2001 GMC Shortbed Stepside

The Hot Truck: Yenko Never Made a Z28 this Cool

Wes Vreeland
Jun 1, 2002
Photographers: Wes Allison
It’s with tire-roasting pleasure that we bring you project Hot Truck in full glory on the feature pages. Almost a year of buildup under its bumpers has produced one great ride with some of the best components on the market. From the factory, these come in only bright colors, a 4.8L V-8, and sorry...no luxury options at all. As some may remember, in the heyday of musclecars, were Yenko and COPO leading the pack in pinache and performance. Project Hot Truck followed the theme set by these legendary musclecars: cool, fast, really fast, and really, really fast.

The 2001 GMC shortbed Stepside was the base for this tricked-out truck. Conception began about nine months ago when an editor and GM got together, agreeing on a plan to turn a $20,000 truck into a powerplant to be reckoned with. Looking to the past brought forth ideas which, with the help of quite a few comp-anies, came to life. The chal-lenge in the build was to modify a stock truck using only bolt-on components that are available to anyone with a telephone and some cash. The Hot Truck saga has appeared in tech articles in our Mar. and Apr. ’02 issues and is continuing this month with Magna Charger’s blower system for 4.8L engines. Stay tuned; there’s still one more tech article coming where you’ll see the muscle of suspension holding the meaty tires to the ground.

First in our line of tasks was to set this truck apart from others. With the antic-ipation of some wide tires and a low stance, Stillen stepped forward with a full kit that included flares, a front air dam, and a rear roll pan. To streamline the nose and cab, a set of Street Scene signal mirrors and an expanded metal grille were bolted on. Out back, a hard-shell tonneau from SnugTop provides a safe home for bottles of laughing gas and a clean look. The rear plate frame and antennae from Billet Specialties add some subtle sparkle to the overall look. Combining all the body mods with a Goodmark cowl-induction hood provides an aesthetic that’s aggressive and smooth. For the finishing touch, Starbucks Customs in Riverside, California, smoothed the rear gate and the door handles and color-matched everything to the stock yellow. That pseudo-musclecar look was accomplished with Z28 emblems and simple graphics on the hood laid and sprayed by Vic Sapien at Kool Kustom & Hot Rods. With the Hot Truck looking a little faster, it needed to perform a little better. The 4.8L mouse motor was blown by way of Magna Charger’s roots-style kit: Check out page 45 for the complete install. Airflow is increased with an AFE filter, while spent fuel is moved away by full-bore stainless steel headers and an after-cat exhaust from The Turbo Shop. As if that wasn’t enough kick, a bit o’ nitrous was mounted up with Holley’s wet system from NOS.
With great power comes great responsibility...with 304 hp to the ground, it was the choice thing to provide a little extra safety. Full-boogie Simpson harnesses combined with color-matched Cerullo race buckets make you one with the truck. No, really — the seats not only lock the driver and passenger into a solid and safe position, but make driving this brick at 95 mph in a curve a thrill, or so we’ve been told. Outside of a Caddy gauge cluster and yellow trim, the dash remains stock. As for an audio system or power windows — nah: Amps, speakers, and power windows add unnecessary weight and lower track times.

With the nasty power combo, the race-ready interior, and the mean outside look complete, our next challenge was the bolt-on suspension. Sleeper Suspension Design fabbed up some parts to get traction and cornering their best. Up front is sprung with Eibach coils and QA1 shocks. Traction is kept stable to the rear tires via a custom four-link with a Panhard using Eibach’s adjustable coilovers. The traction package was completed with a set of Boyd Coddington Timeless 6 rims wrapped in BFG’s ZR rated Comp T/A. Handling and road feedback were improved by use of a 195/45R18 tire in the front while traction is beefed up with a wide 265/35R18 in the rear.

After everything was said and done, the Hot Truck could easily outdrive almost anything Yenko or COPO put to the street. Although many hours were spent on the phone, success came by way of bolt-on parts only. What does this mean? Well, quite a bit to us enthusiasts. Now anyone with a chunk of change, a telephone, and some wrenching skills can make a Sierra into a true screamer on the street.


Billet Specialties
La Grange, 60526
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Advanced Flow Engineering
Corona, CA 92879
Magna Charger
Ventura, CA 93003
Eibach Springs Inc.
Irvine, CA 92614
The Turbo Shop
Compton, CA 90220
Corona, CA
QA1 Precision Products, Inc.
Lakeville, MN 55044,
Street Scene
Garden Grove, CA 92841
(714) 799-9226
Sleeper Suspension Design
La Verne, CA 91750
Cerullo Inc.
Pomona, CA 91767
Kool Kustoms and Hot Rods
Compton, CA 90504
Simpson Racing Belts, from Summit
Akron, OH 44309
Snug Top
Long Beach, CA 90813
Whittier, CA 90601
Year One (emblems)
Tucker, GA 30085



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