2003 Chevy Silverado 2500HD - Smoke on the Water
A Fiery Pair
Making a statement at most popular river and lake vacation spots is what a lot of boating enthusiasts attempt to do when setting out to build a high-speed water rod. In short, people want to be noticed, and they do not care how obnoxious their boat is, as long as they pull looks from others on the boat ramp and at their cove of choice. Some use gas-powered blenders, equip their water missiles with monstrous blower motors, and stuff as many scantily dressed ladies in the interior to be the envy of other boaters on the water. Others crank up their stereos until all conversation ceases and heads turn in their direction.
All of these methods of grabbing attention on the water definitely separate certain boaters apart from the pack, but it's the guy who has a righteous ride and conceals his ego that usually gets the respect and long-term looks from others on the water. Chris Eyles of Yorba Linda, California, is one such boat enthusiast who lets his flamed-out 23-foot Renegade Performance powerboat speak for itself, as it is towed into the popular Blue Water resort in Parker, Arizona, behind his lifted '03 Chevy HD pickup. Like most custom truck and boat owners, Chris is extremely proud and creative, and couldn't bear the thought of rolling up to any ramp pulling his pride and joy with a bone-stock pickup. So, when the HD left the dealer lot, it was destined for a list of modifications to make it more worthy of river resort parking lots.
As an employee of Line-X Spray-On truck bedliners in Santa Ana, California, Chris' first order of business was to have the box sprayed with the company's patented bedliner coating to prevent any unsightly dents and dings in the cargo area. The truck was then delivered to Aggressive Suspension in Anaheim, California, where the stock stance was brought up 8 inches using a Fabtech Suspension lift, and the fenders were filled with 17x9.5-inch Intro billet wheels mounted on BFGoodrich 37x12.50x17-inch All-Terrain rubber. After the cloud-scraping lift was completed and the extra-large rolling package was planted on all four corners, Chris cruised over to Steve Deman Custom Paint in Chino, California, for a bit of exterior paint spice.
Taking care to create an exterior landscape comprised of smooth lines and aggressive hot licks, Deman first color-matched the door handles to the factory white base and then taped out a simple tribal flame graphic designed by Venable Koncepts to enhance the truck's beltline. The fire was filled in with a custom mix of PPG Candy Blue and Pearl Blue concentrate, making the dancing flames jump violently off the subtle white base. After Steve Deman defined the fire with the perfect blend of PPG, a color-sanding and polishing session was held in Deman's shop, and the HD emerged smooth as glass, with a glow all too sweet. A Trenz polished billet grille insert was also installed up front to give the nose some definition. Next on the list, after the altitude and attitude were in place, was to give the factory 6.0L a wake-up call with a few aftermarket performance accessories.
For additional pulling power, the extra-heavy Chevy's factory powerplant was fitted with an AEM air intake system to help breathability for hauling the boat up those steep grades on the way to Chris' vacation spot of choice. Opening up the motor even more is a Gibson after-cat exhaust system producing a throaty exhaust note and putting the power to the ground when Chris plants his foot on the floor. An Optima Red Top battery was installed for additional cranking power.
While the truck portion of this rig is somewhat mild mannered and subtle, the boat is not. With bright and bold tribal flames blazing down the center of the deck and down the entire side of the craft, the flame-licked exterior is just one small hint of the serious blower-enhanced horsepower lurking underneath the hatch. Chris' 23-foot Renegade Performance Boat means business, from the Steve Deman inspired flames to the detailed 600hp mill, sending power to the river water through a Mercury Bravo 1 outdrive.
Beginning with the 454ci blown Rat motor, this impressive Bow Tie power source is home to only the best components. Creating the ultimate low idle rumble is a Crane cam aided by Crane lifters and roller rockers. Induction comes in the form of a B&M 174 supercharger topped by a Holley 850 double-pumper carburetor, which sends 91-octane fuel through the motor with a vengeance when Chris hammers his foot down on the custom foot throttle. Foot throttles are commonly only found in jet boats and flat-bottom V-drives, but Chris liked the feel of the foot throttle better, so he opted for it in his stern-drive-motivated boat. Handling exhaust chores are Gil exhaust manifolds with custom-made polished Imco exhaust risers. Blending in with the polished B&M huffer are Rex Marine polished aluminum valve covers, making the mill shine as good as it performs. Cranking the potent beast over is done with two Optima Blue Top batteries. A Mercury Bravo I outdrive is hooked to the 600hp mountain motor and spins a Quicksilver 26-pitch three-blade propeller to move the boat through the Parker waters at around 85 mph.
With the motor and drive in check, the boat was pulled over to Steve Deman Custom Paint in Chino, California, for some flame graphics to match the hot licks present on the truck. Steve freestyled some wicked tribals down the sides and deck of Chris' 23-foot water toy, using PPG Blue Pearl with airbrushing and drop-shadowing for definition. After the flames were laid and sprayed, the deck was fitted with a host of Rex Marine deck hardware in anodized blue to complement the flames.
Completion of the exterior fire brought Chris' focus inside to the cockpit, where Martinez Upholstery in Corona, California, covered a pair of squared-off buckets for the front in white Enduratex vinyl complemented by red piping and a blue tribal flame inlay graphic. The same treatment was used on the rear bench seat, and only the seating structure was sectioned off to create three individual seats with bolsters. A billet steering wheel and white-face gauges with blue bezels sets the dash scenery to provide a little eye candy for Chris as he navigates Lady Killer through the chop.
Chris Eyles has built himself one noteworthy river rig, one that is sure to turn heads at boat ramps for years to come. This project could not have hit the street or the water without the help of Todd at Harman Marine, Mike at Enduratex Vinyls, Ryan with Optima Batteries, Bob at Rex Marine, Steve Deman of Steve Deman Custom Paint, Marcel Venable of Venable Koncepts, and Chris' father Bob Eyles. This rig is proof positive that looking good getting there is all part of the serious boating enthusiast experience.