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2004 Chevy Extreme Motorsports-built

Posted in Features on October 27, 2016
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Austin Lessel 
is a fabricator, which means that he’s fastidious in his work. It also means that he has high standards and knows good work when he sees it. That was why when he saw this Extreme Motorsports-built 2004 Chevy, and knew of EM’s attention to detail, he bought it and set about adding his take to those details.

A 2004 Chevy 1500 was a perfect design to dirty up

Built initially by Gary Graham at Extreme Motorsports, this Chevy has seen a plethora of upgrades. First, they enhanced the stock frame with a full, front to back cage. Made from 2-inch Chromoly, changes include a tube chassis back half and full cab protection. A Safe fuel cell resides in the back half section, beneath the spare tires.

Extreme Motorsports used 2-inch Chromoly to build everything from the front bumper/skidplate to the tube chassis back half and full cab protection. A Safe fuel cell resides in the back half section, beneath the spare tires

For suspension, a Mazzulla Long Travel Race front system, including Mazzulla spindles and race hubs was installed. A pair of Fox shocks (2.5 coil overs with Eibach springs and a Fox 2.5 bypass) themselves pair up with a King 2.5 bump stop. A Wilwood braking system attaches to the Mazzulla spindles to which KMC Enduro Beadlocks have been equipped with 37-inch BFG KR2’s have been installed. That race proven pairing can be found on all four corners. All of which totals up to a solid 18-inches of front wheel travel.

Twenty four inches of rear wheel travel requires control, so Fox is the shock of choice as Eibach springs-equipped 2.5 coil overs pair with Fox 3.0 Bypass shocks to keep the back end planted
As tough a combo as they come, a 37-inch Baja KR2 tire mounted on a Method Enduro wheel. The red beadlock ring is a nice touch
The rear suspension utilizes a set of Fabrication Unlimited arms and 4-link kit

Totaling 24-inches of rear wheel travel, the rear suspension utilizes a set of Fabrication Unlimited arms and 4-link kit nestles the Tubeworks full floater 9-inch. It’s spooled and has been equipped with 5.13 gears, which was done by Alec Navarro at Fearless Gear. A set of Pro Am 2.5 hubs and Wilwood disc brakes end off the impressive set up. Fox again is the shock of choice as Eibach equipped 2.5 coil overs, but this time they pair with Fox 3.0 Bypass shocks. Propulsion is thanks to the 5.3 Chevy Vortec that has seen the usual trio or performance upgrades: a K&N air cleaner, a set of Pace Setter long tube headers with Magnaflow stainless mufflers, and a custom tune, this one by Jay Industries. With an estimated 300 horsepower and plans to use every one of them, Lessel built up the 4l60E transmission and keeps it cool with a CBR Trans cooler and electric fan.

Spooled and equipped with 5.13 gears and a set of Pro Am 2.5 hubs, the Tubeworks full floater 9-inch is a beast. Set up was done by Alec Navarro at Fearless Gear
Production power is fine if helped, so a Jay Industries tune along with a K&N air filter, a set of Pacesetter headers and Magnaflow mufflers gives the Vortec its best chance to roar

The body, at least the vibrant red paint, is different nowadays. Giving the tires some room is done with Fiberwerx front fenders and Hannemann bedsides. One nice “little things add up” of this truck was the careful cutting of the bedsides to circle around the bed-mounted twin BFG/Method spares. We like stuff like that for a couple of reasons. First, it looks trick, but it also shows the kind of attention to detail was probably taken on the rest of the truck too.

PhotosView Slideshow

A host of Baja Designs LED’s can be found on the Chevy. One is a yellow 30-inch OnX6 hiding behind the grille, while a pair of squadron pros peek out from the back of the rear bumper. There are a few BD LED’s used as interior lights.

Thirty inches of Baja Designs OnX6 shines through the stock grille

Speaking of which, this interior is dominated by the Extreme Motorsports cage. It’s integrated into everything, and the PRP seats, all four of them, have been mounted to it. A set of Crow harnesses keeps everyone in their places while the stock A/C keeps everyone cool. The stock dash and steering wheel were retained, though the stock tunes were replaced with a Sony touch screen stereo that utilizes the stock speakers but upgraded with the addition of a 15-inch Kicker sub woofer.

The Extreme Motorsports cage snakes its way through the interior leaving just enough room for the PRP seats, through which snake the Crow harnesses
Extreme is the right word for the intricacies of the EM cage. It’s hard not to feel safe in an assembly like this

Little things adding up in the interior too, as a SPOD switch box controls the lights and fans, a Mob Armor GPS enclosure and phone mounts securely connects them to the cage while the iCom IC-V8000 radio connects Lessel to his buddies.

A Mob Armor GPS enclosure and phone mounts are cage mounted while additions to the stock dash include a SPOD switch box and an iCom IC-V8000 radio. The stock radio is gone though, and a Sony touch screen stereo that utilizes the stock speakers but with the addition of a 15-inch Kicker sub woofer, now calls the tunes

This Chevy proves that older trucks equipped with killer suspension and the rest of the accessories make great pre-runners. They can be had for reasonable prices and made to drive like a full on race vehicle of not too many years ago. And it proves that looking out for a good deal on a used pre-runner makes good sense.

And it’s red! No joke; now everyone’s building white, black or dark grey pre runners, so shooting a red truck was ironically a thrill. We say ironically because a few years ago there was nothing but red trucks, and we were always joking about doing a red truck issue. What’s that have to do with this killer Chevy? Nothing. Just a test to see if you’re still actually reading this far down the caption list. If so, email me at and I’ll send you some stickers


MagnaFlow Performance Exhaust
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688
K&N Engineering
Riverside, CA 92507
Fox Racing Shox
Watsonville, CA 95076
Baja Designs
San Marcos, CA 92069
Hannemann Fiberglass Inc.
Azusa, CA 91702
Fiberwerx Offroad Fiberglass
Santee, CA 92071
Wilwood Brakes
Camarillo, CA 93012
Method Race Wheels
Icom America
King Off-Road Racing Shocks
Garden Grove, CA 92843
Extreme Motorsports
CBR Performance
Mazzulla Offroad
Pacesetter Exhaust

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