An Attention-Demanding Vintage Cruiser
Charlie Campbell spent most of his life building dreams. During the day, his construction company built custom homes for other people. In his spare time, he constructed his own automotive dreams. Naturally he hoped his son would follow in his footsteps.
Stacy Campbell didn’t initially share the same visions as his dad. Growing up around the jobsites, drag strip and car shows, he didn’t always appreciate his dad’s business or his passion for classic American cars. Stacy’s interests leaned more toward skateboards, BMX bikes and Volkswagens.
The young man matured and began to understand what compelled his dad to teach him every aspect of the construction business. Stacy also learned to appreciate his style of automotive passion. As a tribute to his father, he hoped to pass this legacy on to the next generation of the Campbell family. The fact that he had been blessed with two daughters didn’t deter him in the least bit.
The unique designs were a hit with the customers, and the girls were learning to become young entrepreneurs as Stacy and Jackie had hoped for. Having a cool custom cruiser as a company calling card proved to be a worthy investment as well.
Stacy collaborated with his wife Jackie to formulate a business plan that would allow them to incorporate their leisure time passion for attending classic truck shows. In 2016, Sketchy’s Speed Shop was established so that the entire family could participate in a business venture.
The dynamic duo planned to use the business as an educational experience for their daughters. To assist in that goal, this ’64 Suburban was purchased to become Sketchy’s automotive calling card. They wanted a family-sized vintage cruiser that would draw attention as they attended events around the country.
A call was made to longtime friend Pat Maxwell of Maxwell Auto Design. They requested a cool logo, and Pat’s talent as an automotive artist would align perfectly with what the couple had in mind. He created the company’s artwork along with several unique designs that would be used for a line of Sketchy’s Speed Shop swag.
With the business plan lined out, it was time to focus on the newly acquired Suburban. Stacy reached out to Eric Helfrich for assistance in setting the truck’s stance. He wanted to tuck 22s with the ability to cruise low, so Eric suggested a complete PB Fab suspension system. They checked all the boxes on the Porterbuilt web page, and a drop member system was soon on its way.
The new dropped crossmember gave them the option to choose what style motor mounts they would use. Improved performance and fuel economy were on the list of priorities, so an LS-based powertrain was selected. Eric installed a 4.8 LR4 backed by a 4L60e transmission. He kept modifications to a minimum for reliability.
A free-flowing exhaust system that incorporates 3-inch Flowmaster mufflers with the exit pipes dumped to the outside was added to help the motor breathe. The exhaust tubes were tucked up tight to allow the classic SUV to cruise low and sound cool.
With the engine and suspension updates accomplished, fresh rolling stock was mandatory. Centerline Wheel “Smoothies” were fitted with chrome GM caps. A set of Nitto 265/30/22s went on all four corners.
The original Aqua Blue paint wasn’t what Stacy had envisioned. Maxwell Auto Design sketched a rendering with a fresh look and a retro styled logo. Stacy reached out to Jim Shaw at Bonez Krazy Kustoms to apply the new color scheme.
Before the topcoat went on, Jim body worked several decades of paint and old repairs. He welded up the bolt holes where the factory emblems were mounted, and then did the same on a pair of stock bumpers. These were grinded smooth to match the shaved grille.
After aligning panels and adjusting gaps, the body was primed and block sanded till it was super straight. Stacy chose PPG Metallic Caribou Brown to cover the vintage hauler. They used PPG Vanilla Shake for the roof, bumpers and wheels. Once done, Pat Maxwell added his artwork to accent the doors with Sketchy’s Speed and Surf logo.
With the outside completed, attention was turned to the interior. All of the metal surfaces were coated with Vanilla Shake to match the exterior accents. The factory-split bench seats were updated with medium brown leather stitched up in a diamond pattern by Arturo’s Upholstery.
You can’t have a cool custom cruiser without a full-blown sound system. No Limits Audio of Magnolia, Texas, was called on to design the on-board entertainment. They chose a Retro Sound receiver to fill the factory holes in the dash.
They selected Kicker Audio for the remaining components. Up front, 5.25-inch co-axials fill the air with midrange tunes. In back, a pair of KMTC65 weatherproof tower speakers accompany four 12-inch subwoofers to ensure the party starts when Stacy and the family roll up.
In May of 2017, Sketchy’s Suburban made its debut at the Battle in Bama show. The shop truck was the center of attention in the Sketchy’s Speed Shop merchandise display. The ensuing crowds were greeted by the Campbell family all wearing the speed shops attire.
The family took full advantage of the attention the company’s products received. While mom and dad greeted customers, their daughters filled the orders. It was clear that the business venture was going to be a success on several levels. The unique designs were a hit with the customers, and the girls were learning to become young entrepreneurs as Stacy and Jackie had hoped for. Having a cool custom cruiser as a company calling card proved to be a worthy investment as well. No doubt Charlie would have been proud.