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.
Paco is so dedicated to the pursuit of excellence with this truck that it required us to shoot it twice. After the first shoot, he went back to work on the truck, making it work even better and upping the style quotient with new mods. Paco loves to race, and traction is at a premium when you are trying to hook up on 30-series rubber. Rather than run slicks, Paco swapped in a 4x4 system taken from an '08 Chevy Silverado Z-71. Four-wheel-drive on a lowered truck-that's what we were wondering. According to Paco, he engages the automatic system using an MSD timer that keeps the four wheels working for approximately two seconds during holeshots and then switches to two-wheel-drive mode once the truck gains traction. The system eats up a bit of power due to parasitic losses but more than makes up for it by keeping the tires from spinning obnoxiously while the competition takes off. Does it work? Paco says he's already smoked three Z06 and ZR1 Corvettes and a 2010 Camaro with the truck.
You want a recipe for sport truck success? Start with smoked 'Vette for dinner and a Camaro for a late night snack-that is the diet of a real sport truck. It's not easy, but Paco has it figured out and is quite philosophical about taking down opponents behind the wheel of his Chevy. He says, "It's nothing personal, it's just business".
600 horsepower 2006 Corvette LS7 427ci V-8 / 90mm intake and heads ported and polished / custom camshaft with .239 intake and .268 exhaust lift @.050 inch with a 116 degree centerline / Kooks 1 7/8-inch headers / Aeromotive A1000 electric fuel pump / Speedtech dry nitrous and plate nitrous systems / 4L60-E automatic overdrive tranny / factory rearend narrowed 5 inches per side / Borla dual exhaust / custom driveshaft / K&N FIPK air intake
By: Late Model Ingens (port work) / G Force (tuning) / Juan's Transmissions
Front: 24x9 Intro Twisted Vista with 5 inches of backspacing and custom-painted centers
Rear: 24x12 Intro Twisted Vista with 5 inches of backspacing and custom-painted centers
Front: 315/30ZR24 Pirelli PZero
Rear: 405/25ZR24 Pirelli PZero
Front: Belltech 2-inch drop spindles and 2-inch lowering springs
Rear: Belltech axle flip kit
Accessories: Corvette ZR-1 disc brakes with cross-drilled SSBC rotors
Custom Street Scene Chevy HD hood / HD bumper with center filled in / '08 dualie 3500 grille / Cadillac Escalade headlights
By: Marciano's Paint & Body, Pasadena, Texas
PPG Electron Blue Metallic with SS logos on the doors, hood, and tailgate
By: Ruben Munjos Jr. and Jason Martinez of Patinum Collision in Midland, Texas / Jerry Collazo Jr. (airbrushing)
Black and gray leather covers seats and doors / '09 Chevy Tahoe center console splits the front bucket seats
Marciano's Paint & Body, Ruben, and Jason