Being widely known for building mostly sky-high
lifted custom trucks is not such a bad thing, if you like pulling yourself way
up to get into your vehicle every time you want to go somewhere. The name Craig
Elder is synonymous with building some of the biggest, baddest, and overall best
lifted trucks anywhere. This 1999 Chevrolet Silverado was sort of an unplanned
project that Craig could not pass up on. The previous owner had worked on it and
lost interest so Craig purchased the truck in order to finish it and enjoy a
slammed truck for a while.
The truck was already
laying on the pavement with an air bag suspension including MIC air valves, air
tank, and compressors. Being the way Craig is with all of his vehicles, some
changes and upgrades were in order for the truck to be up to his standards. The
truck was body dropped 3-inches and the body needed some protection from the
California roads. Custom chromoly tubing was fabricated into the under carriage
to protect the body from any damage when Craig decides to lay it out while
driving or if he has to drive over any ridiculously tall speed bumps. SCD
Fabrication in San Marcos, California is credited with the custom 4-link
consisting of 1-1/4-inch heim joints and 1-3/4 -inch chromoly tubing. The trucks
fender wells were in for a big set of 24-inch Oasis wheels which was going to
entail a lot more work for the guys at SCD Fabrication. The fitting of the
two-foot wheels required them to move around a lot of factory parts as well as
customizing some brackets and installing some custom parts that were made to fit
with the big wheels. The brake booster and computer module were relocated to fit
the custom stainless steel fender wells.
One of the nicer additions
to Craig's truck had also been installed before he purchased the truck. It was a
Cadillac Escalade front end and it was a major reason Craig purchased the truck.
The Escalade front-end kit is not an inexpensive upgrade so having it on there
already was a bonus. The body was clean after the the door handles, gas door,
taillights, and rear bumper were removed. The holes that remained were all
welded shut and smoothed out. The previous owner had painted the truck yellow
but for Craig to make it his own, the truck needed a new hue. Gonzalo's Auto
Body in Murrieta, California sprayed the truck with PPG Sky Blue Pearl paint.
The truck also has a color-matched Rhino lined bed by Temecula Rhino Lining and
a flush California Customs tonneau cover.
Inside Craig's ride is a
bevy of additions to the dash, door panels, seats, and even the windows. All of
the tinted glass that was on the truck was removed and replaced with new clear
replacement windows. Then they were tinted at House of Tints in Tustin,
California with a custom design by Joe Conduff. The dash, pillars, kick panels,
and door panels were painted to match the exterior of the truck. The seats were
reupholstered with leather Katzkin seat covers. Empire Motorsports is well
represented in Craig's interior with billet parts including air conditioning
vents, knobs, heater cover, steering wheel, and door panel inserts. The factory
stereo was replaced with a Pioneer head unit and chrome flamed Audiobahn
amplifiers to pump up the volume.
A lot of work was
performed under the hood to make the big wheels fit but that is not all that
exists under the hood. The 5.3 liter V8 was updated with Gibson header and
cat-back exhaust. A custom 4-inch air intake was fabricated to fit in with the
fender wells that SCD Fabrication had recently installed. A Hypertech chip was
also installed to negate the factory speed limiter.
Until now, I hadn't been
able to shoot any of Craig's famous custom rides but Craig assures me that you
and I will be seeing more of his future creations on this website. Make sure to
check out our models page for the interview with the model for this feature,