We can all relate to the ebb and flow of an ongoing truck project. Some days all of the parts fit just right and other days the truck stops running for an unknown reason. It's a rite of passage many of us in the custom world endure and it creates a lasting bond of scars, calluses, and empty wallets. Leo “Nano” Vidal of Houston, understands that creating a dream truck is a marathon not a sprint. Modifying his '01 Silverado started like so many of us—just a hobby with some little upgrades here and there. Once he was introduced to the Texas truck club Ground Zero, Nano opened up his wallet and started going crazy. The hard work and money spent resulted in a clean cruiser with more than 500 hp, a slammed suspension, and an interior swathed in leather. This is the story of how it got here.

Armando Noriega of Mando's Drop Shop, in Houston, was responsible for getting the Silverado's frame acquainted with the Texas pavement. Using Belltech drop spindles, Firestone 'bags, and 1/2-inch copper air line, the front end now sits nice and low. Out back, a traditional two-link, step notch, and Firestone airbags help the frame kiss the asphalt. Picking up a set of one-off 22-inch Centerline wheels from Carmen Robles of Big Wheels 'R' Us, Nano had Pistolero's Paint and Design spray the centers for a truly unique look. Attention to detail is extensive, going as far as painting the nitrogen air tanks with gold leaf and pinstriping.

With the stance and wheel and tire combo nailed, it was time to focus on making the body look the part of a real Lone Star State cruiser. Jose Mendoza at Pistolero's Paint and Design, also in Houston, handled getting the body ready for its close-up. Before applying any paint, Jose added a Suburban front grille and lights, a Silverado HD hood, and welded in a Sir Michael's roll pan with 12-inch LED strips from AVS. Filling his paint gun with House of Kolor Kandy Root Beer, Jose coated the lower half and then covered the top section in House of Kolor Pewter. A House of Kolor Tangerine divider breaks up into two pigments and provides the perfect palette for Jose to apply a yellow pinstripe, sponged graphics, and an airbrushed Aztec warrior on the tailgate. Capping things off, a SnugTop tonneau was added, HID bulbs inserted into the clear headlights, and Escalade chrome door handles replaced the black plastic pieces.

Texas trucks require big horsepower and Nano's Chevy has that custom box checked by way of a 6.0L built by Craig Caulk at Craig Caulk Racing Heads in South Houston. Adding ported LS1 heads, a big Comp camshaft, and custom ECU tune by Tellez Motorsports, the V-8 now pumps out 496 hp. Several pieces under the hood were painted candy root beer to match the body. Dima Wheels machined billet caps for the oil, master cylinder, and radiator.

The real star of Nano's Chevy appears once the extended-cab doors are fully opened. Without the B-pillar in place, you get an unobstructed view of Arjona Upholstery's craftsmanship. Covering the seats, lower dash, and massive sub box in canyon Ultra leather, Arjona's made the interior both elegant and custom. The painted dash houses a Dima custom-cut steering wheel, billet knobs, and a custom-embroidered Ground Zero logo covering the passenger-side airbag. Black carpet serves as the backdrop to the leather, but nothing can overshadow the sub enclosure fabricated by Roland Longoria of Audio Trend Setters in San Antonio. The giant sub box is home to four 12-inch Alpine subs and a billet Ground Zero logo. Two 1,000-watt Alpine amps power the subsonic frequencies, while four 6½-inch Alpine components are powered by a separate 600-watt Alpine amp.

During the eight years of transforming the truck, Nano met many new friends along the way and he wanted to send a special thank you out to his wife Doris and his son Lil' Leo. Without question, this Silverado turned into something special.

Inside the Build
Year Make Model: 2001 Chevy Silverado
Owner and City/State: Leo Vidal • Houston, Texas

Engine
Type: 364ci 6.0L V-8
Heads: Ported LS1
Induction: LS1 intake manifold with K&N filter
Cam: Comp Cam 220 duration/.581 lift
Exhaust: Pacesetter long-tube headers with Wicked Flow mufflers
Fuel System: 42-pound injectors
Engine Management: Custom tune by Tellez Motorsports
Output: 496 hp
Built by: Craig Caulk Racing Heads in Houston

Drivetrain
Transmission: 4L65e with 3200-stall converter built by Noe Transmissions
Rearend: 3.73 gears with posi

Chassis
Front suspension: Belltech 2-inch spindles, 2600 Firestone airbags, ½-inch GC valves
Rear suspension: Two-link, Firestone 2600 airbags, C-notch, ½-inch GC valves
Brakes: Painted calipers

Wheels & Tires
Wheels: 22-inch Centerline Lexi 3 wheels custom cut by Dima Wheels
Tires: 265/35R22 Pirelli Scorpion