Fair Warning: If you’re not into things like multi-generational family success via hard work, bad-ass lifted trucks, or the honest-to-goodness American heroes that love them, this may not be the story for you. The Kardashians welcomed some new babies recently. There’s a video of a rat taking a shower that’s all over the internet. Fitness bloggers believe that cauliflower is the new kale. Maybe go seek out some of that…
A Family Affair
Still here? Good. Cheney Tire has been a staple business in Watertown, New York since the 1940s. Tom Cheney’s father started running a gas station in 1949 in upstate New York. And in 1954, he moved (just a little ways up the road) to open a two-bay Gulf station. In the decades that followed, Tom and his brother have gradually expanded their father’s business into a local aftermarket empire. Today, Cheney Tire sells popular tires from all the major manufacturers (Firestone, Michelin, Mickey Thompson, and Toyo, just to name a few). However, Cheney is not just a tire shop. Custom wheels and accessories, roadside commercial service, and even lawn and garden equipment sales are just a few things that locals have depended on the Cheney family for since, well, since the Eisenhower Administration. And of course, an area where they really shine is in the suspension and lift kit world.
Lifted rides may seem like a relatively new phenomenon, but Cheney Tire owner Tom Cheney has been at this game for quite awhile. “We actually started messing around with lift kits in the late ’70s,” Cheney tells us. “I built my own for a 1975 Blazer…got longer shackles and springs and hangers and got started way back then.”
And then things really caught on. Cheney became renowned for these jobs, and the arm of the business that handles them now goes by the name of “Nasty North Offroad”. Word spread by mouth across the area (the BEST form of advertising, by the way) about the quality work Nasty North does, including to a local military base. And eventually, to a young soldier who had a vision for just how beastly his 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 could eventually be.
We Salute a Special Build
“We did a lot of his brothers-in-arms’ vehicles,” says Joel Kinne, a salesman at Cheney. “They were the ones who told him, ‘Go down to Cheney Tire, they’ll make ya’ look good.’ So we made him look really good, with a six-inch suspension lift and some 37 inch tires.”
A great many build stories would end happily right here, with a boss pickup riding 37s high off into the sunset. Turns out, this truck’s story is just beginning. “He wanted to go even bigger, and give it more power,” Kinne recalls. “We just went from there with it.” The basis for that “more power” Kinne mentions? It comes courtesy of an Edelbrock Supercharger. “He came back in looking for a headlight,” Kinne chuckles, “and I ended up selling him a supercharger.”
Even Bigger, Even Badder
And the momentum of this build only multiplied. A 3″ body lift was added to complement the BDS suspension lift, adding up to a towering nine inches altogether. Those 37″ tires were stepped up to 38″ Mickey Thompson MTZs and wrapped around 20”x12” XD 825 wheels. The owner decided not to enhance the Silverado’s current fender flares to accommodate the new, massive wheel situation. And Kinne has a hypothesis about that. “There are no fender laws in the state of New York. He wanted them to stick out and look pretty crazy.” A Flowmaster Outlaw exhaust system was installed, and a Cannon intake was mated to the bolt-on Edelbrock. “We didn’t do much on the exterior, except for make this thing look big and bad.” Can’t argue with Kinne there.
When all was said and done, over forty man hours were invested in this aggressive build, as well as an estimated $25,000 in aftermarket parts. What did the young soldier who footed the bill think about that? Well worth it for such a quality job. And he intends to drive it regularly…. when he gets home, that is. He couldn’t be reached for comment, as he’s recently redeployed overseas. But one thing is for certain, he has one hell of a ride waiting for him when he gets home.
Apple Pie And Chevrolet
So, just to recap: we’ve got a family business with almost seven decades serving their community. We have a gorgeous, Detroit monster with a supercharger and a 9″ lift. And we have a bona fide American hero, protecting the nation’s freedom abroad who can’t wait to come home and drive it. The only way this could be more American is if the fellas at Cheney install a bald eagle nest in the glove compartment. Cheney has released no comment on that thus far, but who knows? It seems like Nasty North can do it all.