Haulin' HD: Chevy Silverado 1500
Don't Blink or You'll Miss It
"I wanted a new body style Chevy that was static-dropped and had crazy power."
Most Chevy Silverado HD trucks are worked hard during a 9 to 5 and asked to perform without complaint. This Silverado HD clone is asked to work hard, but not at a work site or out on a farm. Feeling at home out on the drag strip, Mark Espino’s Chevy hits the lights at 11.52 seconds with drag slicks. Don’t let the subtle looks fool you; Mark’s truck will blow by you in the blink of an eye. Clean and simple are trademarks of rides leaving Mark’s shop, Hot Dog Customs, in Houston, and you know that if he’s behind the wheel, his truck is going to look good and have serious power.
“I wanted a new body style Chevy that was static-dropped and had crazy power,” Mark told us, and after picking up this ’08 Silverado last year, Hot Dog Customs has themselves another stunner that flies under the radar. Having friends who share your custom truck goals is one of the joys of our scene, and after talking over his game plan with Jose Pena, of Drops ’R Us, in Pasadena, Texas, the Silverado was dropped off and a new suspension started. Up front, the crew at Drops ’R Us bolted on McGaughy’s drop spindles and coil springs, along with shocks from DJM. A C-notch was cut in the rear and the guys bolted on a McGaughy’s flip kit with 2-inch shackles and a 1-inch drop block. With a combined drop of 7 inches in the front and 10 inches in the rear, most people mistakenly think Mark’s Chevy is ’bagged. Rightfully so, as his truck nearly tucks the 24-inch Modular Society three-piece wheels shod in Pirelli rubber. Adding luxury car styling and menacing looks, more than 5 inches of black lip is found on the 24x11-inch rear wheels. Cal Trac bars keep traction locked down for the 315/30R24 Pirelli tires. Mark is ecstatic with the end result of the final suspension tuning because he still has full turning radius and the truck launches hard from a stop, while stuffing 24s front and rear.
Rhea’s Chevy, located in Humble, Texas, was the shop of choice for making the 1500 look more rugged. On went a complete 2011 2500HD front clip. Rhea’s also painted the factory headlights for a more streamlined look, and while they were modifying the Silverado, they shaved the tailgate handle and smoked the taillights.
Hot Dog Customs was the next stop for the Chevy and the factory engine was quickly pulled in favor of a GM Performance Parts LS3 crate engine. A new engine was nice, but a stock engine wasn’t an option, so the guys slipped in a new .600 lift camshaft, installed DynaTech long-tube headers, and plumbed the engine for a 175-shot of nitrous. A fully built trans from Noe’s Transmission handles the 480 lb-ft of torque, which transmits the power to a narrowed rearend with Moser axles and 4.10 gears. MagnaFlow mufflers send the rumble to a custom exhaust that exits through rectangular exhaust tips mounted under the center of the bumper. Running in the 11-second range on drag slicks is impressive, and a custom tune by Wheatley Performance keeps the LS3 consistently performing well.
Interiors are where Hot Dog Customs have really started to make a name for themselves, so you know the bosses truck has to be done right. Suede pillars and headliner look down on black perforated leather seats from a Mercedes Benz E55 AMG. Not only do they look trick inside a Chevy truck, they also bring an air of elegance to the cabin. New gauges from US Speedo continue with the high-end theme and a stealth audio system keeps would-be thieves at bay. An Eclipse head unit sends signals to two JL Audio amps powering JL 6.5-inch components in the doors and 5-inch components in the pillars. Behind the AMG seats lies a leather-covered sub box with a 13.5-inch JL Audio shallow-mount sub. Moises Guerrero built the box and Mark tells us the audio sounds great inside the single cab.
Mark wanted to extend his gratitude to everyone that had a part in this build, especially Drops 'R Us, Rhea’s Chevy, Hot Dog Customs, Wheatley Tuning, and his amazing family. It’s hard to build a '07-'11 Silverado that looks different from the mainstream, but by combining performance with luxury, Mark has himself one sick HD.