A Blazing Combination for Land and Sea
Performance boating is an activity that has become increasingly popular over the last several years. As each summer passes, it seems that more and more people are purchasing watercraft and hitting popular vacation spots throughout Arizona and Nevada. And who can blame them? The experience of pleasure boating is simply unbeatable -- enthusiasts can get away from the hustle and bustle of their daily lives and relax in the summer sun, listen to their favorite music, and spend a little time participating in water sports at the wheel of their custom boats.
Although boating has been a popular pastime for many years for individuals to unwind and enjoy their free time, the dynamic of boating has certainly changed. The low-profile boats of yesteryear, with loud over-the-transom exhaust and subtle but classic graphic schemes, have cleared dock space for the much larger performance family boats of today. Those enthusiasts who used to rip up and down the river in their 18- and 19-foot jet boats and V-drive flatbottoms have grown up. As a result, the need for a more family-oriented ride has raised the demand for the larger boats currently being produced by many of the boating industries top manufacturers. One of those manufacturers is AfterShock Powerboats located in Riverside, California. The folks at AfterShock are committed to building top-quality performance boats for the speed-driven enthusiast and the family man who wants a turnkey package every time he heads for the water.
In order to learn more about this upcoming performance boat builder, we took the opportunity to follow along as AfterShock put together a customer's boat to get a bird's eye view of the company's fiberglass, gelcoat, and rigging work. The gorgeous flamed-out 24-foot Tremor cuddy cabin open-bow from Aftershock pictured here was shown taking shape at the AfterShock facility back in the May '03 issue, in the article titled "Project AfterShock."
This article provided some insight on how these AfterShock water rockets go together, and now the finished product is ready to get wet and turn some heads. The concept of covering a manufacturer's project boat within the pages of Truckin' was drawn up from General Motors' under hatch/under hood program, where customers see the validity of running the same motor from their truck in their boat. Since marine engines work considerably harder than engines in trucks, and run at constant high rpms without a break, GM felt it was a good idea to prove its latest powerplant wares were marine-worthy.
Choosing a solid and reliable powerplant and drive to power a pleasure boat is the most important decision a consumer can make when setting out to outfit a new water rocket. Trouble-free reliability out on the water usually ensures maximum fun.
After all, who wants to go to the river and spend the weekend wrenching? When it came time to explore engine options for AfterShock's Project 24-foot Tremor, a new Vortec 496 from General Motors was the only way to go. The HP2 Magnum HO big-block model puts out an impressive 425 hp and is linked to a Mercury Racing Bravo Outdrive, which pushes the boat through the Lake Havasu waters with a vengeance. Owners of GM's Silverado 2500 HD and 3500 dualie will notice the same engine under the hood of their truck as the one found in this boat.
Featuring GM's latest technology, the engine is a closed-loop system with its own self-contained water-cooling system. Helping Project AfterShock's owner monitor engine vitals with ease is a Smart Craft engine monitoring system from Mercury Racing. This collection of white-face gauges surrounded by polished billet bezels make reading the instruments a treat for the eyeballs, while shift and throttle levers from Gaffrig aid in getting the boat on and off the custom Extreme trailer. Also contained in the dash is the Smart Craft computer system that provides a more accurate reading of the instruments and sensors underneath the hatch. The capabilities of GPS Navigation and depth readings are contained on this trick in-dash unit.
Taking note of the Tremor's exterior features, it's easy to notice a trick, flamed paint scheme incorporating blue, orange, and gray, laid over a white base. Looking at the history of gelcoat treatments on powerboats, there was a significant amount of metalflake in the '70s, an enormous amount of rainbow boats in the '80s, and an abundance of pastel-colored boats in the '90s. Today, flames and aggressive tribal graphics are the trendy paint licks that are keeping most boat manufacturers and gelcoat professionals busy. It is fairly easy to tell when a boat was built by looking at its colors and graphic patterns. When a gelcoat scheme was chosen for Project AfterShock, the owner wanted something that was cutting edge yet classy at the same time. Therefore, the flame patterns laid in blue and gray, and highlighted by an orange band were chosen to bring the exterior to life.
Further complementing the boat's exterior attitude are powdercoated swim steps from Dana Marine in Corona, California, which make exiting and entering the Tremor's cockpit much easier. Lifting the hatch and exposing the high-output GM powerplant is made easy with Dana Marine-powdercoated electric hatch hinges. Also, tying up is a cinch at the dock with Dana Marine pop-up cleats and deck hardware. A host of Dana Marine billet trim accessories also found its way onto the AfterShock's hull to draw some extra attention. After the rigging, gel work, and finishing touches were completed on the boat's outer skin, it was time to fill the cockpit with some threads and rocking sounds for the river.
Having an ear-blistering, water-rippling performance audio system in a boat of this caliber was a must. Nothing beats cruising down the lake or river hearing the roar of the exhaust and the wail of the guitar from a favorite classic rock CD. With this in mind, Project AfterShock was fitted with an impressive line-up of audio components to give the riding and driving experience some serious punch.
Providing ample bass are four 10-inch SAS Bazooka subwoofers mounted under the rear bench seat, complemented by eight 8-inch Bazooka surface mount speakers spread throughout the cabin. A total of four Bazooka amplifiers provide a total of 2,400 watts, power the bumps for ear-pleasing harmonies. Contained in the dash is a Jensen CD head unit backed by a Jensen six-disc CD changer, allowing the boat's owner to load up several musical selections for those long afternoon boat rides. For comfort, AfterShock installed its most common seating arrangement of two forward buckets and one rear bench, that provide plenty of seating comfort. The flame theme was also continued on top of the engine hatch. Now that the boat was completely addressed, the trailer was the next phase of the project.
When it comes to transporting a boat to the water, most people do not think much about the trailer. Looking trick while in and out of the water was a prerequisite for this project, so AfterShock commissioned Extreme Custom Trailers of Riverside, California, to construct a dual-axle hauler for the freshly finished and flamed beauty. The folks at Extreme rose to the occasion and built a bright-white dual-axle custom trailer with disc brakes and frenched LED running and brake lights. Extreme offers several options on its trailers including diamond-plate lock boxes, which were incorporated into this particular trailer.
These are great for storing tools and tie-downs. Also setting off this boat's show quality transportation are 17x8-inch Boyd Coddington Poseidon billet wheels encased in BFGoodrich P255/50HR17 low-profile rubber. The attractive rolling package from Discount Tire Direct in Scottsdale, Arizona, does a lot to spice up the trailer's looks. A set of polished stainless-steel fenders from Fenders 'N' More in Pacoima, California, provide coverage for the rolling stock and set off the the hauler well. Getting in and out of the boat while it is resting on the trailer is made possible by powdercoated steps from Dana Marine, which match the swim steps and deck hardware on the boat. Another trick feature on this above average trailer is a Pivit Hitch assembly, which allows the owner to pull a pin and fold the tongue of the trailer back to provide for easy storage. Completion of the boat and trailer left the staff of Truckin' baffled as to what type of truck would be cool enough to haul this boat for some off-the-hook photography.
Using connections established on several other magazine projects, a call was placed to Louie Morosan at L&G Enterprises in San Dimas, California, to inquire about any customer's trucks that would do the trick in front of the AfterShock Tremor. As always, Louie came through and found the perfect truck to be used in front of the Tremor, a truck that made its debut at the 2003 L.A. Boat Show.
The truck was an '02 Chevy 2500 HD longbed, equipped with the 8.1L, and featuring the paint treatment, stance, and aggressive attitude needed to match Project AfterShock. Owner Frank Betancourt of Azusa, California, had asked Louie over a year earlier to build him a lifted show ride with elegant style and off-road capabilities. Using L&G's Custom Truck Shop retail facility, which is directly across from its paint shop, the suspension was torn down and the bed was lifted off the frame.
Cranking up the suspension underneath this beast was the first order of business. Desiring to go extra high, Frank's hauler was ascended with an 8-inch Fabtech Performance suspension lift kit, complemented by a 3-inch Performance body lift. Under the nose, custom-built shock hoops with urethane mounts and a full engine cage were installed for rigidity, when Frank decides to take his driving into the dirt. Cushioning the ride up front are four 10-inch long Bilstein canister shocks. Custom steering stabilizers with Rancho shocks also add to the solid performance of this extra-tall show hauler. Moving to the rear, a pair of National Soft Ride leaf springs was installed to soften the stiff factory suspension and get the back bumper in the air.
Keeping the ride height regulated out back when the tongue weight of Project AfterShock's Extreme Trailer is lowered onto the dropped receiver hitch is a pair of Firestone airbags complete with on-board compressor and gauge. Custom rear shock hoops, complete with new rear frame crossmembers, designed by the fabrication professionals at Custom Truck Shop, hold two Bilstein reservoir shocks per side, matching the setup under the front. The rear differential was reinforced and fit with custom removable shock mounts, while being restricted from rotation backward or forward by custom rear traction bars.
Before work went onto the body and paint, all the truck's frame holes were welded up and ground smooth and the frame was painted in two-stage black urethane paint to capture the ultimate show effect. Making up the distance between the fenderwells and the ground are 16.5x10-inch Weld SideWinder wheels wrapped in Parnelli Jones 38-inch Dirt Grip tires. Making getting in and out less of a chore are four 6-inch long Kodiak SideWinder steps. With the stance in place, the truck was rolled over to the L&G's paint and body shop where the metal was transformed from stock and bland to wild and radical.
The HD's factory landscape was altered by first mounting up an '02 Cadillac Escalade frontend. The OEM Chevy bumper was cut down to accommodate the Escalade bumper cover, while the Cadillac and Chevy fenders were cut in half down the body line and welded back together to produce a smooth look. Cadillac door handles continue the elegant theme on the doors.
Out back, the tailgate was shaved and relocated to the inside to promote further smoothness. After the metal modifications were ground smooth, the truck was rolled into the booth at L&G and given a fresh basecoat using PPG White liquid. When it came time for graphics, nothing other than flames would do, so shop artist Theresa Acosta laid out a set of traditional long flowing licks to complement the extra long sides of the Heavy Duty. House of Kolor True Blue Pearl and Platinum Pearl were used to jump the flames off the white base. The hues were sprayed and sealed in clear by Luis at L&G and given depth with airbrushing performed by Theresa. The truck was reassembled and set off with a fully polished Trenz vertical billet grille up front. The bed has been sprayed with Line-X bedliner to make hauling Frank's custom Honda FourTrax an easier affair.
Since its completion, this sensational Chevy Heavy Duty has appeared at shows including the Off Road Expo, Sand Sports Expo, Speed Sports Expo, L.A. Boat Show, and the Truckin' Nationals. It has made the perfect tow vehicle for Project AfterShock, as the craftsmanship of one complements the other. In the boating world, it's all about rolling up to the ramp in style, and this rig is certainly packed with enough style to start heads spinning.