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Grant Kustoms Built ’97 TAHOE | Acrophobia

Hritik Godara December 28, 2021 C10 Builders Guide

Guaranteed Good Times for the Whole Family

Frankie Acuna, an insurance agent from Santa Maria, California, values his time with his wife and kids. In fact, he’d do just about anything to create more opportunities for them to hang out—including building a custom truck for them to cruise around town in. While spending time in the garage is seen as a lonesome escape for some guys, Frankie was banking on this venture to be a big investment in future quality time with his tribe. 

Frankie takes great pride in his truck, and for good reason. Even though there is an impressive list of contributors who have made the Tahoe what it truly is, he did put in his fair share of hard work. 

“I first chose to build this Tahoe because it’s a unique, one-of-a-kind truck,” he says about jumping into the project. “Plus, the whole family can fit into it, which makes it even more worthwhile for me.”

Now, for those not familiar with the California landscape, Santa Maria is a city right along the central coast a little over 150 miles north of Los Angeles. This town is a lot quieter than what can usually be expected of the SoCal gridlock, and there are a lot of talented craftsmen located throughout the region that were utilized throughout the build. Art Gomez of GO-EZ previously lowered the Tahoe down in Orange County (just south of LA) by equipping it with upper and lower arms and a 6-lug conversion from a ’98 Chevy pickup up front, along with a rear triangulated four-link and ’01 Suburban rearend that was narrowed 6 inches per side.

Bob Grant of Grant Kustomz in Oroville, California, made his own list of killer contributions to the Tahoe in the way of an entire ’05 Silverado SS body conversion, which consists of grafted and fabricated door skins, fenders, cowl, headlights and grille, taillights, as well as one-off front and rear sheetmetal bumpers to clean up its appearance. Yeah, that feat is as labor intensive as it sounds, but the product of all that hard work yielded a truly unique outer landscape for a ’97 model. If you didn’t know these components were from a completely later generation truck, you’d think GM had originally built the Tahoe this way.

Recently, Jack Frith of Fiction Fabrication in Bakersfield, California, added to the Tahoe’s list of all-star mods with a set of front custom bead rolled wheel tubs. These babies gave the engine bay that touch of class it was lacking, that would soon be embellished upon in due time.

Frankie takes great pride in his truck, and for good reason. Even though there is an impressive list of contributors who have made the Tahoe what it truly is, he did put in his fair share of hard work.

“Not having the convenience of a big shop, my truck was primarily built, body-worked and prepped at home in my backyard,” Frankie says about the process.

It was the following phase of the truck’s rebuild that he became particularly involved in. Having prepared the truck for paint, Frankie handed the stage over to Juan Acosta, who is also a Santa Maria resident, to wield the spray gun.

A newer GM paint color from 2011, Corvette Jetstream was selected to cover the Tahoe’s exterior surface. The premium hue suits the low-slung, expertly massaged exterior perfectly, and to capitalize on the solid color, detailed paint patterns were added to the front wheel tubs, inside the rear barn doors, as well as the air compressor to tie the loose theme together.

Dan’s Upholstery, another local Santa Maria shop, jumped aboard to do their part to transform the Tahoe’s interior. Gray leather skins with stripe inserts now cover both the front and rear bench seats for the whole Acuna family to enjoy, and a Billet Specialties steering wheel was brought in to jazz up the truck’s driving experience. To give the truck ultimate road trip sing-a-long abilities, an entire audio system was assembled and installed inside the cabin. Multiple amplifiers power an orchestration of speakers and subwoofers that are all controlled by an iPad that has cleverly been positioned in the dash for ease of reach.

In just 14 months, Frankie’s project truck was wrapped up and complete. Car shows and cruises are most definitely in the future, as are days spent washing, cleaning and caring for the Tahoe as a proud, happy family.

“I would not change a thing,” Frankie says about the final outcome of his classic Chevy two-door. “Myself, my wife and kids are all thrilled with how the truck came out, and we can’t wait to drive it to our next destination.”

With two stops already in the books, (Street Trucks Showoff Series show in Sacramento and the Mini Truck Showdown in Las Vegas) Frankie and his crew are looking forward to their next custom event. Until then, weekend trips around town will surely keep them occupied in the meantime. Two-door Tahoes don’t pop up all too often these days, especially ones that looks this good. If you’re lucky enough to catch it in person, enjoy the time you’ll spend taking in its unique charm—there’s a lot to appreciate with this build.

TRUCK SPECS

 Owner 

Frankie Acuna
Santa Maria, CA
1997 Chevrolet Tahoe
Acrophobia 

Engine

  • 1997 Chevrolet 5.7L Vortec V-8
  • K&N filter and cold air intake system
  • Headers and Flowmaster exhaust

Chassis 

  • Shop: Frame modification by Art Gomez @ GO-EZ Customs
  • Tubular upper and lower control arms
  • Monroe shocks
  • Custom back-half frame w/ triangulated 4-link
  • Front suspension 6-lug conversion from ’98 Chevy half ton
  • ’01 Suburban disc brake rear end narrowed 6-inch per side
  • 1997 Monster Transmission w/ shift kit / Corvette servo

Wheels/Tires 

  • 26×9 and 26×12 Intro Vista 2 billet wheels
  • 295/30R26 and 305/30R26 tires

Brakes 

  • Stock ’98 Chevy pickup front and rear ’01 Suburban disc brakes
  • Hydroboost brake conversion

Exterior 

  • Shop: Exterior paint by Juan Acosta/Sergio, interior by Jesse Alarcon
  • Bodywork and prep by Frankie Acuna
  • 2011 Corvette Jetstream Blue pearl paint w/ additional pearls added
  • Billet grille / matching SS vent grilles
  • Grant Kustomz one-off, handmade sheetmetal front and rear bumpers
  • Custom bead rolled front wheel tubs by Jack Frith
  • ’05 Silverado taillights
  • ’05 SS body conversion completed by Bob Grant
  • Grafted and fabricated door skins, fenders, cowl, rear door skins, molded rear bumper
  • 40×80-inch Legacy Products sliding ragtop

Interior 

  • Shop: Dan’s Upholstery, Santa Maria, CA
  • Shop: Stereo by Juan Diaz and Victor Estrada @ JV Customs, Santa Maria, CA
  • Chevy truck bench front and rear
  • Grey leather w/ stripe insert upholstery
  • Billet Specialties Anthem steering wheel
  • iPad Pro 4th Gen used as head unit, molded in dash
  • Sony DSP amp runs stereo system
  • DB Drive amp running (4) DB Drive WDX 6.5-inch G2.4 subwoofers
  • Custom speaker enclosure design

 

 

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