to health reasons Mark ended up getting another day job and was only working at the body shop at night. Seeing my list of mods on top of what Mark was already working on, I knew it was time to start looking for another body shop.
So when I decided to move on after 9 months, the decision was mutual.
Mark's sickness was a little more serious than we thought. He ended up getting cancer but has taken the proper treatments and he is now cancer free!!!
Mark now owns the body shop and he has even done some more custom work for me since then.
Selecting A New Body Shop.
The original body shop that I talked to when I was 16 was known for having some of the best customs throughout Oklahoma if not the nation.
They had been on the cover of numerous magazines and had a good strong reputation for building high end customs.
I found out that the shop had gone off the beaten path and it was not worth the risk.
I need to find a custom body shop that has "been
there, done that".
There are now two custom body shops that I am considering. These shops are rivals of each other, so either one would be the perfect choice.
Here are my two options.
|Choice #1||Choice #2|
|Distance:||5.5 Hours (One Way)||Distance||4.5 Hours (One Way)|
|Hourly Rate:||$45 an hour||Hourly Rate:||$40 an hour|
|Full Blown Custom Vehicles:||Yes||Full Blown Custom Vehicles:||In the works.|
|Sema Vehicles:||Yes||Sema Vehicles:||Yes|
|New Projects Regularly:||Yes||New Projects Regularly:||Yes|
In a years time, the first and second
body shop had a grand total of only 30 hours of labor into my truck.
Since I already purchased half of my parts and did half of the work myself, the rest of build should go a lot smoother.
Keeping that original quote in my head from
several years earlier, I now have the $30,000 saved up on top of everything
I worked hard and made a lot of sacrifices to save up and I know the value of a dollar and how fast it can add up.
I decided that I will be going with the body
shop that is closer and a less expensive. So I choose shop #2.
Eliminating 2 hours of driving and $5 an hour might not sound like much now, but it will add up over time.
However, now that I have the money and it's going to be built by a body shop that does custom work on a daily basis,
I want my truck to be on display at the Sema Show in Las Vegas for 2007!
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