Most people that consider themselves a hot rodder or racer can think back and name the person who got them into the scene. For Marco Contreras, it was his older brother. When he was eleven, his brother built engines and let Marco help him while teaching him along the way. He quickly learned how internal combustion engines operate and how to get more horsepower out of them. Little did he know back then that he’d eventually own one very wicked turbo Silverado.
Getting Bit By The Racing Bug
Fast forward to adulthood, and while at work one day, his coworker and good friend, Jose Nunez, rolled up in a Silverado pickup. “I instantly fell in love with that V8 sound,” recalls Marco. “When we left work, I saw him at the light. He floored it, and the truck just sounded mean and did a crazy burnout,” he continues. At that moment, Marco told himself he had to have a truck like that to race it like his friend. So the hunt began, and although it took a while, he eventually found his truck on Craigslist and made a quick deal to purchase it.
Initially, the truck served its purpose as a daily work truck. Marco and some of his coworkers who had trucks occasionally had roll races after work. His Silverado had a stock 4.8-liter in it at the time. Even though he wasn’t setting any records, Marco was bit by the racing bug.
More Isn’t Enough
Marco’s friend, Jose, helped source a complete 6.0-liter engine that had been pulled from a wrecked Silverado SS. A deal was made with a local shop to install the 6.0 in exchange for his tired 4.8. Marco felt like the truck was a monster at that point. That is until he went to his local drag strip, Irwindale Speedway, and quickly realized he wasn’t fast at all compared to the other vehicles there. That’s when Marco knew that he would have to get serious with the build of his truck if he wanted to be competitive.
It has taken Marco approximately six years of building and perfecting it to get the truck to the level it’s at currently. His Silverado spent quite a while at MGFab of Bakersfield, California, to get it up to snuff. To start, a custom 10-point cage was fabricated along with one of MGFab’s steering columns and shifter mounts. They are also responsible for the fabrication of the rear wing.
From Work Truck To Turbo Silverado
To get his Silverado sitting a little closer to the pavement, Marco installed Viking Crusader coil overs up front with their 12-inch, 700-pound springs. In the rear, he opted for a pair of Calvert Racing mono-leafs paired with Afco Big Gun shocks. He added Calvert’s Caltrac bars and an Innovative Racecraft anti-roll bar to help plant the rear tires. Getting all the power to the ground is a Moser Fab 9 housing with their 35 spline axles & spool and 3.73 gears from Pro Gears. Marco chose WELD Alumastar wheels for rolling stock. Fronts are 17×4.5 wrapped in 27.5×4.5R17 Mickey Thompson ET Fronts. Providing traction at the rear are 15×13 double bead locks spinning 315/60R15 Mickey Thompson ET Street Pro Radials.
Going All-In On The Goal
When it came time to up the ante in the power department, Marco called on QMP Racing of Chatsworth, California. They used a Dart SHP Pro LS block for the foundation with a bore of 4.125 inches. A Callies Magnum crank was installed with a 4-inch stroke to give Marco’s LS 427 cubic inches. Molnar Power Adder rods, Wiseco pistons, and a solid roller camshaft from Cam Motion finish the short block.
A fabricated aluminum top half plenum from 417 Motorsports is bolted to the lower half of a Holley Hi-Ram intake. A Nick Williams 102 mm throttle body is used along with AFR Mongoose LS3 style cylinder heads to handle all the air this motor is moving. Fuel is fed by dual Magnafuel 750 pumps and Injector Dynamics ID1700 injectors. A Holley Dominator controls everything, and the 6.86-inch Pro Dash lets Marco keep an eye on things from the captain’s seat.
Marco figured it was a “go big or go home” situation for the turbo system. So he decided on a 94 mm Pro Mod Gen 2 from PrePrecision Turbo & Enginecision Turbo & Engine, PTE 64 mm blow-off valve, and dual PTE 66 mm waste gates. MGFab handled all the turbo piping and the dual 4-inch bumper exit exhaust. The air-to-water intercooler is from 417 Motorsports and is capable of handling 2,000hp. Marco says this combination runs between 24-26 pounds of boost, good for 1,700 horsepower at the wheels along with 1,400 foot-pounds torque.
All that power is sent through a built TH400 with a 9.5-inch Pro NSX bolt-together converter from Hughes Performance that stalls around 4,000 rpm. Marco lets the truck do the shifting with Precision Performance Products air shifter while an MGFab built a custom air-to-water trans cooler to keep temps in check.
To date, Marco’s best pass in the truck has been 8.64-seconds in the quarter-mile at 164 mph. He says he doesn’t run his truck in any particular class, mainly just testing and grudge races here and there. He feels that the truck is finally working well for him. Marco has begun making passes towards his NHRA license so he can race in sanctioned events. If you’re in the Bakersfield, California area, and you see a mean-sounding Silverado doing a wicked burnout as it pulls away from a stop light, it might be Marco in his work truck.