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Custom Chevy Avalanche - The Vortec Power Formula

Three Engines, 1,025 CI

Brandan Gillogly
May 1, 2007
Photographers: Wes Allison
Photo 2/2   |   custom Chevy Avalanche hauling Boat
When General Motors wanted to show off the capability of its Vortec engines, they went to Jason Plotke, who already had numerous H2 and H3 builds to his credit. Jason Plotke owns IAG Customs in Scottsdale, Arizona, and knew what the General would want to see when this combo was unveiled at the 2006 SEMA Show. There was just one hitch: like most of the builds for SEMA, there was a time crunch. With only six weeks for the total build, and three of those dedicated to paint, nothing short of a miracle was needed to get the Avalanche finished.
To get the right stance without sacrificing the towing capability, the team at IAG went with Rancho products. A 4-inch Rancho lift and adjustable Rancho RS 9000 shocks tame the 22-inch KMC Hoss wheels and 305/45R22 Nitto Dune Grapplers stopped by SSBC calipers and rotors. The Avalanche was matched with a Street Scene Equipment SS-style bumper cover, Precision billet grille, and IAG billet door handles. Then, the truck was dropped off with Bugs at his Mesa, Arizona, paint shop. Bugs started with a red base and added yellow, black, orange, white, and blue to create both flames and sweeping graphics to match the Formula powerboat.
Open the doors to the Avalanche and you'll see what three weeks of sanding, fabricating, painting, and upholstering can get you. Seats, both front and back, were covered in black and red Katzkin leather with red stitching. IAG Customs used the same red leather to trim the steering wheel and the top of each door panel. Also, the door panel received accents in the same gray suede that was used to recover the headliner. More red fills the dash, as US Speedo supplied red gauges. Next, the center stack plastic surround and dash trim were removed, smoothed, and painted. For the audio chores, a Clarion MAX675VD touch-panel DVD head unit orchestrates the sound through MTX components, including a Thunder 7804 amplifier, 6-1/2-inch TXC6.1 components, and 25mm TXC.1 tweeters. Also, MTX was sourced for the bass, as an IAG-built custom center console houses a 12-inch Thunder 7500 sub. The Clarion unit supplies DVD video for the front passengers, but rear-seat passengers each get their own Savv HRP-X7090 DVD headrest monitors that can receive signals from the roof-mounted TracVision satellite.
IAG didn't forget the powerplant, as this build was meant to showcase the potential of Vortec engines. And so, the finishing touches were left for the Avalanche's 5.3L Vortec V-8. To keep things reliable and open up the airways, an Airaid intake and Corsa 3-inch exhaust were bolted up to boost power. Superior Axle chipped in with new 4.56 ring and pinion sets, front and rear, to get the most out of the extra power and to help the Avalanche overcome the taller tires and heavy payload behind it.
Speaking of the payload, following the Avalanche down the road is a matching Formula 292 FAS3Tech. Formula boats are known for their solid construction, and the 292's multi-plane deep-V hull is definitely built to take on the punishment of high-speed cruising. The blaze paint scheme on the boat is a factory option that inspired the paint on the Avalanche, and complements the upholstery and dash inside of the 292's open cockpit. To match the truck, the dash was painted red and filled with Livorsi Monster and Redline gauges, while Livorsi linkages were installed for both the throttle and shifters. Both front passengers can enjoy the ride in McLeod bolster seats that keep occu-pants planted during full-throttle acceleration. Powering the 7,000lb deep-V cruiser are two 5.7L Mercruiser Mags that each put 300 hp to a Bravo 1 drive and four-blade prop. Both Mercruiser engines were left stock, except for the addition of a Corsa Silent Choice exhaust. Silent Choice features an electronic cut-off that can either divert exhaust quietly through the prop to meet noise requirements, or it can roar straight out of the transom for all-out performance.
To think that this combo was completed in just six weeks made a lot of us jealous. We're sure you guys know what it's like to have a project sit stagnant for weeks-if not months-on end. And so, a lot of credit has to go to Jason and his team at IAG Customs for cranking out such a quality truck on a tight schedule. We know not everyone has General Motors behind them, but let this build be an inspiration to at least get a few wrenches turning on your own projects
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