The Art of Lowering Trucks, Cars, and Building Hot Rods!
Lance Garcia, from the Wichita Kansas area, likes to play with cars. Which is like saying Willie Nelson doesn’t like to pay taxes. Lance and his sons have a nice garage. Which is to say they have a shop, a really nice shop. The Garcia gang have been building cars and trucks mostly for fun and little profit for quite awhile. Since he was a kid himself Lance has been modifying cars and trucks. It became a profession, then drifted back to a hobby, and now his sons have got into the act. Together the father/sons team have built everything from a 1929 Dodge hot rod to the latest trucks and SUV’s. There just some guys fooling around in the “garage”. Lets see what they’ve been foolin with lately.
Lowering a 1994 Ford Lighting
We start off with a 1994 Ford Lightning. This was the first year they were available in factory white. In fact the first Lightnings introduced in 1993 were only offered in red or black (Henry Ford made the “Model T” available in any color as long as it was black in 1908). In 1994 white was added and this first generation Lightning was produced until 1995. Ford said they produced a total of 11,563 of these first generation Lightnings. This is the model Lightning “Trucks” TV show used in their “Muscle Trux” episodes. (Still available on iTunes as a download). Like the television project truck, Lance and the gang used a DJM Suspension Dream Beam drop kit to get a 3” front and 4” DJM rear drop. Lightnings come from the factory with a 1”drop in the front and a 2.5” drop in the rear compared to a “normal” F-150, so the DJM kit really gives it an aggressive stance. They replaced the Monroe GP shocks with Calmax SuperShox to finish the handling/suspension upgrade. Its still sporting the factory Lightning 17 X 8” alloy wheels, springs front and rear, in fact it is all factory Lightning stuff except the supercharger. The Eaton OEM “roots type” blower was replaced with a Vortech V-2 centrifugal supercharger/inter-cooler system which picked up about a hundred horsey’s at the rear end. Still has the chain driven overhead cams in aluminum heads, tuned dual exhaust and the little lightning bolts that tell you this is a special truck.
If your looking for a performance truck without spending like congress check out used Lightnings. The Kelly Blue Book on a 1994 Lightning in average condition is about $5000.00. That’s not a bad price for a restoration project that would haul A**. A 2004 gen 2 lighting blue books for about $19,000.00, still much cheaper and faster than new. Or check out eBay. At post time there were several Lightnings ranging in price from $5600 to $34,000.00.
Lowering a Old’s Custom Cruiser
Wagons were born in the 20’s as “depot hacks”. They worked around trains (depot) as people/luggage movers (hacks), everyone traveled by train then and needed a car to comfortably carry people and their luggage between home and the train station. They were also called “carryalls” and “suburbans” as well as “station wagons” station as in train, and wagon as in people mover. Wagons don’t get much respect today but who would pass on a restored Nomad? Chevy actually made a 1961 Corvair Station Wagon, a 63 Dodge 440 wagon or a Ford Country Squire could be restored to a very cool ride. And they don’t have to be ancient to be affordable, and cool. Ask Jay Leno, he has a 91 Old’s Custom Cruiser just like Lance. (Just Google “Jay Leno Custom Cruiser” ) It is unclear which one built theirs first, I guess it doesn’t matter.
Lance added a cats – eye grill with a billet insert and the Halibrand “kidney Bean” wheels. Oldsmobile gave these cars great styling, a sleek, modern hot rod look and a very cool sun visor/sun roof (like the 70’s Olds Vista Cruiser wagons). He installed DJM Sport Springs to get a lowered stance and Calmax SuperShox to complete the performance suspension drop. The Custom Cruisers came from the factory with full leather interiors, power everything, and a 350 V8 that gets great gas mileage according to Lance. This baby is a great daily driver and gets 20+mpg on the road and Lance gets a-lot of compliments when he out and about. Station Wagons were beat out by mini-vans back in the 80’s to 90’s but before they lost their preferred family mover position to those little vans, they spawned the four wheel drive SUV phase with Audi Quattros, AMC Eagles, and Subaru wagons. I think even Honda got in on the act with a all wheel drive wagon model. Today, vans have become “mom-mobiles”, SUV’s still rule, but the style conscious seem to moving back towards wagon like vehicles. Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Volvo, Subaru all have wagon styled vehicles in their stables. Anyone seen a customized Dodge Magnum lately?
1929 Dodge Hot Rod
Every guy should have a hot rod to play with. That’s what Lance said when I asked him about this 1929 Dodge rod he built. “This old thing is cool” he says, we started with a chassis and a body, and replaced all most everything else. A Chevy 350 engine coupled to a turbo 350 transmission makes this old rod go, and four wheel disc brakes make her stop. The disc brakes are the result of using a 6” dropped straight axle that had disc brakes on the front and a 1976 Lincoln Versailles rear end. The Lincoln rear end is a very popular way to put disc brakes on the rear of classic Mustangs, and worked sweet on the 29 Dodge. You can also find disc brake axles on many of the 75-79 Granadas, and some Monarchs. An Ididit steering column replaced the original 1929 mechanism. The guys handmade the trunk lid and roll pan, and had the interior done locally by Mike’s Custom Upholstery. Every guy should have a hot rod indeed!
Dropping a 1967 Ford F-100
How about a 1967 Ford F-100? Blue Oval enthusiast’s are gonna love what Lance has done with this 67 “Effie! This body style was in production from 1967 through 1972. While Chevy was going with a rounder sleeker style Ford went angular and more muscular. These trucks look tough! The guys louvered the hood, found a very straight grill from another truck and gave this F-100 a brand new white on powder blue paint job. In 1965 Ford introduced the F100 Ranger with “Twin I-Beam suspensions and produced these pick ups until 1996. They are becoming very popular for resto projects as more and more parts are available to you for restoration. Lance wanted his F100 to be lower and faster than any one else, handle great, and look cool, here’s what he did! To go fast they yanked the factory power and replaced it with a 1994 Mustang GT 5.0 Liter engine. They also replaced the original GT fuel system with an Edlelbrock Carburetor and intake manifold. This was married to a Ford C-6 transmission to get the power back to the rear wheels. They replaced the original Ford steering column with a Ididit column kit,and had Mikes Upholstery spruce up the interior. But how did Lance get it so low? For years it was a heavily guarded secret with national security implications, but now the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires Lance to divulge his secret.
Because he likes to go fast and Lance is a smart guy, whenever he does serious suspension modification he always ends up with disc brakes front and rear. Well he did it again with this 67 F100. The front end is setting on a 1974 Ford LTD front clip grafted into the F100, and the rear is a combination 1996 Explorer axle with Suburban leaf springs. This totally “custom/ factory” parts suspension has allowed Lance to have disc brakes all the way around, a very cool lowered stance and a suspension which he can cruise to the nearest auto parts store for replacement parts. A very smart way to modify vehicles.
A Lowered 1999 Chevy Silverado
Everybody knows the most popular platform to customize has been the Chevy Silverado. The 1963 and up trucks have been the choice for most of you, and the amount of parts to customize with for these trucks is almost unbelievable. The Garcia’s are no different, they have run a few chevy’s through their shop, and here is a 1999 Silverado that came in stock and left with a DJM 4/6 Calmax drop kit, Flowmaster exhaust, and a Billet Grill insert.
A Garage Full of Lowered and Customized Trucks and Cars
The Silverado is a great first truck project. There is so much helpful tech information and so many great parts that you can start with simple customizing and keep adding to it until you find yourself with a complete “one off” project truck. You don’t need to make parts from other vehicles fit or fabricate your own like Lance and his boys have done. But if you play with these trucks long enough you may find yourself in a garage somewhere trying to figure out how your going to make this fit that. You might end up with a fleet of projects and ideas and just not enough time to work them all out.