Subtle Changes Make an Elegant Ride
Everyone in the car hobby knows there are times when a particular truck, color, or body style strikes a chord. There’s just something about a certain year, make, or model that says that’s the one!
That’s what drew Keith “Tank” Tacti to his current ride. Tank has been involved in the truck scene since the late ’80s. Passionate about every aspect of the custom automotive hobby, he took it a step further, becoming more involved in the technical side. After developing talents for paint and body work, he eventually opened his own shop and ran a successful business for more than 20 years.
During that time, as one of the perks of the business, he has owned more than 50 unique vehicles. In the beginning, the fun part was when his hobby turned into a business, giving him the perfect outlet for his creativity and to support his family. Over time however, the demands of business took some of the charm away from the hobby, and Tank decided to move on. He still maintains his passion for cool custom vehicles and is actively involved in the car show scene. He’s one of the promoters of the Made in Steel show, the Florida Lifted Show, and the Toy Drop Show, charitable pursuits that benefit the Children’s Cancer foundation.
Tank’s latest ride was predictable because he’s always been a Chevy guy and there was something about the Chevy Crew Cab body style that drew him to it like a magnet. After considerable research, he finally found this 2010 Chevy Silverado Crew Cab, selling his RAM truck to get it. The Bow Tie had a reliable 4.8L V-8 under the hood, more than quick enough in stock form to get the job done. Previously owned, the Chevy already had some custom touches that sweetened the deal but there was plenty still to be done. It had been bagged but it needed a new interior, the bed work wasn’t up to Tank’s standard, and naturally, there were lots of personal touches on his “freshening up” list.
Since the goal was not to sit high and corner slowly, aftermarket suspension mods were among the first upgrades. Although it looks like it, the truck is not body dropped. The combination of an Ekstensive Metal Works air package began with new upper and lower bag mounts, a pair of Viair compressors, 3/8-inch lines, and 8-gallon reserve tank that created the desired low profile. The Ekstensive upper and lower control arms are designed for tire clearance even when the truck is in the weeds. The new air suspension components found a home under the bed between the rear bumper and the rear axle.
Once the appropriate height adjustments were complete, 24-inch US Mags Desperado 2 rims and Zenna 30-series rubber filled the wheel wells and complemented the truck’s slammed profile. Accessorized with miniature chariot spikes, the 6-lug wheels are directional with different left and right sides. Finish work was required on the bed, completing the welds on the raised portion of the bed floor and then protecting it with bed liner in a shade that matched the exterior.
The interior was next on the list, accomplished by Peggs Upholstery in Lakeland, Florida. Tank left most of the decisions to the team, only specifying black vinyl and blue diamond stitching to complement the exterior paint. Fold down center armrests front and rear make it a comfortable four-seat, crew cab.
Naturally, every cool custom truck has to have an equally cool stereo. Tank’s last featured ride was a radical Astro Van with 2,400 watts of power and eight hair-blowin’ subs strong enough to buckle the windshield! His tastes have mellowed over the years and the Double-DIN, Kenwood DDX24BT DVD receiver in the Chevy is more in step with current trends. It has a 6.2-inch touch display with Kenwood tweets and 6.5-inch components set in all four doors. The Kenwood 600W amp is located under the rear seat. Chevrolet factory instrumentation was retained but Tank keeps track of the air suspension thanks to the Viair gauge package on the A-pillar.
When it comes to the exterior, Tank has also chosen a more conservative approach. Although his previous rocker-scrapin’, loud thumpin’, tribal painted Astro Van was great fun, tastes change. The classic lines of the Silverado were what attracted him to the truck in the first place, so his current design approach was to emphasize its iconic lines. Other than the billet grille up front, smoked LED taillights, and custom paint, the exterior is relatively stock except for the one big change that everyone notices.
The Blue Granite Metallic factory shade on the Chevy was beautifully accented with multicolored graphics applied by Daniel Smith of Smithworkx. Tank met Daniel in the past and found his work amazing. Even before many of the other customizing decisions were made, Tank knew Daniel was going to be his paint man.
“I was bound and determined to have Daniel paint my truck,” he says.
The unique part of that decision is Tank is already a fair hand with a paint gun, having made a living with it for years. He was so impressed with the quality of Daniel’s work however, that even as a talented shop owner, he is quick to give credit and brag about Daniel’s talent. Once again, the initial guidance was minimal.
“You’re the artist,” Tank said to Daniel. “This is your canvas. Do what you want but I’d like you to add a little silver leaf.”
It’s the kind of free reign approach every artist wants to hear. One of Daniel’s trademark approaches is he starts at the doors and moves to the rear. For a change of pace on Tank’s truck, he mixed it up a little, blending a half dozen colors and textures, starting at the front bumper and flowing toward the rear doors. Incorporating that special slash of silver leaf, the multicolored graphics become an eye-catching addition to the truck.
Although Tank has named this one “The Last One,” if you know Tank, there will probably be additional custom rides in the future. As an active member of the Acrophobia club for the last four years, we are certain the customizing urge will continue, and you will see more from this talented builder soon.
Keith “Tank” Tacti
Fruitland Park, FL
2010 Chevy Silverado
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
- 4.8L V-8
- 4-speed Auto
CHASSIS & SUSPENSION
- C-Notched frame
- Ekstensive Metal Works air bags
- Ekstensive upper and lower control arms/ bag mounts
- Two Viair compressors
- 3/8-inch lines
- 8-gallon reserve tank
WHEELS & TIRES
- 24-inch US MAGS Desperados 2
- Zenna 255/30ZR24 Tires
EXTERIOR & PAINT
- Billet grille
- Smoked LED taillights
- Blue Granite Metallic factory paint
- Custom graphics by Daniel Smith of Smithworkx, Lakeland, FL
- Black vinyl and blue diamond stitching by Peggs Upholstery, Lakeland, FL
- Double-DIN, Kenwood DDX24BT DVD receiver
- Kenwood tweets and 6.5-inch components set the doors.
- Kenwood Model 600W amp
- Viair gauge package on the A-pillar.