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BOOSTED – 800hp 2014 GM 5.3L Ecotech3

The Sports Car Killer

Every horsepower-obsessed guy dreams of one day being able to drive a vehicle that can smoke would-be competitors in street races on a regular basis. Maybe it’s due in part to all of the car movies we watched growing up, or it’s some deeply rooted drive to be able to kick the next guy’s ass in competition. Regardless of the reason, the feeling exists, and once the speed bug bites, there’s no going back.

There are already a fair amount of muscle cars on the road, which is pretty immaterial to dudes who prefer trucks. But for those who want to go fast in a truck, the situation can appear especially bleak. The vast majority of pickups are built for comfort and purpose, and speed ain’t one of those purposes.

THE DENALI GRILLE ADDS TO THE GMC’S INTIMIDATING STARE-DOWN CAPABILITY. THE FRONT BUMPER WAS CONSTRUCTED FROM SHEET METAL AND SECTIONED 2 INCHES TO SIT FLUSH WITH THE GRILLE.

Chaps Diaz is a fan of bending speed limits. He’s also drawn to trucks, namely the Sierra seen here. When he first bought it, he wasn’t too keen on painting it or making it look overly flashy. He was more concerned with making it go fast, so the first thing he did was put a plan in motion that called for a set of twin Precision turbos. That got things cookin’.

Maybe it’s due in part to all of the car movies we watched growing up, or it’s some deeply rooted drive to be able to kick the next guy’s ass in competition. Whatever the reason, the feeling exists, and once the speed bug bites, there’s no going back.”

Back then the truck wore only its factory-issued blue paint, which made it a bit of a sleeper. The mostly stock appearance was unassuming and didn’t reveal what was lurking underneath the hood. It might have tricked more than a few takers into an impromptu street race heavily stacked in Chaps’ favor. By the time they figured out what he was packing, it was already too late. “I had gone to TMS Speed Shop in Mission, Texas, to help tune the engine,” he says. “With the use of their custom boost camshaft to help the Precision turbos spool better, I felt it would still be capable of driving across the U.S., giving the truck the opportunity to have some sports cars for breakfast along the way.” This phase of the truck’s life lasted a solid two years before a healthy restyling was in order. “I loved the nice and clean look, but I wanted a truck that would look classy all laid out with the extra fine details and a hot-rod appearance when cruising down the highway.”

TC AUTOWORKS COOKED UP A FOUR-PIECE SHEET METAL ENGINE COVER THAT REINS IN CLUTTER AND DISPLAYS THE TWIN TURBOS NICELY.

Chaps quickly discovered that a complete redesign was far more work than he initially anticipated. Not only was he trying to figure out which parts to get, but he also was trying to get them to work in harmony. “I had so many different styling ideas that would come and go, and I was really hoping to settle on things that would flow. My patience was definitely tested when a few things had to be redone or rethought to make right. Simple ideas like debating on doing bodywork and bead rolling inside of the bed, and what color spray-in bed liner would look better, or if going with a flat clear in order to emphasize the detailed metalwork would look best. These types of things were keeping me up at night.”

COGNACCOLORED LEATHER SEATING BY KATZKIN, MATCHING PANELS AND A TRANSPLANTED DENALI DASH KEEP THE CAB STREAMLINED AND TIDY.

Once a certain point in any job is reached a clear path often presents itself. It has to, right? “When it came time to discuss the paint, there was no real issue deciding. I had seen the custom-mixed paint by the guys at Auto Paint Specialist in McAllen, Texas. The color caught my eye, even in the dark lighting. I could only imagine what it would look like under the sun.” Tony Castro of TC Autoworks took the specially formulated orange and sprayed it as the Sierra’s base color and selected a candy red for the old school flame graphics. The combo worked perfectly and is far beyond the realm of the factory single-stage OE paint. “TC Autoworks is one of the best paint shops in South Texas, and Tony was so receptive of the ideas I presented him with. Once he got going, the truck quickly surpassed the level we planned to stop at.”

THE BED WAS RAISED 6 INCHES TO CLEAR THE NOTCHED FRAME, AND A STOCK-LIKE APPEARANCE WAS PRESERVED FOR THE CLEANEST LOOK POSSIBLE. CUSTOM BEAD-ROLLED DETAILING ON THE WALLS HELPS MAINTAIN THE AESTHETIC.

TWENTY-SIX-INCH WHEELS NOT ONLY FILL UP NEARLY EVERY AVAILABLE INCH OF FENDER SPACE, BUT THEY ALSO ARTFULLY FRAME THE UPGRADED WILWOOD BRAKING COMPONENTS BEHIND THEM.

Highlights of Tony’s magic included a one-off sheet-metal front bumper sectioned 2 inches to sit flush with the grille, and a rear bumper that was bead rolled on top to simulate the look of the original plastic. These along with the bead-rolled panels inside the bed kicked up the heat on the restyle without seeming to try too hard. The guys were banking on killing the crowd with technicalities and attention to the finest of details with these modifications. When it came time to settle on rolling gear, Chaps wanted to give his truck a wheel that nobody else had. The Billet Stop in Arlington, Texas, was more than happy to oblige. The resulting design was dubbed the Boosted 6 Concave wheel: 26×9 up front and 26×12 at the rear. “The wheels were named after the truck since they were built specifically around [it],” Chaps says with pride.

FOR THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF POP, CANDY-PAINTED FLAMES AND GREEN PINSTRIPING BY TONY CASTRO CAME TOGETHER FOR A TRADITIONAL, TIMELESS DESIGN.

With the truck’s exterior looking dramatically different, the focus was shifted inside the cab where a more streamlined approach was taken. A 2015 Denali SUV dash swap was conducted, and cognac-colored leather seat covers from Katzkin were ordered to get a jump on the interior overhaul. The door panels, along with the rest of the plastic, were color-matched. From front to back, inside and out, no shortcuts were taken to get the truck to the physical condition where it currently sits. It’s low. It’s fast. It’s impossible to miss. Extreme care was poured into every aspect of its re-creation, and it shows.

THE CUSTOM SHEET METAL REAR BUMPER FEATURES UPPER BEAD-ROLLED DETAILS TO SIMULATE THE FORM OF THE ORIGINAL PLASTIC, AS WELL AS CTS-STYLE EXHAUST TIPS.

…no shortcuts were taken to get the truck to the physical condition where it currently sits. It’s low. It’s fast. It’s impossible to miss.”

Will Chaps set out on the countrywide slaughter-fest he mentioned? Possibly. It’s much too soon to tell. He might work out some minor tweaks before heading out to hunt for sports car prey. “Stock is boring,” he says. Even if the stock condition is performance driven, it’s going to take some real work to meet Chaps on his level.

THE INSIDE OF THE HEADLIGHTS WAS PAINTED TO MAINTAIN A SMOOTH TRANSITION OF THE FLAME LAYOUT.

 

TRUCK SPECS

OWNER

Chaps Diaz  
2014 GMC Sierra
Mission, TX
Ground Zero

ENGINE

  • Shop: TMS Speed Shop
  • 2014 GM 5.3L Ecotech3
  • 800 hp
  • GMC 4L60 auto transmission
  • 62/66 billet Precision twin turbos
  • TMS Speed Shop custom boost camshaft
  • 4-inch diesel exhaust to minimize twin-turbo noise
  • Magnaflow mufflers
  • Custom sheet metal bead-rolled four-piece engine cover by TC Autoworks

 CHASSIS & SUSPENSION

  • Shop: John at Chassis Fab
  • Chassis Fab custom narrow track upper and lower A arms
  • McGaughy’s 2-inch drop spindles
  • Rear 2-link with Ridetech Shockwave ’bags
  • Wilwood front and rear TC6R big brake kits
  • Wilwood booster and master cylinder

WHEELS & TIRES

  • 26×9 and 26×12 Prestige Forged Boosted 6 Concave wheels by Jose ay The Billet Stop
  • 255/30R26 and 305/30R26 Lexani tires

BODY & PAINT

  • Shop: Tony Castro at TC Autoworks
  • Auto Paint Specialties special orange paint mixtures
  • Candy red flames and contrasting green pinstriping by Tony Castro
  • Custom one-piece front bumper built from scratch
  • Sheet metal bead-rolled rear bumper to work with top plastic, grooved and molded CTS exhaust tips
  • Bed raised 6 inches to clear C-notched rear frame
  • Bead-rolled inner bed walls
  • Inner fender wells outfitted with custom bead-rolled sheet metal
  • Denali grille with Denali inserts in one-off bumper
  • Taillights tinted red to delete reverse clear lens
  • Headlights open-painted to match flames

INTERIOR & STEREO

  • Shop: David Gomez at Classic Trim and Juan Alaniz at Audio Shop
  • Katzkin cognac-colored leather seat covers
  • 2015 Denali SUV dashboard swap
  • Suede headliner
  • Pioneer 5700 head unit
  • dB Drive P9 speakers
  • dB Drive 2000-watt amp
  • Sundown Audio 8-inch X Series subwoofer
  • Optima Yellow Top battery

Special Thanks From the Owner: “I want to thank my wife who kept persuading me to keep going. Thanks to my friends and family who all helped, not just on the build, but by helping in any kind of way. Also, thanks to my Ground Zero family that keeps pushing our lifestyle to the limitt.”