August 24, 2006
Camilla-- It doesn't make sense to many people. Why someone would take an ordinary pick-up truck and spend thousands of dollars just to see how low it will go to the ground? The answer makes sense, surprisingly.
Many young people might think they live in a partial isolation chamber, especially if they live in a small town America. About all they can do is work, or get into trouble. Perhaps, develop a bad habit. "I would consider myself a workaholic sometimes," says Chase Shiver, from a paint booth at a local body shop.
A very mature 23, Chase does quite well financially, painting repaired vehicles and parts. After work, his life really starts when it cranks his truck that rises to the occasion. What sounds like three bullets firing is the sound of compressed air filling bags that lift the frame a few inches off the ground.
The truck doesn't have a dash, and a little piece of plastic holds the engine's computer off the floor. But, beauty is only dash deep. "It makes some pretty good racket," says Chase as he hears the low, thundering sound of his truck's engine.
No doubt, music to his ears, but why would he spend about $16,000 to modify a truck and not have a dash? "Now, you're sounding like my daddy," says Chase with a grin.
But his reason for spending so much money makes sense. "Everybody's got their own little thing," says Chase, and that little thing could involve fishing and hunting for many people. For Chase, it involves building special trucks.
Street legal trucks called low riders seem more like earthmovers, because they sit so close to the pavement.
After he finishes his day job, Chase works in his own shop in nearby Pelham, where he takes plain, impersonal, utilitarian trucks with no personality, strips them to almost nothing and outfits them for show business, performing his magic, turning them into something extraordinary. "I see the beauty in the beast," says Chase, who works on one of four trucks in various stages of modification in his garage.
A frame sits in one area. The front of a truck sits in another area. And a completed truck sits in an adjoining room. To reveal the beauty takes time, hundreds of hours of time, as he strives for perfection. "Yeah, in a way," says Chase, a self-taught truck modifier, known on the street as a fabricator.
"That's the truck I learned on. My dad gave it to me," says Chase, pointing to an orange truck that has part of the dash missing, with a light green plastic box sitting on the driver's side with about 10 toggle switches mounted on it. A truck he loves so much that he never intends to sell it. "I'm proud of it," says Chase.
And proud of his national recognition. Several magazines featured his work. People from California to Florida know his creations. "That's getting my name out there," says Chase.
A good name because of his high quality work ethic. "You could say an obsession," says Chase. And, his special truck- the one he learned on, still has plenty of life. He pushes a switch on the plastic box and the orange trucks springs to life-- literally. It bounces in place with the front tires jumping completely off the concrete shop floor.
All because of an obsession that makes sense when you get the lowdown on it. Chase takes great pride in the fact that he spends his own, hard earned money for parts.