Freddy Pena, co-owner of Bowtie South in Miami, got into the custom car and truck business almost by accident. An active automotive enthusiast from an early age, Freddy was often disappointed when the various shops in town could not deliver the level of quality he was looking for.
As an alternative, he simply began building his own. The quality and innovation found in his personal vehicles was so unique that others noticed. In fact, his last car attracted a potential customer who asked Freddy to build one for him. He declined the first request, but by the time he received the third, Freddy gave it some thought and decided to pursue the option. That car turned out beautifully, and Freddy could see the potential in a whole new career. He soon teamed up with his good friend and experienced car builder Mike Gonzales, and the pair formed Bowtie South and began turning out high-end vehicles. Word of mouth was effective, and before long, they began attracting a celebrity clientele. Now, Bowtie South builds six to eight vehicles a year, with its latest being this ’08 Kodiak 4500.
With several well-known football players on their list, Freddy and Mike learned early that bigger was better. One of the very first modifications to the Kodiak was cutting the truck in half and converting the four-door crew cab into a six-door mega cab. Using a jig that held the front and rear in precise alignment, they fabricated new framerails and welded in a new cab section. As a result, the rig has room for a half dozen team players to ride in comfort.
The Kodiak was already wide from the factory and now that it was really long, the next dimension needing a special touch was the stance. The truck uses an air suspension system that began with removing the original factory leaf springs up front and replacing them with Slam Specialties 4200 airbags. Twin Rancho shock absorbers stabilize each front wheel. The rear was C-notched for clearance, and after repositioning the mounting brackets, the original factory airbags were incorporated into the new system. A pair of Viair 450 compressors, two 5-gallon reserve tanks, and ½-inch lines ensure quick response. At the touch of a button, the driver can lower the profile of the truck while retaining the Kodiak’s heavy-duty towing capacity. The twin compressors were also called into play for the pair of train horns mounted underneath—the perfect tool to clear slower traffic from Miami’s heavily traveled Palmetto Expressway.
The 6.6L Duramax motor, equipped...
The 6.6L Duramax motor, equipped with a performance chip and custom exhaust, is teamed up with an Allison five-speed automatic transmission.
From a styling standpoint, there are lots of body mods. Up front, the duo used two Kodiak front bumpers, sectioning each of them and welding them together to create a lower bumper that better fit the scale of the truck. The unique headlights are from a Range Rover Sport and are a perfect fit. The original ram-air scoop on the hood was modified, and while the factory grille opening was retained, it was equipped with a custom mesh package. Handgrips on the original hood seemed out of place, so they were welded shut to create a smoother appearance. Mike also eliminated the bulky factory turn signals on the front fenders and replaced them with subtle units inside the grille. Stock side mirrors were retained because the big truck is still a working vehicle.