By Larry Edsall
Bentley doesn’t build a pickup truck. But what if it did?
Gregg Ovist of Phoenix did more than ponder that question. He set out to build the pickup truck the luxury automaker doesn’t, or at least his idea of what a Bentley buyer might want in a vehicle that can tow and carry more than junk in the trunk.
Ovist has been building custom vehicles for several years, and several of have been displayed at the SEMA Show. This year, Ovist decided to build and show his own vehicle: a 2006 Chevrolet Silverado crew cab with some 180,000 miles on the odometer.
Ovist likes his truck so much that when he began working on the SEMA build 14 months ago, he went out and found another just like it to drive in the meantime. We say meantime because after the SEMA Show and a few other special appearances scheduled for the truck, Ovist plans to use it on a daily basis once again.
Unlike the typical SEMA pickup truck — with a lift kit and an array of video screens in the cabin and gigantic speakers in the bed — Ovist wanted his truck to be a luxury vehicle. Instead of big subwoofers, he opted to mount iPads in the truck’s interior, and he even got Verizon Wireless to provide the tablets and to sponsor the build. It is believed to be the first time the telecommunications company has been involved in such a project.
The iPads share the truck’s interior with black leather seating fro Roadwire, LED lighting and even the big multipanel sunroof normally found atop a Mercedes-Benz S550 sedan.
To turn a Chevy into a Bentley, Ovist had the truck’s paint removed and the bumpers dechromed. He shaved the taillamps, replacing them with a red LED brake-light bar that runs the full width of the tailgate, just below the gate’s base.
He switched out the rear backlight to avoid the defroster lines and used bed caps off another pickup to smooth the top edges of the Silverado’s bed.
What Ovist calls “Bentley Blue” paint was mixed, and he used a pair of Bentley grilles, one for the standard grille opening and the other for the lower openings.
Perhaps the only non-Bentley aspect of the build are the 26-inch wheels that another sponsor supplied for the project.
To make the Silverado run more like a Bentley, an intercooled turbocharger provides a boost for the small-block Chevy V-8.
Helping Ovist with the project were Luis Miranda, a paint specialist, and Andy Gulick, whose House of Sound does audio installations for customers that include several pro athletes, many of them baseball players who come to Phoenix for spring training.