Let's say it's 2006 and you're in the market for a Corvette. The C6 Z06 has been the talk of the motoring press and you've just got to have one. What's a guy to do? Well the easy route is to drive to your local Chevrolet dealer, try it out, and buy one, and David LaManno, of Thousand Oaks, California, did just that. Well, almost. Dave is not exactly what you'd call petite, at over six and a half feet tall he didn't fit in the 'Vette at the dealership, which was bad for him, but good for all of us Truckin' readers. Not wanting to spend "Shaq money" to modify a performance car for his height, Dave spent months researching performance truck builds using two websites in particular, performancetrucks.net, and silveradoss.com.
After posting questions and getting answers, Dave decided that he was going to build a truck that could out-accelerate a Corvette. Armed with two years of research and with the help of several new friends, Dave bought an '04 Silverado extended cab and began the slow but steady build. The first iteration of Dave's truck included a monotone midnight blue paintjob and a supercharged 5.3L that landed him in the Readers' Rides section of the magazine back in issue #12 of '07. Shortly after he emailed us, he told us what he had planned for his truck. With such lofty ambitions we weren't sure Dave would ever reach his goal, but here it is, true to Dave’s original plan.
The first step in building a sport truck is the suspension, so Dave called upon Trader's Trucks, in Santa Fe Springs, California, to install a Belltech 4/4 drop kit and bolt on a set of one-off 22-inch Pro Wheels that mimic the Z06's wheel design. Wilwood stepped in with a set of its TC6R six-piston 16-inch rotor big brakes that cut stopping distances considerably. You can see that install in last month’s issue. With his new suspension and brakes, Dave could take advantage of his 5.3L's 500hp, but it still wasn't Corvette quick.
You might recognize the interior of Dave's truck, as we showed you the install of the Grant Steering wheel, Auto Meter pillar pods, and overhead gauges in past issues of Truckin'. The gauges in particular have come in handy as they allow Dave to monitor his air/fuel ratio, intake air temp, transmission temp, and dozens of other engine functions. A smoothed and painted dash, suede and leather seats, and a suede headliner take the Chevy's interior upscale, but you won't find much audio equipment inside, as the real music comes from the finely-tuned instrument under the hood. Besides, subs are heavy and Corvettes aren't heavy.
Beginning with a GM Performance Parts LSX iron block bored to 4.125 inches, Rex Horst and Richard Reyman installed a totally forged rotating assembly consisting of an Eagle 4-inch crank, H-beam rods and Wiseco pistons with Ackerly and Childs rings. For those that recognize the numbers, that adds up to 427 cubic inches, the same as a C6 Z06, but Dave had much more in store.
After the bottom end was assembled with Clevite bearings and ARP fasteners, the top end of the engine came together as Richard Reyman at West Coast Cylinder heads used ARP studs to fasten on a pair of Stage 2.5 CNC-ported L92 cylinder heads fitted with titanium valves and Patriot springs. A Comp camshaft was installed with Durabond bearings and was linked to the valve through Cadillac CTS-V roller lifters, hardened pushrods, and CHE Precision-modified roller rockers good for 10,000-rpm. At this point, Dave had the makings for a serious 7.0L V-8, just like a Z06, but the supercharged ZR1 Corvette had just been unleashed on the supercar market, and Dave already had felt the surge or torque that can only come from a supercharger. There was only one solution— a Magnacharger TVS 2300 supercharger, the same one you'll find on a ZR1, was bolted to the long block. However, unlike the ZR1's 10 psi feeding its 6.2L, Dave's 7.0L inhales 15 psi of boost thanks to a carbon-fiber jackshaft that overdrives the supercharger via an ATI 10-rib V-belt drive and Metco idler pulley.
An engine that large consuming air at over twice atmospheric pressure will need a lot of cool air and a lot of fuel to work to its potential, so the Magnuson heat exchanger built into the manifold got some help from an AlkyControl methanol injection system that sprays air directly into the custom Spectre polished aluminum intake. The systems senses boost from the Map sensor and begins to spray methanol at 4 pounds of boost and is progressive to apply more methanol as boost increases. The cooling effect of the alcohol combined with its octane-boosting properties allows for more aggressive ignition timing to fully wring out the horsepower from the engine. The methanol tank replaced the windshield washer fluid tank, but kept the sensor, so when the system is running low, the low washer fluid light on the dash will let Dave know it's time to top it off. The fuel injection also received some reinforcements, as 72lb-per-hour injectors are fed a steady stream of high-pressure fuel through an ingenious fuel system. The stock tank uses a Walbro 225 fuel pump that sends fuel to a 7-gallon surge tank in the rear of the truck. The surge tank uses an Aeromotive Eliminator fuel pump capable of supporting 1,400 hp. Two Aeromotive filters screen fuel for particles down to 10 microns before being sent to the Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator under the hood.
The exhaust side of the engine is handled by Dynatech ceramic-coated long-tube headers that flow into a custom MagnaFlow exhaust plumbed with two Doug's stainless E-cutouts that are electronically controlled from the driver seat. Dave's truck sounds angry as it is, but when the cutouts are opened it sounds like a huge-cammed muscle car. Open or closed, there's no way Dave's fooling anyone into taking this truck for granted.
To ensure that his drivetrain doesn't shatter from all of the power, Performabuilt Transmission assembled a 4L80e heavy-duty transmission with billet and hardened components that are able to withstand abuse. In fact, the transmission is rated at 1,500 hp. A hand TIG-welded Circle D billet pro series stage III torque converter links the transmission to the engine with a Meziere one-piece flexplate, and a built-14-bolt sends the power to the ground with help from a set of Caltrac traction bars.
After the typical last-minute build issues popped up, Dave had the truck running the weekend before the cover shoot and dyno tested the morning and afternoon of the shoot. With just a few hours in tuning the truck was making over 60 0hp at the wheel and is due for more tuning so the engine can reach its full potential of around 1,000 hp. Check out truckinweb.com for the full dyno numbers.
When we asked Dave if he had anything to add to the article he wanted to make sure that we thanked everyone for him. So, aside from those that have already been mentioned, and in no particular order: Alexandra, Dave's wife, was very supportive throughout the build, even though he didn't paint the truck pink. Simon Gale, Brian Zacuto, Julien Maurel, Jesse Powell, Mark Helmandollar, Devin Lalande, Nick Plouffe, Jason Lasalle, and Joe Everett also pitched in with time, advice. He also wanted to mention that trucks, "come and go, but the knowledge, friendships, and the experience will last forever." Dave is already looking forward to his next truck-building adventure, and we hope we can bring you the tech and feature on that build as well.