If you don’t know by now, the crew at Kingdig-It Design has been whipping out some top-notch rides for about 16 years now. Recently the shop has been featured on the TV show “Bitchin’ Rides” on the Velocity Channel. Though shop owner Dave Kindig is having some big success these days, it took many years of persistence to get where he is today. Dave started out doing automotive renderings, and as time went on he became a little aggravated by the fact that the vehicles being built didn’t turn out quite the same as his drawings. To make sure that his ideas were executed correctly, he cashed out the $4,800 in his 401K and started his own shop in Salt Lake City.
One of the more recent projects built and shown on the new show is this Phantom fleetside that started with an old chevy suburban project that Dave had on the sidelines. Like many shop owners, they are able to do great work for their customers but have little time or funds left for personal projects. this all changed for Dave when a customer by the name of Craig Moyes dropped off a ’50 chevy truck to have it turned into a complete showpiece. Craig is a guy who already has his garage complete with a supercharged ’12 Chevy Camaro.
The problem he had with the Camaro is that aside from it being fast, it looked just like any other on the street. that’s when he decided to go forward with the truck build since it would be something different. When the truck was at kindig-It, the crew started putting the pieces of the pickup together and soon found out that the majority of the steel was rotted away and the only part worth saving was the roof of the cab. This is when Dave got the idea to turn the forgotten suburban into a fleetside pickup. since gm only made these trucks with step-side beds, the idea was truly unique.
The Kindig-It crew cut the top of the suburban off and welded on the roof of the pickup cab. From there, the floor, inner bed panels and bed rails were made from scratch. while creating the floor, it was raised/channeled to bring the body down over the frame. with the body in rough form, the rest of the build moved forward. giving the truck a good foundation is a turnkey chassis from Art Morrison.
This created a whole frame that was ready to bolt directly to the body. the frame also came complete with all drivetrain mounts and a strange engineering 9-inch rear end attached to a parallel 4-link rear suspension with a Panhard bar. the Art Morrison independent front suspension came with Wilwood Pro dropped spindles, sway bar and rack-and-pinion steering.
The entire chassis was upgraded with a set of Qa1 coil-overs and Wilwood disc brakes at each corner. since Craig is used to going fast in his Camaro, he wanted the same capabilities in his classic truck. to get this truck to push Craig back into his seat while the gas pedal is mashed, a new gm Ls3 crate engine was dropped in, and it was topped off with a Magnuson supercharger to push out 625 ponies.
The spent gases are released through Art Morrison headers to the 2 ½-inch exhaust with Dmh Performance cutouts and Flowmaster hP-2 mufflers. the power plant was painted and dressed up with a custom valve covers and a pulley kit from concept one. Behind the flywheel is a Tremec t56 manual transmission with a clutch from McLeod.
With the running gear in order, the body received a few mods to clean it up. starting with the bumpers, the hardware was shaved and splash guards were made to fit between them and the body. moving back, the emblems, turn signals and hood seam were shaved, while the Maxtel headlamps with Hagen trim were frenched in. cleaning up the engine bay, the firewall was shaved and bead rolled. the inner fenders were extended back, and a core support cover was made to cover the Ron Davis aluminum radiator.
Since the bed and cab are one, the Phantom fleetside has a unibody construction that eliminates the gap between the bed and cab. smoothing out the body even more, the drip rails were deleted, and the two-piece windshield was swapped for a seamless bent version from JrD International. helping to keep proportions right, the rear quarter glass was replaced with shorter scratch-resistant and D.O.T.- approved acrylic glass from am hotrod glass. the doors were shaved and a set of kindig smooth door handles were added.
On the sides are custom-made hourglass running boards that are notched for the tips of the cutout exhaust. the new bed floor is a dressed up with slats of wormy maple wood that were set in a custom channel to hide the ends. Finishing it out, the custom tailgate uses retractors for a 1955 chevy Nomad and Bear claw latches. after the fabrication was complete, the body was worked smooth for paint.
It was then rolled into the in-house paint booth and coated in Audi salsa red and Chrysler Beige created from PPG paint. Folland Fine Lines stepped in to break up the two-tone with a taupe and black pinstripe. Not only was the topside of the body painted, but the underside and chassis were painted as well.
Once dry and color sanded, the body met the frame. completing the look of the exterior, a set of 19- and 20- inch Billet Specialties Legacy 2 g billet wheels with Michelin rubber were attached.
Wrapping up the build, Js custom Interiors stepped in to lay down a Mercedes velour carpet and upholster the entire interior in two-tone leather separated with chrome trim. the dash was kept simple with a set of Dakota Digital VhX gauges and vents for the Vintage air ac unit.
Underneath it is an ididit column with colorado customs leather-wrapped steering wheel. Js custom fabricated the door panels and center console. For seating, a pair of bucket seats was taken from a 2009 GMC Denali, and the headrests were removed before being covered in matching leather. as a touch of personalization, Js custom added hand-tooled inserts that showcase craig’s dogs. when the truck was unveiled to craig, he couldn’t believe his eyes. It was wilder than he had ever imagined.
Kindig-It Design really outdid itself by transforming this suburban into a truck that was never produced. since it was done so well, if you didn’t know that this truck was never made, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell that it wasn’t factory. By the looks of the final product, we can safely say that this team is on top of their game, and we can’t wait to see what they come up with next.