Many Hands Helped Create this Daily Driver
Building a custom vehicle is not an easy task, and building a custom vehicle that is a daily driver is even more difficult. Luckily, Erick Griffey of New Market, Tennessee, has a lot of supportive family and friends who were always willing to lend a hand.
“My family has been a major part of this truck build,” he says. “From encouragement and support to laying paint, my family has always been there for me.”
Sometimes picking a name for a build can be tough, but Family Pride fits Erick’s truck and life perfectly.
Erick purchased this black ’03 Chevy Silverado 1500 brand new with 8 miles on the odometer. This was to be Erick’s daily driver. He didn’t have a garage or carport at the time, so it had to sit outside every single day. Erick loved the platform and body lines of the truck and knew it was a perfect fit for him. As just about every vehicle enthusiast knows, it wouldn’t stay stock for long! The very next day, Erick put a set of 20-inch Lexani Slates on the truck. After changing the wheels, Erick was hooked on making this a custom vehicle.
“I loved the platform of the truck but wanted to be different,” he recalls.
Erick knew this was going to be difficult because he had never built anything like what he was imagining. After the wheels, he bought a BellTech 4/6 lowering kit and had Tuff Enuff in Morristown, Tennessee, install it. It was low, but not low enough!
Erick started taking the truck to a few shows in 2004. He decided to drive out to Nashville for Southeastern Mini-Truck Nationals. Erick was only going to the show to check out all of the other rides.
“But it was cheaper to enter the truck for the weekend than it was spectating and paying for parking each day,” he laughs.
This was a huge show and he knew he had a lot of competition. To his surprise, he was presented with a second-place trophy. To this day, Southeastern Mini-Truck Nationals holds a special place in Erick’s heart because, as he says, “that was the show that started everything for me.”
Unfortunately, only two weeks after the show, Erick was T-boned. The truck took a hard hit to the passenger side of the truck bed. He was devastated and heartbroken, and he just knew there was too much damage that couldn’t be repaired. Erick’s father, Rick Griffey, who happens to do bodywork, took a look at the truck after the accident. To Erick’s amazement, Rick said he could fix it. After many hours of hard work, the truck rolled out of the garage and looked as good as new. After the accident, Erick was determined to continue the build.
Little by little, Erick built the truck of his dreams. In 2008, he purchased a full air-ride setup. Erick took all of the components to his uncle’s body shop, J.R. Griffey & Son Body Shop, in Knoxville, Tennessee. Although this was Erick’s first time installing an air-ride system, he was determined to get the job done.
“I took a layoff at work and my uncle was retired so we built this truck together,” Erick says.
They installed a set of SMC valves and Slam Specialty bags along with Viair pumps. They also installed an AVS nine-pin rocker for the best control of the ride possible. Erick added an Infamous front suspension kit and decided on suicide doors for the rear.
“I didn’t want to cut any corners, so I took my time and made sure to do everything right the first time,” he says.
While they had the truck up off the ground, they narrowed the rear by 3 inches and put in brand new Moser axles. For the truck to sit as low as he wanted, Erick knew he would have to do some more frame modifications. He decided to C-notch the rear of the frame. He also installed a universal four-link and added a KP Components watts link for a true six-link suspension. Erick realized that to get the truck to air out all the way, he would have to fab up some new wheel tubs for the front and rear.
Now that the truck was on air, Erick was able to cruise the streets just inches from the pavement. He was determined to keep this truck as his daily driver and make it show worthy at the same time. At Southeast Showdown in 2008, he was presented with a prospect logo from AcrophobiA.
“I started hanging out with the AcrophobiA guys in 2007 and could not ask for a better group of people,” Erick says.
Since then, he has become the Tennessee State Rep for AcrophobiA. The following year, Erick met his lovely wife, Amy, at Layd Out at the Park in Morristown, Tennessee.
“She is always 100% behind me in whatever I do,” he says. “She is a big part of me showing the truck.”
Even though Erick spent lots of hours outside working on the truck, Amy was right there beside him helping him every step of the way. From brand new truck to custom ride, this Silverado is definitely the Griffey’s Family Pride.
After completing the air-ride setup and frame modifications, it was on to the exterior.
“At the time, everyone was shaving everything on their trucks,” Erick says. “I wanted to be different.”
His plan was to give this truck a truly aggressive appearance. To keep with the theme, he installed a chrome LMC grille and a 442 Style Good hood. He also swapped out the headlight and taillight housings to match the aggressive style he was looking to achieve. He then decided to replace the front and rear bumpers and added an ARE bed cover. Erick installed a set of 4×4 fender flares and painted them to match the rest of the truck.
“When I told some of the people I wanted to add fender flares, they did not like the idea,” he recalls. “But when I was finished, everyone, including myself, loved the way they looked.”
It was finally time for new wheels. This was a tough decision because he wanted something that gave the truck an aggressive stance. Erick installed a set of Joe Martin Shark Tooth 22’s wrapped in Nexen Roadian HP tires, and boy, do they look good! Since this truck is driven everywhere, it needed a good braking system. Erick installed some slotted and cross-drilled brakes on the front and rear and upgraded to a 7-inch Corvette-style master cylinder.
Now that the truck was bagged and the exterior was nearing completion, Erick moved on to the engine. Erick installed a Flowmaster 40 series muffler and a set of stainless headers to give the truck an aggressive rumble. He also added a cold air intake to clean up the engine bay. All of the engine bay coverings along with the wheel tubs were painted black to match the exterior of the truck. The deep black paint under the hood really shines when he pops the hood to reveal the massive Chevy 5.3L V-8 engine. Erick and his family have a true talent when it comes to customizing cars, and it shows in every little detail of this truck.
Since this was a daily driver, Erick really wanted the interior of this truck to stand out. In 2011, Erick called up Hudsons Rod & Custom. After some brainstorming, Will Hodson and David Corn came up with an amazing design. As the old seats came out of the truck, Erick knew this interior would change the entire look of the truck. Will and David even let Erick help with the seats.
“Will showed me what to do and I was able to cut and foam the patterns,” Erick says.
Once the patterns were ready to go, Will and David worked their magic. The front bucket seats and the rear bench seat were all wrapped in a beautiful black leather. The metal inlays and rivets were installed into the seats to really make this interior stand out in the crowd. Now that the seats were finished and installed, it was on to the rest of the interior.
It wasn’t until 2013 that Erick and his father decided to finish the interior. He reached out to Gary Woods II for some help. Ultimately, Gary fabbed up an insane one-off center console for the truck. Erick wanted everything to be seamless, so the metal rivets were installed for a unique and clean center console that matched the rest of the interior. Michael Armstrong at Glassworxx helped Erick by fiberglassing the front door panels. Once sanded, they color-matched them to the other dash pieces. Erick also installed an Eclipse double din and Rockford Fosgate door speakers. He has changed up the audio a few times, but currently has a Kicker 10-inch subwoofer under the rear seat to give a little extra bump while he cruises down the road. What’s a truck without a great-sounding audio system? Completing this custom interior was not an easy task to accomplish.
“We worked as hard as we could for six weeks so that we could make it to Layd Out at the Park 2013,” Erick says. “We finished up the interior the morning of the show.”
All of his hard work and determination paid off as he ended up winning Best Interior that weekend at Layd Out.
Each year, Erick continues upgrading and building new components for the truck. He installed a custom-built set of Hyper Glow LEDs. Erick really wanted these lights to shine bright, so he installed them everywhere—under the truck body, in the bed and grille, and in the interior. If you can’t hear him coming down the road, you can definitely see him now! With a click of a button, he can switch between tons of color options.
Erick, along with his wife and kids, get to enjoy the truck together as a family.
“We never thought it would end up where it is today,” he says. “I am so thankful for all of my family and friends who helped me with this build.”
Although the build hasn’t been easy, Erick never gave up. Family Pride doesn’t only describe the truck. It describes the Griffey Family.