2008 Chevy Colorado SS - The Next Best Thing

Chevy didn't build it, but this Colorado SS is legit

Mike Finnegan
Mar 1, 2009
Photographers: Mike Finnegan
Photo 2/13   |   2008 Chevy Colorado Ss left Side View
In addition to reading about this Colorado, be sure to check out the video we captured of this truck in action at the Havoc East 2008 show by clicking on the link below!

Robert S. Hamlin
Fayetteville, Tennessee
2008 Chevy Colorado
At the time this story went to print, General Motors had not put a V-8 in any of its midsize pickups for sale to the masses, which gives us plenty to bitch about. If we want bitchin LS V-8 power in a new truck, we have to buy a heavy fullsize Silverado or Sierra instead of a light and nimble Canyon or Colorado. We've all daydreamed of stuffing an all-aluminum, fire-breathing, lightweight LS engine into a mini or midsize truck for the ultimate street/strip/commuter truck, but Robert Hamlin has done it. Actually, he's done it several times over, perfecting the recipe during the course of his 20-year love affair with GM's smaller pickups and SUVs.
Robert began his engine swap career in '94 by stuffing a tuned port-injected small-block into a Chevy Blazer. Next, he dropped an LS1 from an F-body car into another Blazer, taking three months to get all of the bugs worked out. Things escalated with his first S-10 engine swap, a 345 horse LS1 stuffed into an '02 extended-cab truck, which he dubbed the "Z06 S-10." A slew of LS-powered S-10s and late model Blazers soon followed as Robert honed his skill for adapting factory GM power to midsize trucks and SUVs. Each truck was restored and modified to factory specs and then sold to fund the next great buildup. This build-sell-build philosophy culminated with his most recent project, the Colorado SS. One look at this truck in person and we knew it was something special.
Robert's truck has all the right ingredients to be the perfect factory muscle truck. After going directly into his garage from the dealer lot, this Colorado was dropped using factory ZQ-8 suspension components for a smooth ride, grippy handling, and stock-truck reliability. Robert bought factory 20-inch SS wheels and then milled the center bore to fit the larger hubs on his Colorado, wrapping the rims in Hankook rubber that has no chance of keeping up with the 700-plus horsepower powerplant. The SS theme continues on with a Street Scene front bumper cover and mirrors, SS emblems, factory fender flares, and a Street Scene roll pan. The interior is sanitary with recovered factory bucket seats, which feature the SS logo as well as a HUMMER H3 console and floor shifter install that looks like something that GM should have included on this truck.
Photo 6/13   |   2008 Chevy Colorado Ss grille
Looks are important to be sure, but with a dark and understated outward appearance the performance of this truck might be more important to the Sport Truck crowd. Initially, the truck's five-cylinder engine was replaced with a 5.3L LS1, which suffered a meltdown during the beginning stages of the buildup. Robert reslugged the bottom end with forged Wiseco pistons, a Lunati crankshaft, and Eagle connecting rods. The engine then displaced six liters and was topped off with factory L92 heads and a Nitrous Express N2O kit. The install was completed with factory GM accessories and hardware, and backed by a T-56 manual tranny. The transformation took just two months to complete and according to Robert, the engine makes over 700 hp with a small shot of N2O.
Photo 7/13   |   2008 Chevy Colorado Ss engine
After adding vented and cross-drilled disc brake rotors up front, Robert had an animal of a Colorado on his hands. He drove the truck out of his garage with just a few hundred miles on the odometer, and it went from mild-mannered freeway flier status to becoming a ferocious asphalt-eating monster. A quick blip of the drive-by-wire gas pedal, and the Hankooks barbequed the street and the truck was sideways before leaving the cloud of smoke in the dust. Robert knew he had done a good thing by injecting some real spirit into the truck, and the handling was on par with the power.
The real validation for the Sport Truck staff came when Robert entered the truck in the '08 Sport Truck Challenge. Running the same street tires, Robert smoked his way to low 13-second quarter-mile times at more than 110 mph. With a bit more traction, it is not hard to imagine this gorgeous truck dipping into the 12s like a good muscle truck should. However, as with his other projects, this one is done and already up for sale so that Robert can begin another one. One can only hope the next one is as mighty as this Colorado SS.

The 411
364ci LS2 V-8 bored 0.030 over / ported L92 cylinder heads and intake manifold / forged Wiseco pistons / Eagle forged connecting rods / Comp Cams camshaft / 2-inch dual exhaust with MagnaFlow mufflers / Nitrous Express N2O system / SLP cold-air intake / T-56 manual trans taken from an F-body car / LS-7 clutch and pressure plate / factory limited-slip and 4.10 gearing
By: Owner / West Coast Cylinder Heads, Reseda, California
Photo 11/13   |   2008 Chevy Colorado Ss front View
Front & Rear: 20x9 factory SS
Front & Rear: 275/45ZR20 Hankook Ventus ST
Front: Factory ZQ-8 1-inch drop coil springs and close-ratio rack-and-pinion steering / KYB gas shocks / urethane bumpstops
Rear: Factory ZQ-8 1-inch drop leaf springs and rear antisway bar / urethane bumpstops
Accessories: Urethane body mounts / Cal Tracs traction bars
By: Owner
Photo 12/13   |   2008 Chevy Colorado Ss tailgate
Body Mods:
Street Scene bumper cover, roll pan, and mirrors / Factory Extreme fender flares / SS emblems
By: Owner
Custom Paint:
Factory black
By: Owner
Recovered factory bucket seats with SS logos / Hummer H3 center console / Nordskog wideband O2 and fuel pressure gauges
BY: Owner
Photo 13/13   |   2008 Chevy Colorado Ss truck Bed
Special Thanks:
Robert would like to thank the Sport Truck staff for putting his truck in the magazine.



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