Hill’s Hot Rods and JD Glassworks Build one Style and Power-Packed Tahoe

February 2nd, 2011

Text and Photos by Travis Noack

Andrew Weaver, 1999 Chevy Tahoe, Snyder, TX

Nothing beats the sound of a raspy power plant radiating through the pipes as a set of big billets spins in the fenders and your favorite jams pound through an arsenal of precision-tuned audio gear. Of course, the experience of driving our custom trucks is heightened when there are a few extra ponies under the hood to unleash. Andrew Weaver of Snyder, Texas, is a hot rod and horsepower junkie at heart, and just so happens to have a predilection for late model trucks and SUVs that join retro influences with modern style.

When he began entertaining the idea of building the retina-burning red two-door Tahoe displayed across these pages, it was, according to Andrew, to have something cool to cruise and play with while his other projects were in the works. As with most builds Weaver’s in-between truck turned into a showstopper just like all the others that have occupied his garage over the years.

The project kicked off at Hill’s Hot Rods in Lubbock, Texas, where Jason Hill and his crew of metal craftsman dug into the Tahoe and took the stance down a peg or two. A large C-section was cut into the rear frame, and an Ektensive Metalworks 2-link was modified and tucked under the back end to keep the rearend centered and planted. Ridetech 2600 airbags lift and slam the Tahoe’s tail end, while Ridetech front suspension with 2600 airbags and Belltech spindles force the Tahoe’s leading edge down to street-sweeping levels. Baer six-piston front and four-piston rear brakes quell the 425 hp shaking under the hood, while 22 x 8.5-inch front and 22 x 10-inch rear Intro Retro series billet wheels mounted on low pro Nittos cap off the Tahoe’s underbelly. The factory fuel tank was sectioned and tucked up higher inside the rear frame rails to be concealed behind the rear roll pan.

Diving into the body and paintwork, the leading edge of the Tahoe was updated with a smooth front bumper and Carriage Works 30-bar billet grille mounted in a GMC grille shell. Moving rearward, the fender openings were sectioned and lowered 2 ¼ inches to conceal more of the front 22s. The door handles, roof rack, taillights, barn door handle and factory fuel door were shaved clean off for a slick and smooth finish from nose to tail. A custom flush-mounted small diameter fuel door from Hot Match Cycles was integrated into the rear metal work for a clean and custom path to the Tahoe’s octane chamber. AVS LED taillights flush mounted into the molded Sir Michaels steel roll pan provide incognito stop and turn indicators until Weaver stomps on the brake pedal and the extra bright LEDs ignite. After the Hill’s Hot Rods crew finished shaping this late model bullet, Jason rolled the Tahoe into the booth and sprayed the two-tone red paint scheme separated by orange and copper beltline graphics tipped in green pinstriping. The PPG hues were sealed with PPG clear and the finish was cut and polished to a rich luster.

Unsatisfied with the Tahoe’s wheezy factory 5.7L, Weaver commissioned Hill’s Hot Rods to rip the factory mill from the mounts and install a Corvette LS-6 power plant. The 425-hp LS-6 breathes through JBA ceramic-coated headers hooked to a custom exhaust by Joe Flynn at A&B Muffler echoing the power growls through Magnaflow mufflers. A Spal fan assembly keeps operating temperatures in check, while a Street & Performance air cleaner flows clean air into ports. A Billet Specialties Tru Trac polished pulley system rolls the motor over, and a freshened 4L60-E transmission, spinning a custom driveshaft by Driveline Express, gets the power to the rear 22s. To flow the smooth hot rod theme under the hood, the Hill’s crew built custom inner fender panels and a custom core support and engine cover all drenched in red.

After the body was smoothed and painted to perfection and the Tahoe was armed with some asphalt-assaulting horsepower, Jimmy Davis of JD Glassworks installed a custom Roadwire upholstery kit comprised of gray leather and suede. Jimmy built a custom console to flow between the seats and house the switches and gauges for the air ride. A Kenwood DDX712 CD head unit was relocated in the dash and backed by Infinity Kappa 800X1 and 125×4 amplifiers delivering jams to a total of eight bass-pounding Infinity REF 860W subwoofers. Filling in the space between bass hits are PR Infinity REF 6030CS speakers in the front doors and PR Infinity REF6032 speakers mounted in the rear barn doors. After the spine-vibrating sound was installed, the connections were made with Stinger wiring and accessories and two Stinger batteries. Jimmy completed the install by wrapping the audio enclosures in matching, custom upholstery.

Andrew Weaver’s Tahoe is a rolling example of classic hot rod touches and late model sport truck style rolled into one. The balance of hot rod performance and smooth street rod styling make it a hit with young and old audiences alike, as the old guys drool on the LS-6 and the smooth body and the kids trip over their tongues when the fenders are dropped down over the billet double deuces. We can’t wait to see what Weaver builds next while he is “in between” projects.

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