Eight Years in the Making, the Idea for This Truck Actually Started in Childhood

SOME FOLKS PICK UP THE AUTOMOTIVE HOBBY AS A RETIREMENT PROJECT WHILE OTHERS—LIKE COTY MILHORN FROM BLUFF CITY, TENNESSEE— JUMP IN MUCH SOONER, OFTEN WHEN THEY GET THEIR DRIVER’S LICENSE. Coty smiles when he recalls the pictures he drew of bagged trucks while he was still in elementary school. Amazingly, a few of those early drawings are quite similar to his slammed Colorado, the truck that’s been undergoing relentless refinement for the past eight years.

The adventure began on his 17th birthday when his father surprised him with the ultimate gift, this 2005 Colorado Crew Cab. Coty had a flood of ideas with dozens of changes planned for the truck, prioritizing the most important based on time and budget. An avid stereo fan, he had already built a unique car stereo that he was able to repurpose into the Colorado. Once the rear seat was removed, the bass portion was established with the full-width sub enclosure containing the pair of 12-inch Orion XTR subs. They are powered by a 1,000-watt Memphis amp, augmented with a five-farad Stinger capacitor to ensure plenty of reserve power for the bass notes. The front stage is a complex mix of eight 6.5-inch Orion XTR component sets with two in each front door, one in each rear door and a pair in the new center console. A 600-watt Orion Cobalt amp powers all the component sets along with separate tweets in the door panels and rear of the cab. Controlling the system is a Sony XAV-70BT Double DIN receiver with 7-inch touch screen and equalizer.

The black with white diamond stitch interior was done by Kustom Stitch Upholstery in Knoxville, Tennessee, with Cole Morris from Custom Enclosures in Bristol, Virginia, creating the fiberglass console and the unique door panels front and rear. The front doors are fitted with blue LEDs. The system looks good, sounds amazing and is so strong that Coty decided to remove the rearview mirror—the intense vibration has cracked the windshield in the past.


Going back to his original childhood drawings, Coty’s next priority was lowering the truck’s profile. The comprehensive list of mods began with a new back half incorporating a deep C-notch for clearance. The rear end was narrowed 4 inches and held in place with a six-link, wishbone rear suspension. The front suspension uses trimmed factory control arms with the front shocks and mounts relocated so that full radius turns are possible without any scrubbing. Once the suspension changes were in place, Air Lift 2,600-pound bags were installed in the rear, followed by 2,500-pound versions up front, along with shocks from O’Reilly’s on all four corners. The system uses Air Lift’s Auto Pilot V2 Air.

Management system with eight user-presets to control the ride height. Two Viair compressors on either side of the 5-gallon Air Lift tank are connected with 3/8-inch lines. Everything is mounted out of sight, underneath the raised bed floor. Custom Connection in Henderson, Kentucky, did the work. Completing the package, eLINE Series, drilled and slotted rotors with black powder-coated calipers guaranteed modern stopping power. The truck lays frame and drives beautifully on the highway, rolling on new 22-inch Intro Billet rims and Toyo rubber.

The next area of concern was detailing the engine bay and the rare factory five-cylinder motor. At 3.5 liters, the engine provides a good balance between fuel economy and power. Hand-fabricated wheel tubs were added and painted flat black. The PCM, A/C hoses, ABS module and coolant overflow tank were relocated out of sight, and then the custom cold air intake, fuse box and the valve cover were painted a cast iron color. Dual Flowmasters provide a sweet performance sound. Steven Hamilton in Bristol, Virginia, did the work.

Exterior mods on the truck began with a set of Z71 fender flares, blacked out factory taillights, the front lower valance color matched, and the rear bumper holes filled and painted. The truck was de-badged, then the tailgate latch and door handles were color matched. Perhaps the biggest surprise when spectators look at this 13-year-old truck is thinking that the lustrous black finish is a recent custom paint job. In fact, it’s the original finish straight from the factory that has been carefully maintained over the years. To keep that showroom-fresh shine, Coty handwashes the truck with Mr. Pink Soap from Chemical Guys Products, along with Black Light Gloss Enhancer and Sealant Wax, designed specifically for enhancing black and dark colored vehicles. F11 Top Coat protects the finish while repelling dirt and water. Coty uses a Meguiars clay bar at least once a year to enhance that foot-deep shine. Future plans include a few more body mods like shaving the taillights and center brake light, additional revisions to the bed, and finally redoing that beautiful factory paint job with some custom upgrades.

Coty would like to send special thanks to “mom and dad for teaching me to work hard for what you want in life,” along with Custom Connection, Cole Morris, Traffic Jams, Kustom Stitch, Truck Outfitters, RPM Offroad and Car Mart Collision.

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