Paca Montalvo • Baytown, Texas
'08 Chevy Silverado

A lot of the trucks on the road get by on their good looks, attracting attention with loud paint, a hammered stance, and huge wheels. There's nothing wrong with that. Lookin' good is half the battle. Though many of these rides are sporty, they aren't true sport trucks. It's one thing to nail the stance when building a truck, and you'll also score bonus points with us if you can pull off a paint scheme that won't look dated in a couple of years, but if you want real kudos, or a cover shot, then you've got to build the total package. A truck that runs as good or better than it looks is what this mag' is all about, and merely stuffing a big motor into your ride won't cut it. Paco Montalvo knows all too well that building a balanced ride requires more from the builder than just swapping engines and finding the right backspacing for a big set of wheels.

"The hard part was getting the combo right for the big motor, big tires, and rearend gearing. Matching all of that to the camshaft and torque converter wasn't easy, but blowing away Corvettes from an 80-mph roll is worth the hassle," says Montalvo.

Paco is a Chevy guy and a speed freak. He sold his last truck, an '02 Silverado powered by a 408ci stroker engine and a healthy shot of nitrous oxide, before picking up this truck from a friend who was about to lose it to the repo man. He had no plans to build a truck at that time, but the payoff on the loan was a mere $12,000, so he bought it, sent it to the body shop, and started acquiring parts to build a monster. This truck puts his old one to shame in the power department and on all other fronts.

While Marciano's Paint & Body gave the truck a facelift, Paco got busy under the hood, swapping the anemic LS1 for something better-a fire-breathing LS7. Without any power adders, the 427 LS7 powerplant, which originally powered a Corvette, pumps out 600 hp in naturally aspirated form. Power output is enhanced dramatically with a ported intake and cylinder heads, a better bumpstick, and a 90mm throttle body. Whenever he runs short of pedal power, Paco also has another 275 hp on tap via two Speedtech nitrous oxide systems. The first stage comes via a plate system that directs fuel and N2O right at the throttle body. The second stage is a dry system that injects N2O into the air intake, relying on the factory fuel injection to add the right amount of fuel. A Borla exhaust system takes whatever is left over from the combustion process and spits it out of 4-inch pipes.

The appeal of this Chevy goes way beyond the engine though. Without dramatic styling changes, Paco's truck still attracts maximum attention. The rumble of the exhaust is matched by an SS influence, which is tastefully applied via airbrushed logos. Paco didn't go overboard with body mods. Instead, he focused on the truck's performance, choosing only to alter the body in ways that enhanced the factory lines, rather than disrupt them with a welder and some filler panels. The stock hood and bumper were swapped for Street Scene HD units, and the front bumper was plastic-welded, which resulted in a smooth appearance thanks to the deleted center opening. The front end was also beefed up with a grille taken from a late-model dualie, and Cadillac Escalade taillights replace the stock parts. The streetwise look is completed with PPG Electron Blue Metallic paint that mimics the paintjob of a new Corvette.