2007 Chevy Silverado - Hardcore Hotrod
Chevrolet And Orange County Choppers Collaborate On An '07 Silverado
Trendsetting and custom cues can be found interspersed between different breeds of vehicles. Hot styles know no boundaries and, therefore, can jump to a car or a truck, street rod or a motorcycle. To reflect such popularized components of design, the GM design team spent some time with the Teutuls at Orange County Choppers to garner ideas in turning an '07 Silverado into the ultimate shop hauler.
To say this truck was new when it started is a gross understatement. This hapless victim was plucked right off of the assembly line and sent straight to the shop where GM's Design, Engineering, and Powertrain divisions melded minds with Roush Engineering. The truck was torn down to a bare cab on a naked frame and placed in the middle of a stark work chamber. Air Ride Technologies' StongArms replaced the front stock components, and the suspension is now handled with ShockWaves set into modified strut towers. Out back, the factory 3.23-equipped rear axle was narrowed 7 inches, per side, for a total of 14 inches. It was hung on the frame with an Air Ride Technologies parallel four-link kit and additional ShockWaves. In preparation of the upcoming drivetrain swap of Baer brakes, both front and rear were fitted with Baer Extreme six-piston brake calipers, which grab the front 15-inch rotors and cinch down the 14-inch rotors in the rear. A one-off quartet of wheels-mimicking those found on an Orange County Chopper-were whittled from virgin aluminum stock, with a center cap on the deep-dish rear wheels designed to simulate a chopper's rear drive sprocket. The final tally is 22x10-inch front wheels and 20x17-inch rear wheels that are rolling on 285/35ZR22 BFGoodrich g-Force T/As and 31x18.00R20 Mickey Thompson Sportsman S/Rs, for the proper big and little street-rod look.
If GM's Powertrain division had any say in the go-fast department, then the amazing 7.0L LS7 engine is it. Displacing 427 cubic-inches and built from lightweight materials, the bad-to-the-bone beast levels the competition to the tune of 505 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. Super horsepower numbers, titanium connecting rods, and a dry-sump oiling system weren't enough, though. The LS7's eight individual coils were relocated to a custom mount, which was perched over the engine's intake manifold, so that a one-off carbon-fiber engine cover with machined aluminum trim would fit cleanly. Without the ignition coils, there was no need to keep the purpose-built factory valve covers. So, a trip through GM's Performance Parts Division caught a much more visually appropriate pair of covers. Now, intake duties are handled by a Roush Engineering-designed twin 4-inch polished aluminum snorkel configuration with two K&N filters. Edelbrock 1-5/8-inch Ti-Tech-coated shorty headers expel the exhaust through factory catalytic converters and out through more chopper-inspired trickery. Three-inch chromed dual-side pipes emit a thunderous roar off each side of the Silverado, especially when the gas pedal is mashed to the floor. It is all with an appearance of something that Orange County Choppers would have built for one of their own machines. Finally, all of the modified power routes through an '07 GM 4L70E automatic transmission.
With the chopper-inspired enthusiasm at full steam, attention to the Silverado's body was necessary. As previously stated, the truck's sheetmetal was entirely removed, which left an empty shell of a cab to begin work on. After working with the Teutuls, GM Design's John Cafaro and Jeff Puppos designed a bed treatment to mimic the look and feel of a motorcycle's fuel tank. By adding a pair of outer bed skins to the inside of the truck's bedsides, then welding them into place, along with a completely smoothed bed floor their vision became true to life. The original area where the factory fuel door resided was shaved smooth, and the new fuel filler position moved to the top of the bedside and is accessible through the use of a motorcycle filler cap. Smooth was the game plan, and so the door handles, third brake light, and roof moldings were ditched, and the removed rear bumper made way for a louvered roll pan. Each lower corner of the bed was slightly reworked for better visual flow, a one-off front bumper fascia was created, and after the third iteration, a carbon-fiber hood was handmade with a huge by large hot-rod-inspired "power dome" hoodscoop.
Roush Industries had the completed body ready for color, and it doused the newly transformed curves in Sherwin Williams Black-perfect for the tough-guy Orange County Chopper likeness. Upon assembly, the doors were fit with ITW Active Touch door release modules. Now finally in color, the truck's reanimation progress was awash in CNC-carved billet and blinding chrome. You will find that the hood, main and front fascia grilles, along with the headlight, driving light, taillight buckets, bedrails, exterior mirrors-and finally the tailgate itself-were all created from huge chunks of T-6 stock. Old-skool glory literally shines through with tri-bar headlamps and blue-dot tail lamps but newer technology prevailed with HID and LED lights used, respectively. What would an OCC truck be like, if not for the unmistakable trademark V-twin motor? Four of the powerful big-inch thumpers ride comfortably in the bed on a custom-made rack strutting their fully chromed and polished stuff. More of the flamed motif engulfs the billet bed rack while holding the quad grouping of H&L 124-inch, 140hp engines with diamond-cut cylinder fins.
Behind the futuristic red window tint is an interior produced by some of the most amazing machines that money can buy. Roush Industries began by filling the glovebox door, then smoothing and wrapping the entire dash with black leather. The vent covers were handmade from steel bars welded together, then chromed, and the plate on the lower right is a chromed billet piece with the OCC logo machined into it. Chrome was also used to cover other plastic pieces on the dash, floor, center console, and door panels. Chrome can only stick to metal, so how do you make plastic become metal? First, the plastic was sanded completely smooth, then it was coated in liquid copper. With copper being the base of chrome, the parts were racked to hold their shape in the heat of coating, then dipped in nickel, and finally chromed. Everything else that wasn't chrome plated was painted black, after it had been sanded smooth.
It would take two pages to describe the process to create the one-off steering wheel. Essentially, it would cost more than a new Silverado to replicate it. In short, the amazing steering wheel sports a custom center piece smothered in chrome, with a wheel that was built up in diameter, and then covered with carbon fiber and leather. Choppers are known for having eye-catching seat designs with searing flames, stitching, or other designs done in leather, ostrich, or even stingray. GM Design's Michael Rhodes and Catherine Bedford worked with OCC to capture the theme of a chopper seat and converted the Silverado's seats digitally.
The Roush interior designers drew on the original seat covers to decide how the design would use the Reno and Cherokee black leather. A unique leather thread was hand stitched into the corner seams of the seat by using a chain-link pattern. This was performed by Roush's lead designer, John Fields, whose hands paid dearly for his efforts. OCC's trademark logo decorates the headrests, Dorsett Black carpet covers the floor, and the headliner and sun visors received a sinister layer of black leather.
"The OCC Silverado is a tribute to a family that has made an enormous impact on design, and the new Silverado is the perfect canvas to illustrate it," said John Cafaro, chief designer for fullsize trucks. "Ironically, the OCC Silverado represents the reverse of OCC's typical themed creations. Rather than design a bike to fit a particular theme, we've built a truck to reflect the Teutuls' contributions to the chopper and the focus they've brought to the industry," he said. Truer words could not have been spoken, and the debut of the vehicle at the 2006 SEMA Show proved that GM's John Cafaro was correct. The show attendants stood four rows deep around the perimeter of the Silverado to catch a glimpse of what chopper design had done to truck customization.
To chrome all of the plastic pieces, the pieces first had to be sanded glass-smooth, then sprayed with liquid copper. Once coated in copper, the components were racked in custom metal racks to prevent the plastic parts from warping during the hot nickel. Finally, the chrome plating stages began. The outcome is a stunning depth and clarity, that normally would only be possible when chrome plating a metal part. To match the front lights' mixed-years' influence, the LED taillights sport blue-dot lenses straight out of the street-rod files. Over 500 hp lurks underneath the carbon-fiber hood of the Silverado, and every screaming decibel of the monster comes wailing out of these long chopper exhaust pipes. At full song, it sounds like a pack of rabid motorcycles racing from the distance.
From the front, the OCC Silverado exudes attitude-just the image a chopper displays. Almost every point on this truck was created from drawings, concepts, and pure unbridled imagination. The headlights are HID, but the lens is a tri-bar unit lending its roots to yester-year hot rods. Black meets black, chrome, and more black inside of the red-tinted glass of the Chevy. The glovebox was removed, and in its place is a billet trim piece showing off its OCC tattoo. The rest of the dash, center console, ceiling, and door panels were covered in Abyssal Black paint or leather. Chrome dash panels, trim, and vents create the perfect contrast.