John Melvin of Laveen, Arizona, is nothing, if not a character. Standing 6-foot, 1-inch, or so, with a slight accent and a positive attitude about trucks that's infectious, he brings a fresh take to the scene. For example, when we met John at a photo shoot in Scottsdale, he brought the SS you see on these pages in the back of a huge enclosed trailer, towed by an '05 Silverado crew-cab dualie all decked out in SS trim and boasting 479 horses. Not two weeks later, when we set up another shoot to capture his race truck doing what it does best, we found out that he had traded in the old tow truck for a new '06 Crew Cab HD, and it was already lifted on 20s.
See, John owns a bodyshop out in Laveen, named JM Collison Center. There, he does all the usual things you'd expect from a guy who runs a shop; he repairs quarter panels, fixes dents, and sprays things all day long. The business is doing great, and he decided to expand it a bit and add a new branch to the company, called JM Custom Concepts. There, John uses his creative talents to bring out trucks with killer graphics, nutty paintjobs, and super-straight lines. Along the way, John hooked up with Scott and Kevin Bartling of Bartling Motorsports in Queen Creek, and they got him going fast as well. Together, they've teamed up on a lot of projects, with John making them pretty, and Scott and Kevin making them fast.
This all came about when John first bought the truck a few years ago and took it to the track. It pulled a 15.3 e.t., which wasn't real inspiring to him since his tow rig, a heavy '03 Chevy powered by a Duramax diesel, was already running a 14.7 e.t. John did have another motor, a 408cid stroker, that he was going to put into another truck--an '02 Chevy--but since that project wasn't going anywhere, he figured he'd put the bottle on his SS in the meantime. The first time out with the laughing gas on tap, the SS ripped off a 12.88 e.t. Then, at Firebird Raceway in 2003, he pulled a 12.65 e.t., putting it at the top of the list of the Silveradoss.com forums, a spot it's held ever since. With the need for speed now coursing through his veins, John needed to step it up. It took a bit of time, but he got a Vortech supercharger kit for the truck, which helped it knock down a few low-12 second passes. After some tweaks and a belt change, the truck rocketed into the high 11s on the squeeze, and John was a happy man.
Not everyone shared his enthusiasm, though. His truck's performance and his online presence started a huge trash-talking war between John and some of the guys with Ford Lightnings on their respective online forums. John ended up smoking one of the Ford crew with a mid-11 second pass during a showdown, and between the smack talking and the other rule restrictions, John ended up getting put on probation by the NHRA. It's all been worked out now, and John's even building a Lightning with the crew at Bartling right now.
It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to make a truck this fast, as well as keep it looking this good. From the attention to detail under the hood to the flawless black paint, this is one truck that looks amazing going down the track in the 11s.
Owner/hometown: John Melvin / Laveen, Arizona
Year/make/model: '03 Chevrolet Silverado SS
Engine/drivetrain: 6.0L V-8 / factory all-wheel drive / 4L65E automatic transmission / Level 10 stall / custom shift kit / Vortech supercharger kit with custom ice box / ported throttle body / NX Nitrous system / Jessel rockers / JBA headers / nitrous purge in cowl / AIRAID intake / custom dual Flowmaster exhaust with X-pipe / HP Tuning software / MSD pump booster / billet nitrous bottle holder / NX Nitrous controller / electric fans / JBA spark plug wires / all work performed by Scott and Kevin Bartling at Bartling Motorsports in Queen Creek, Arizona
Wheels/tires: 20-inch Weld Switchblades / 295/50 Falken Z04s
Race Wheels/tires: 18-inch Weld Switchblades / 305/45 Nitto Drag Radials
Suspension: 2/4 Belltech drop kit / installed by JM Custom Concepts, of Laveen, Arizona
Fabricator: John Melvin at JM Custom Concepts, in Laveen, Arizona / Scott and Kevin Bartling at Bartling Motorsports in Queen Creek, Arizona
Body Mods: Gaylord Speedster tonneau cover / BSER roll pan / Precision billet grilles / Keystone ram-air cowl hood / shaved tailgate / smoothed GM mirrors / carbon-fiber look taillights / smoothed and painted underhood plastic / all work performed by John Melvin at JM Custom Concepts in Laveen, Arizona
Custom Paint: Factory black with silver racing stripes / all work performed by John Melvin at JM Custom Concepts in Laveen, Arizona
Interior: Factory black leather / center console modified for fan override switch / bottle heater / nitrous purge switch / remote bottle opener / three-pillar gauge with nitrous pressure, boost, and fuel psi / boost gauge and air/fuel gauges