2002 GMC Sierra - Hot Air
An A/C Repairman's Weekend Heat
Custom truck and boat combinations are nothing new. Boat enthusiasts have been turning heads on the launch ramps from the days when a '67 El Camino running Cragar SS wheels and pulling a matching flatbottom was the cat's meow. In the '80s, the rainbow craze was in, as several multi-colored boat hulls were extracted from the molds at the marine industry's most prominent boat companies, and Crew Cab dualies were painted to match and slung low on 16-inch Alcoa wheels. The competition for who's setup was more detailed and customized began before the boats even hit the water. Today, the concept of matching tow vehicles and watercrafts is very much the same, but enthusiasts have a few more greenbacks in their bank accounts, and the bar pertaining to what is considered cool has been raised quite a bit.
Leland Honeyman of Peoria, Arizona, is a boating enthusiast whose rig does not fall short when rolling up to the ramp to enjoy the fruits of his labor. Leland owns and operates Honeyman HV A/C Incorporated in Peoria and spends his Monday through Friday 9-to-5 grind taking care of maintaining air-conditioning and heating systems. When the weekend comes, the toys come out, and Leland takes the short drive from his home in Peoria to Lake Havasu with his '02 GMC HD leading the way and his 28-foot Eliminator Cat in tow. One look at his rig, and it's obvious that Leland is not the type of guy who is satisfied driving a stock out-of-the-box tow ride or water rocket.
Starting with creating the ultimate double-duty tow truck and business promotional ride, an '02 GMC 2500 HD 4x4 was purchased and immediately treated to some stance, paint, and audio enhancements. To achieve the desired ride height, the truck was delivered to Desert Rat in Phoenix, where a 6-inch Superlift Suspension System was installed and finished off with Rancho shocks. Enhancing the sky-high stance are 17-inch Weld Racing Monsoon wheels wearing 37x12.50x17-inch BFGoodrich skins.
To put a bit more power to the ground when the Eliminator is hitched to the tail end, the factory 6.0L was outfitted with a Hypertech computer chip along with a K&N air filter and Dynomax exhaust. These performance upgrades aid the HD in hauling the 112-mph Eliminator Cat to various desert-lake playgrounds. With the truck riding high and fit with a few performance enhancements, the factory paint needed a little flare to make it come alive.
Beginning with a bright-red factory basecoat, a sizzling set of hot licks was the natural choice to help separate the HD from all the other tow vehicles in the boat ramp parking lot. Enter Jerry Kachlic, owner of Nifty Fifties in Peoria. Leland got word that Jerry did paintwork on the side and contracted him to create some sizzling fire for his lifted river chariot. Before Jerry put his signature down on the HD's body, Auto Styles of Peoria installed a cowl-induction hood and chrome nerf bars to bring a performance look and functional feel to the exterior. After these simple bolt-ons were in place, Jerry laid out a set of yellow, orange, and red tribal flames with marbleized pinstripe over the hood and down the fenders to bring the nose to a rolling boil. Leland's business name, Honeyman HV A/C, was lettered on the rear doors and complemented by a surrounding ring of fire. To create the ultimate driving experience for those spontaneous late-night river trips, the cab was filled with a host of audio amenities.
Anyone who spends their summer weekends driving to and from their favorite river and lake resort getaway spots knows that the tow vehicle must feature a thundering audio system to help the driver and passenger click off the miles. For inside entertainment, Leland took matters into his own hands and used his electrical expertise to wire up a hard-hitting combination which delivers his favorite jams with a punch. A Pioneer 340 in-dash CD unit backed by a six-disc CD changer ensures plenty of musical choices are on-board. Replacing the factory door speakers are Pioneer 6.5-inch units, complemented by the OEM tweeters. A Rockford Fosgate 500-watt amplifier drives the audio powerhouse, while two 10-inch Diamond Audio subwoofers, mounted in a custom-built box fabricated by Leland, hammers out the bass. Now that Leland had the land-stomping tow vehicle completed to cruise to the river in style, it was time to put a wicked fast custom powerboat behind the fiery Crew Cab.
To fill Leland's requirement for a large powerboat filled with useable horsepower and graphics splashed to match the truck, Eliminator Boats was contacted to fill the bill. An '02 28-foot Daytona Cat was placed into the mold and laid up with a gelcoat scheme matching the hot licks placed on the pickup. The hull emerged from the mold with a red-based gelcoat hue and was set ablaze with yellow and orange flames. Once Leland and the workers at Eliminator got over the shock of how amazing the hull looked, it was lowered down onto a bright-yellow Extreme triple-axle trailer, and the rigging process began.
The first order of business was to address what powerplant to place between the stringers of this very fine feline. Leland opted to pursue his own powerplant for the boat and strayed from Eliminator's available engine and drive packages. The pros at Beck Racing Engines in Phoenix, created the 621ci big-block Chevy and stuffed the mill with all the best go-fast goods which lurks under the flame-embossed engine hatch. A Crower 4340 steel 4.750-stroke crankshaft, Scat H-beam rods, and JE-forged blower pistons ensure the mill can handle all the throttle Leland throws at it. A set of Childs & Albert rings and Clevite 77 bearings finish off the rotating assembly, while a Crane Cams hydraulic roller cam and lifters, and Crower stainless steel roller rockers update the valvetrain. Up top, a 1071 BDS blower topped by two Holley HP 1000 carburetors handles induction, while an MSD billet magnetic trigger distributor sparks the 1,112 hp and 1,087lb-ft of torque in the monster motor. All of this brute power is delivered to the Havasu waters via an Imco SC drive wearing a 2-inch Teague Custom marine shorty lower unit. This rock-solid drive spins a 33-pitch Lab Finish propeller and pushes the boat to over 100 mph in no time at all.
Blending some cruising comfort to go along with cheek-rippling and eye-watering capabilities of this aquatic powerhouse, a complete custom interior was built using two front buckets, a rear bench, a full open-bow setup with two full benches, and an under-deck seat. Each seatback was stitched with a red backdrop and a yellow-flame graphic to match the boat's paint scheme. Helping Leland keep in control and monitor the custom-built engine are Gaffrig forward, reverse, and throttle controls, and Gaffrig gauges with on-board GPS.
In addition to being able to hear the sweet harmony from the blower whine, Leland installed a high-powered audio system to make cruising the Havasu Bridgewater channel a bit more entertaining. A Pioneer CD deck delivers jams to a Rockford Fosgate BDP-1000 amplifier, which powers the four 10-inch Boston Acoustic subwoofers mounted down in the lower cabin area. A pair of 6-1/4-inch Boston Acoustic midrange speakers helps define the guitar tones in Leland's musical selections.
Leland Honeyman has created one sharp river rig that captures the style and looks prized by today's performance boater. This is definitely the kind of setup that garnishes attention everywhere it goes.