The floor surrounding Charlie Hill's bay is littered with brand-new parts. On the rack, a barely cooled and almost zero-mile project sits, dripping the last bit of oil into the drain pan. The heads are already off, the camshaft is coming out, and a new bumpstick is ready to slide in its place. To Charlie's left is another project, sitting on the lift waiting for him to have the time to install the forged stroker motor that just got delivered along with a custom turbo kit that the shop just finished fabricating. Outside, just 50 feet from Charlie's rack but miles away from his mind sits an '07 Silverado, black on black with a set of custom Bogart wheels that Charlie also has to finish today, if he can find the time and energy to stay late after work to get it in the shop. That's a free job, one he is building for himself, the type of toy that many world-class technicians usually dream about building but can't quite find the time to complete in between building 1,000-plus horsepower cars for customers, installing road-race suspensions on brand-new Z06 Corvettes and tweaking new Camaros to perfection.
By nightfall, Charlie has clocked out, his co-workers have all gone home for the night and he finally jumps in the truck, fires off the trusty 402 under the hood and pulls it into the shop. Tonight's job is all about fixing the nitrous system, but it's a night similar to many others, all of which have been a labor of love. "I bought this truck with the intention of having something that I could leave alone because I spent tons of money on the last two cars I had and they both ended up having issues that made me hate the cars. I quickly realized that it needed some sound so I installed the headers..." Yeah, you know where this is going already. "After hearing it start I quickly realized the truck would be really cool with 'just a mild cam' and it was all down hill from there."
Downhill for a guy who has worked at Vengeance Racing for years is different from downhill for people like you and me, and Charlie's custom camshaft install ended up turning his otherwise stock 4.8-liter truck into quite the powerhouse, laying down 345 rwhp on the Vengeance Racing dyno, a stout number considering the modest hopes for the truck. Along with good numbers, Charlie dropped a new stall converter in the stock transmission and took the truck to the track where it ran a 12.86 at 110 miles an hour, which made it the fastest naturally aspirated 4.8L in the country. Impressed and completely hooked on modifying the truck, Charlie decided to pull the 4.8L and drop a 347 in its place, a decision that would almost bring the project to a grinding halt... literally. You see, even for a talented technician at a renowned LS shop, things can go wrong and for Charlie, buying a "new, built" short-block from a less-than-reputable vendor online turned into a nightmare, one that ended in a blown up short-block in less than 600 miles.
Angry but never one to give up, Charlie went back to work, wrenching on customer cars during the day and working on the truck during the night. With help and support from Vengeance Racing, Scoggin Dickey Parts Center and Total Engine Airflow, Charlie built a new short-block, taking an iron 6.0-liter block and turning it into a potent 402, using a 4-inch Callies Magnum crankshaft, a set of Callies I-Beam rods and a set of Manley pistons setup for a healthy helping of compression and a 4.005-inch bore. Night after night he toiled, adding a pair of TrickFlow 235cc cylinder heads that were modified by Total Engine Airflow, a new 254/254 duration camshaft and several other supporting modifications to make everything work in the Silverado's engine bay.
With the engine set, Charlie turned to Nitrous Outlet, where Nitro Dave himself plumbed up a wicked 8-nozzle direct port system into a custom painted LS2 intake manifold, a trick piece to top a trick engine. With big jets, Dave was ready to make some serious power and Charlie had no choice but to fortify the rest of the drivetrain in preparation. Long gone was the stock 4L60E and Charlie knew building another 4L60E would be a waste of time and money, so he turned to Mad Dog Transmissions to build him a stout TH400 for the truck, one that could handle track abuse, big hits of nitrous and long trips back and forth to work. A 3.5-inch steel one-piece driveshaft transfers power from the TH400 to the rear, which (unlike an F-body) is actually pretty strong and Charlie chose to modify with an Auburn Pro Posi unit and little else. Believe it or not, the stock 30-spline axles were even left in place and Charlie hasn't had a single issue with the rear in the life of the truck.
Outboard of the rear, Charlie had the machinists at Bogart Wheels prep him a one-off set of 15x10-inch wheels, which are not only responsible for traction, but also serve as the jumping off point for the entire exterior of the truck. The machined face contrasts nicely with the factory black, even though most of the stock truck parts have been removed or tweaked for a cleaner look. From the HD hood to the roll pan, Charlie spent countless nights and weekends tweaking the truck's exterior to more closely resemble the smooth, aggressive lines he is used to seeing during the day on Vettes and Camaros. Truth be told, the stance and look of this truck is what first caught our eye, the 10-second elapsed times were really just icing on the cake.
Oh yeah, did we mention that Charlie's full weight truck ran 10.32 at 137 miles per hour in the heat of the day during the Atlanta LSX Challenge race? Even though it bumped Charlie from the 10.5-second index class he was racing in, he came into the pits all smiles, telling everyone that he will "never be mad about running faster than he thought" and that the truck felt great on that pass, but he thinks it could go even faster. For a gorgeous truck born out of necessity and modified out of love, what more could you ask for.
|Car: 2007 Chevrolet Silverado|
|Owner: Charlie Hill|
|Block: LQ9, 402ci|
|Compression ratio: 12.3:1|
|Heads: Trick Flow Specialties 235cc, 2.08 intake, 1.60 exhaust valves|
|Cam: Custom hydraulic roller, 254/258 duration at .050, .610/.610-inch lift, 114 LSA|
|Rocker arms: Stock, 1.7-ratio|
|Pistons: Manley, forged|
|Crankshaft: Callies, forged|
|Rods: Callies, forged|
|Throttle body: GM LS2, 90mm|
|Fuel injectors: 42 lb/hr|
|Fuel pump: Walbro, in-tank|
|Ignition: Stock coil-near-plug, NGK plugs|
|Engine management: Stock, tuned by Vengeance Racing|
|Power Adder: Nitrous Outlet direct port|
|Jets: 24 Nitrous, 20 Fuel|
|Exhaust system: Pacesetter 1.75-inch long-tube headers, 3-inch X-pipe, Spintech Super Pro Street mufflers|
|Transmission: TH400, built by Mad Dog Transmissions|
|Converter: Yank, 4000-stall|
|Driveshaft: 3.5-inch, steel|
|Front suspension: Toxic shocks, Belltech 3-inch drop springs, stock upper and lower control arms, removed swaybar|
|Rear suspension: Stock shocks, Belltech leaf springs, KB Racing traction bars|
|Rear end: Stock GM 8.6-inch 10-bolt, 4.10 gear, stock 30-spline axles, Auburn posi|
|Brakes: Stock, disc front and drum rear|
|Wheels: Bogart D-10 15x4 front, 15x10 rear|
|Front tires: Khumo Solus 205/75/15|
|Rear tires: Hoosier Quicktime D.O.T 29x11.50|
|Fuel: 110 octane (motor), 110 octane (standalone nitrous system)|