Photos: Chris Neprasch
Late Model Chevy Diesel at Its Finest
The long-awaited redesign of GM pickups has resulted in some great-looking diesels over the past few years. Introduced in mid-year 2007, the new GM pickup, complete with the 6.6L Duramax and Allison six-speed automatic, has made a great platform from which to build some cool-looking and fast-moving diesels. Just ask Sean Baisden of Simi Valley, California. Sean traded off his ’05 Duramax in favor of the new-bodied ’08 model and set to work building a cool custom that made its debut at the 2009 SEMA show in Las Vegas.
Starting with a great-looking platform makes producing a SEMA truck that much easier. Sean and his team at Pitbull Motor Toyz started the build with an 11-inch CST suspension system. The setup utilizes Fox remote-reservoir shocks at each corner and Hellwig front and rear swaybars for cornering stability. For added traction, the truck was also fitted with custom traction bars and helper air bags for towing out back, along with a set of Atlas leaf springs.
The huge lift provides not only a great looking stance, but lots of clearance for 40-inch Toyo Open Country M/Ts mounted on custom painted 22×10 Gear Alloy 715C wheels. With such huge rolling stock, Sean swapped out the stock front and rear gears for a set of 4.88s, which are tucked under a Mag-Hytec diff cover out back. For added range, the big Chevy was also fitted with a 54-gallon Transfer Flow fuel tank for extended range. Other upgrades include a 40-gallon frame-mounted tank for the propane system, and an on-board air compressor and tank for an air system and the truck air horns.
With 40-inch tires, you need a little more power from the stock Duramax power plant, so Sean opted to turn up the 6.6L diesel with an Injen intake system and FASS fuel system. Filtration is handled by Pure Power washable fuel, oil and trans filters. Tuning is provided via a PPE Hot Plus 4 tuner with a custom propane system from Pitbull Motor Toyz, which adds another 75 hp to the engine.
To help take away some of the parasitic drag from the factory cooling fan, and gain a few more ponies, a set of dual electric 16-inch cooling fans from SPAL were installed. Routing out the exhaust is a 4-inch turbo-back setup that feeds a pair of Silverline Black Nickel dual 8-inch stacks mounted in the bed. The stock Allison six-speed helps put the power to the ground, and gets additional cooling help from a Mag-Hytec deep sump pan. Sean claims this setup makes nearly 600 hp and over 900 lb-ft of torque, and still gets 17 mpg on the road.
With the mechanicals out of the way, attention moved to custom bodywork done by the team at Pitbull Motor Toyz in Simi Valley, California. The rear fenders were flared on the ’08 Chevy, and stretched an additional 3 inches. For an even taller stance, a 3-inch Performance Accessory body lift was added, along with a set of Amp Research power steps to make entry and exits easier. Up front, a black billet Precision grille replaces the stock unit, while an Ansani Designs custom front bumper, complete with three driving lights, replaces the stock bumper. The outside mirrors were smoothed and prepped before being shot with black paint.
Speaking of paint, the Pitbull Motor Toyz folks pulled out all the stops on the Chevy, giving the truck a base color of sandstone silver combined with gunmetal gray. Jerk’s Designs is credited with designing and applying the truck’s cool tribal flames, which are highlighted in red and silver pearl, with candy red highlights, according to Sean.
The effort on the inside is even double that of the exterior. According to Sean, nearly 40 interior pieces of the truck were pulled, sanded smooth, and painted gunmetal gray to complement the truck’s custom paint on the outside. Ramon of the Upholstery Zone in Simi Valley, worked his magic on the interior, installing black carpeting and a wine suede headliner. The dash also features a gunmetal grey suede covering, while the seating is wrapped in black leather with red suede inserts—way cool. The finishing touch was a new Grant steering wheel with a silver insert.
Since no custom truck would be complete without a killer sound system, the big Chevy is fitted with a Pioneer D-3 head unit, which feeds signal to five Rockford Fosgate amplifiers and an array of Rockford Fosgate speakers including six tweeters, four 6-inch speakers, four 5-inch speakers and twin 12-inch subs.
We caught up with Sean’s clean Chevy at last year’s SEMA show, and were immediately impressed by all the workmanship that went into making this Chevy the killer custom that it is. Sean also claims to use the truck as a daily drive, and a rolling business card for his shop, Pitbull Motor Toyz.