At the age of 14, Brad Nelson, worked his ass off washing dishes in a local restaurant to buy his first car. A 1978 Chevy Nova with a tired 305 and 2bbl carburetor. His father wouldn’t let me build a 350 for it until the 305 was done, so with a goal in mind, Brad took the opportunity to end the 305 with a “mysterious” oil leak that starved the engine of all lubrication. Grade 11 shop class allowed him to build a 350 with 305 heads and flat top pistons waking up the old Nova and finally being able to burn some rubber.
Well over 40 vehicles later, brings us to this two door, two wheel drive, two tone Tahoe. Friend, Devon Wall of Forbidden Fantasy Canada reached out to Brad to let him know that the Tahoe was up for sale. The timing was perfect because Brad had just sold his 1980 GMC Jimmy project that was looking like it was over his head but funny enough, the Tahoe snowballed into a huge project itself but was well worth it.
The entire chassis and suspension were built in the backyard shop owned by Rich Shewchuk at the inception of Overkill Customs when the convenience of modern lifts and equipment wasn’t as accessible. They even had to use an engine hoist and saw horses to lift the cab on and off the chassis. There was never an issue but it would have been stressful.
The drivetrain is mostly original including the 5.7L Vortec and 4L60E transmission but to help the factory power plant breathe the exhaust consists of Flowtech shorty headers, true dual 2.5” mandrel bent stainless steel exhaust tubing into two Pypes M80 mufflers and finally exiting through a pair of stainless steel 2.5” turn down exhaust tips. The rear end has Dutchmen axles that have been narrowed 5” to allow for wider wheels out back.
The chassis has been powder coated with custom upper and lower control arms and Belltech drop spindles. The rear has a custom triangulated 3 link with Airlift bags and Belltech Nitro drop shocks. The air ride has a Accuair VU4 manifold, Accuair R10 ECU, Accuair Endo-T 5 gallon tank, dual stealth black Viair 444 compressors with AVS digital gauges, all managed by an Accuair E-Level system.
The wheels and tires that keep the hoe moving are a staggered set of 20”/22” US Mag Ramblers. Lexani LX-Seven supplies the rubber to the pavement which consists of 255/35R20 in the front and 305/30R22 in the rear. Setting off the wheels is a two tone Chrysler Metallic Graphite paint on the bottom and a sleek GM Onyx Black paint on top. The factory radio antenna was shaved, and a vivid blue pinstripe was applied to tastefully separate the two tone body line. A weld in roll pan was the choice for the rear bumper. In addition, the LED taillights & front side marker lights were wet smoked and wet sanded by Steve McLean of Federal County Customs.
The 1996 Tahoe also has all six windows tinted to keep the general public & law enforcement guessing (45% on the windshield, 20% on the front sides and 5% on the rear).
The interior from the rear bench seat forward retains its factory grey leather upholstery aside from a custom center console built by Chad Doucet which houses the Accuair touchpad controller, (4) cupholders and USB ports for charging purposes. Additionally, the rear subwoofer enclosure, side panels and speaker pods were all custom built by Chad Doucet using wood and covered in Katzskin grey vinyl.
The stereo was also installed by Chad Doucet and consists of (2) 10” 750W RMS Alpine Type-R Subwoofers, (2) JL Audio JX 1000D 2CH Amplifiers, (1) JL Audio RD 400/4 Amplifier, (2) Kenwood Excelon 6.5” midrange coaxial speakers, (2) Kicker 6.5” midrange coaxial speakers, (2) 5.25” Kenwood speakers all controlled through a Kenwood DDX774BH Double Din Head Unit. Blue LED lighting was also installed throughout the interior of the cabin and provides plenty of feature backlight. Fun fact, over 100sq/ft of Kilmat was used for sound deadening purposes and was installed on every inch of the interior (floor, doors, roof etc).
Brad hopes to finish of the interior by having the seats recovered and then possibly swapping in a 6.0L LS and 4L80e. Until then, Brad loves to give it “the miles she deserves” and drives it as much as he can in the summer months. His favorite shows are Street Machine Weekend in Lethbridge, Summer Heat Weekend in Saskatoon and the Radium Show and Shine to finish the show season off. He also tries to attend smaller local gatherings to show support to those who make this hobby/passion possible.
“Following a battle with Hodgkin Lymphoma Cancer, in 2013 I bought my first bagged truck from a guy who lived in Tennessee (this truck is actually still in the club and fellow club member Dean Fox currently owns it). Once I had the truck shipped to Canada, I approached Kyle Pashulka and Richard Horrill, to see if they were interested in potentially starting an Aftermath Canada Chapter. It was in the summer of 2014 when we were given the green light to start the Aftermath Canada chapter! Currently the Canadian Chapter has 11 fully logo’d members and we continue to focus on quality over quantity, both in personalities and vehicles!” Says Brad.
“I would not be here nor enjoy this hobby as much as I do had it not been for friends and family that make up the Aftermath Canada Chapter!! Chad/Lesley Doucet, Rich Horrill, Steve/Whit McLean, Spencer/Mikayla Wiedman, Dean Fox, Kyle/Alex Pashulka, Adam Boroweiki, Josh/Lisa Rieger, Brennan Boxall, Chris Dosuto and Matt Keetley. Additionally, I have made lifelong friendships in the car/truck scene with so many fellow gearheads but a huge shout out goes to Rich, Jilly, Preston and Jordyn Shewchuk of Forbidden Fantasy Canada! That being said, I have to recognize multiple friends that I’ve made along the way from clubs such as Severed Ties, Forbidden Fantasy, Dropsicles and many more. These types of friendships are those that last a lifetime. Last but not least, I’d like to give a big shout out to my wife Keri, as she has always been a huge supporter of this passion/hobby of mine.” Says Brad.
Find more about Brad and his ride @aftermath_brad on Instagram.
Article: Brian Holzli
Photography: Travis Roe (TDR Photography)