A Family-Friendly Super Sport Silverado
The classic look of a two-door cab is just something that has always proved to catch his attention. While the more streamlined appearance of a single cab pickup has been hard for him to pass on in the past, he did choose something out of his wheelhouse with his latest project.
“With my newest build, I chose an ’06 Chevy Silverado SS for a few specific reasons,” Sammy says. “The most important reason for my decision is having the ability to have enough room to take my entire family to a show or a cruise in one single truck, and to do that we would need one with a back bench seat at least.”
Even though Sammy’s main concern was being able to load up his wife and kids for an extended trip or to take a quick drive to grab some dinner, the Silverado SS is a hell of a truck to choose for a complete build. While there have been a great deal of killer SS models on the show circuit in the past, Sammy had never seen one built to meet his exact criteria, which is what he was also looking forward to accomplish with this project.
To start, Sammy knew that he wanted to ‘bag his SS, and to do that he recruited the help of Gerardo Garcia of Shorty’s Customs to help him do it.
“It made sense to work on the truck there since I was working in Freeport, TX at the time, which is where the shop is,” Sammy says. “I would call him up to see if I could work on the truck after I was done with my workday and on weekends, and he would never say no. This truck was completed mostly during the afterhours when we were both done with each of our long 10-12-hour shifts at work. We would take turns working on my truck and on his into the late evening/early morning hours, which was such a tiring yet exciting experience.”
The most important reason for my decision is having the ability to have enough room to take my entire family to a show or a cruise in one single truck…
To bring the frontend down, the guys went with an Ekstensive Metal Works front control arm with bumpsteer kit, and to drop the rear, a custom 3-link setup with wishbone was fabricated. A combination of Slam Specialties SS7 ‘bags, dual Viair 444 compressors and Accuair air management components slam the truck down to a drastically lowered ride height with a single push of a button. Before all the new suspension parts were bolted back to full spec, they were all blown apart again so Sammy could send a few components out to get powdercoated. Since there is no better opportunity to do this kind of mod than when the frame is currently under construction, Sammy seized the moment to introduce contrasting hints of color to the mostly black frame.
To make the best of the Silverado’s newly updated stance, Sammy began shopping for the right set of wheels to stuff into the fenders. He landed on 26×9 and 26×12 Intro Mesh non-concave wheels (with 6- and 4-inch backspacing respectively) that sport a cool multi-spoke design, and were custom tinted for just the right appearance. Behind all those spokes lie drilled and slotted rotors and upgraded calipers from Wilwood that not only look sharp framed by the hoops, but will provide powerful braking power that Sammy and his family can depend on to help keep them safe while having a great time on the road. With the chassis system completely revamped and looking and performing incredibly, the next phases of the project were immediately set to commence.
To keep the ’06 Chevy Silverado running strong for many more years to come, Sammy and his brother Jorge focused on refreshing the Silverado’s factory-equipped 6.0L LQ9 engine while still performing some tricks to clean up the engine bay. Aside from installing a new set of Speed Engineering headers and stepping up to a Corsa Extreme exhaust system, the Cantu brothers went a couple steps furthers by extending the wires for the ECU and fuse box to stash them inside the cab. This extra effort lessens the amount of wires and components seen under the hood for a much more presentable scene while on display at shows. To add to that clean yet custom appearance in the bay, Jose Pena from Drops R Us created a set of bead rolled inner fenders to give the space a much more intriguing appeal.
On the exterior, LT Body Shop performed some necessary bodywork as well as a few custom touches to get it prepared for final paint. Before the truck reached that point, however, Sammy further prepared the SS for its moment in the paint booth by first raising the OEM bed floor and then widening the factory rear tubs. The time for paint had finally arrived, and the color of choice was PPG Silver Birch metallic—a stock paint code but the exciting part was soon to come. Edgar Solis at EDS Airbrush soon joined the party by adding House of Kolor pewter, red, charcoal and copper colored graphics along the bottom side of the Silverado for a much-needed break in the monotony.
Within two years, the truck was completely transformed to meet Sammy’s personal specs, and although he is happier than hell with how the truck turned out, there are a few things left on his checklist..
Inside the cab, RGV Upholstery modified the OEM seats by first removing the headrests, then lowering the seat belt position to flow better with the reshaping. RGV also recovered the headliner and created floor mats in the same graphite grey hue already prevalent in the cab to jive with the factory styling. Next, House of Sound wired up a new Pioneer head unit, and constructed a custom speaker box loaded with two 8-inch Sundown Audio subs. All the factory speakers were swapped out for high-quality DS18 units and two amps AND an Epicenter bass processor were also squeezed in to give Sammy and his family enough firepower to enjoy all their favorite tunes on full blast.
Since the SS has been completed, the Cantu family has already taken the truck to a few Texas shows, and they plan to further their adventures to events in Mexico soon enough.
Within two years, the truck was completely transformed to meet Sammy’s personal specs, and although he is happier than hell with how the truck turned out, there are still a few things left on his checklist.
“I’d like to add some boost with either a turbo or supercharger but we’ll see what happens there,” he says. “All I know for sure is that the truck has come out better than I hoped for. That was all possible due to the great people I’ve met during the process and the ones who helped me build it.
2006 Chevy Silverado SS
Shop: Sammy and Jorge Cantu, Edinburg, TX
2006 Chevy LQ9 6.0L
Comp Cams camshaft w/.550-inch lift
Double valve springs, hardened pushrods
Speed Engineering headers
Custom air intake
Corsa Xtreme 3-inch exhaust system
Painted valve and radiator covers
Extended wires for ECU and fuse box to move inside the cab
Battery lowered to front crossmember
Original 4L65 transmission rebuilt with new clutches, band, sprag, drum from Trans-Go by JR Performance Transmission, San Juan, TX
Precision Industries torque converter
Tru-Cool transmission cooler
Chassis & Suspension
Shop: Gerardo Garcia @ Shorty’s Customs, Clute, TX
Modified original Silverado frame
Ekstensive front control arm kit with bumpsteer
Custom rear 3-link setup w/ wishbone
Custom mounts for link bars to run under frame
Welded in C-notch
Slam Specialties SS7 ‘bags
Accuair air management
Dual Viair 444 compressors
Two floating seamless 5-gallon air tanks
Raised factory fuel tank crossmembers two inches
Original 2WD SS 14-bolt rearend
Wheels, Tires & Brakes
26×9 and 26×12 Intro Mesh non-concave wheels
Wilwood 16-inch brake kits
Body & Paint
Shop: LT Body Shop, Mission, TX
PPG Silver Birch metallic
House of Kolor paints used for graphics by Edgar Solis @ EDS Airbrush, Pharr, TX
OEM ’06 grille and Super Sport bumpers
Firewall tubs to turn low with larger wheels
Custom front wheel tubs with bead rolled details and hood struts by Jose Pena @ Drops R Us
Stock bed floor raised, widened factory rear wheel tubs
Interior & Stereo
Shop: RGV Upholstery, Alamo, TX
Headrests removed, seatbelt position lowered on OEM seats
Graphite leather upholstery
Matching headliner and floor mats
Original dash and gauge cluster
Dakota Digital air pressure gauge
Stereo system by House of Sound, San Juan, TX
Pioneer head unit
Custom speaker box
Sundown Audio subwoofers, 2000×1 and 1500×4 amps
Epicenter bass processor
DS18 mids and highs