Much like the butterfly that caused a hurricane, Matt Fitzgerald's '01 Silverado grew from a very small and somewhat innocent encounter. "He pointed and laughed at my truck. I went into work and told my father, 'I will never get embarrassed by another Lightning like that again.'" And with that, it began. What once was a bone-stock Silverado has been transformed into a single-turbo 408-cubic-inch monster, set to burn rubber, eat Lightnings, and look good doing it.
Of course, a truck this nice doesn't get built overnight. "Without Don Kinder [owner of Slowhawk Performance] my truck would still be stock and slow. Don has been the designer, builder, and driving force of the project since the day I decided to go fast. He spent countless hours and sleepless nights working and tuning on the truck. The truck is as much Don's as it is mine." While the truck has seen several combinations, the latest setup is easily the most powerful. Starting with the heart of the beast, Matt and Don had Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center assemble a 408-cubic-inch LQ9-based motor. Inside, a Callies Compstar 4-inch crankshaft spins a set of Callies Compstar rods, which hold tight on a set of JE pistons wrapped in HellFire rings. The valvetrain rides atop a custom Comp Cams hydraulic roller camshaft with 236/230-degrees of duration, 0.604/0.590-inches of lift on a turbo-friendly 115-degree lobe separation angle. Oiling is done by a ported and polished GM oil pump, which pulls off a stock GM truck oil pan.
With the short-block built and ready to drop in, it was time to assemble the lungs of this Lightning killer, a custom single-turbo system. Here, Matt turned again to Don and Slowhawk Performance to build a serious street sweeper. Starting with a set of stock truck manifolds, Don fabricated a custom crossover tube, which places the turbo up high on the passenger side of the engine bay. This turbo, a BorgWarner S-85 Race unit, is capable of flowing a ton of air, but Matt and Don found that 12 psi is more than enough to "spin the 16-inch tires at 80 mph." Exhaust is sent down a huge 5-inch downpipe and exits just before the rear tire on the passenger side. Incoming air, however, passes through a four-core front-mount intercooler before passing through a Nick Williams 90mm throttle body, down an IntakeElbows.com sheetmetal elbow and into an Edelbrock "carb-style" intake manifold. A pair of ETP 225cc cylinder heads funnel the boost through a set of 2.08-inch intake valves and expel the resulting mixture out a set of 1.57-inch exhaust valves. All of this is fueled by a set of 96-lb injectors, which are pressurized by a pair of Walbro 420L fuel pumps.
DMC Racing of Halifax, Massachusetts, is responsible for getting all of this horsepower to the ground. "Dennis at DMC is the best chassis builder I have found. He chopped my truck up into pieces and molded it back into something that I really never could have dreamed." Starting with a basically stock truck, Dennis and the team at DMC first pulled the entire bed off the truck and began cutting. From a medley of cutting, welding, and fitting came a complete custom four-link rear suspension. This suspension features a pair of Strange double-adjustable shocks wrapped in matching Strange rear springs. A Strange 9-inch rear, stuffed with a set of 3.55 gears and 40-spline axles moves power outward to the massive wheel and tire combo. Out back are a set of 20x12 Billet Specialties Dyno SL wheels, covered in a pair of Mickey Thompson Sportsman S/R 31x16R20 tires. In order for Matt to get power from the motor to the Strange 9-inch, he turned to SRA Transmission to build a stout 4L80E. A Precision Industries 3400 triple disk bolted to a TCI flexplate transfers power into the transmission, which then sends power down a two-piece Denny's driveshaft and into the rearend.