We’ve all been there, wanting to build our dream vehicle, something great looking and equally capable, powerful and fun to drive. For Jimmy Portale of Niles, Ohio, the idea to build his dream truck came about long before picking up his ’15 Chevy Silverado 2500HD in late 2015. It was a run-of-the-mill stock 6.0L Vortec-powered rig, but Jimmy knew the truck had potential. With a solid plan and the right parts, he knew his truck could deliver, doing everything from turning heads to keeping up with his active outdoor lifestyle.
With some ideas in mind, Jimmy linked up with friend and fellow Bow Tie builder Jeff Cleer of Voodoo Customs to help bring the plan to reality. Affectionately named “Gunner,” this truck reflects Jimmy’s firearm hobby and being outdoors along with his favorite color, lime green. “Nothing beats a black truck when it’s all shined up,” Jimmy says. While that may be true, it’s not easy to photograph them, which is why you see so few black trucks featured in magazines. But, there’s something about the Nevada desert reflecting on the body that just makes this truck “pop,” lime green accents and all.
Overall, this build came out just like Jimmy wanted—definitely custom but not overbuilt to the point it can’t be driven around—and it is used by Jimmy as his daily driver and weekend warrior. This truck carries as much form as it does function—it’s right at home cruising the highway or exploring the backcountry.
The Silverado took 10 months to build as Jimmy and Jeff systematically planned and customized parts prior to install. Right from the start they knocked out the big mods, installing the BDS 6 1/2-inch high-clearance lift system to clear 37-inch Mickey Thompson tires on 22x12 Hostile wheels. From there, the transformation moved onto Go Rhino! bumpers and steps, a Warn winch, C4 LED lighting, Overkill Fabrications grille, RKSport hood, UnderCover tonneau cover, and performance mods. As the build came together, it attracted the interest of Gibson exhaust and other companies, which landed the truck a spot to display at shows like the Carlisle Truck Nationals, 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals and the 2016 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. With almost a year of events and daily use under its belt, Jimmy says the Silverado has been everything he hoped his truck would be. As with all truck builds, this one is not finished and Jimmy has more plans to continue building the truck up.
At A Glance
Vehicle: ’15 Chevy Silverado 2500HD
Owner: Jimmy Portale
Stomping grounds: Niles, Ohio
Build time: 10 months
Engine: GM 6.0L V-8
Transmission: 6L90 six-spd
Transfer case(s): MP1625 two-spd
Low range ratio(s): 2.61:1
Crawl ratio(s): 43:1
Front axle/differential: Stock, 4.10:1 gears/open
Rear axle/differential: Stock, 4.10 gears/G80 locker
The extra altitude under the truck comes from a BDS Suspension 6 1/2-inch high-clearance suspension system. This kit keeps the torsion bars tucked up close to the frame to maximize ground clearance and includes frontend skidplates for increased off-road protection. Screaming Turtle Specialty Coatings in Warren, Ohio, powdercoated all the components in Illusion Green Ice. Fox 2.0 Performance Series remote-reservoir IFP shocks were added to offer a smooth ride over any terrain and a set of Zone Offroad Adventure Series upper control arms replace the factory stamped-steel arms. Along with a stronger, fully boxed design, these arms improve ball joint positioning to allow for more downtravel.
Front: BDS 6.5-in high clearance system, Zone Offroad adventure series UCAs, Fox 2.0 remote-reservoir shocks
Rear: BDS 5-in block with U-bolt flip, Fox 2.0 remote-reservoir shocks
For wheels and tires, the theme of form and function is continued. Mickey Thompson 37x13.50R20 Baja ATZ P3 tires have an aggressive all-terrain pattern, a 10-ply sidewall, and smooth, quiet operation on the road. The wheels are 22x12 Hostile Sprockets in Asphalt Black finish.
Tires: 37x13.50x22 Mickey Thompson ATZ P3
Wheels: 22x12 Hostile Sprocket
Lighting: BaileyBuilt headlights, C4 Off-Road Products LEDs
Armor: Go Rhino! BR10 front bumper, Go Rhino! BR20 rear bumper
Cool stuff: RKSport ram-air hood, Overkill Fabrications grille, UnderCover Elite LX tonneau cover, Bullet Liner bedliner, Roadwire seat skins, US Night Vision Kryptek camo-wrapped dash, Switch-Pros SP 8100 Switch Panel Power System
Up front, the stock plastic grille and flimsy chrome bumper were pulled off, and in their place, some custom color-matched replacements were bolted in. For the grille, Jimmy went with a custom-built mesh unit from Overkill Fabrications. Adding extra front end brawn is a Go Rhino! BR10 front bumper that houses the Warn Zeon 12-S Platinum winch and C4 Off-Road Products LED lighting.
Capping off the front end is an RKSport fiberglass hood. This ram-air hood transforms the look and is fully functional to help pull cool, fresh air to the engine. Under the hood, the stock 6.0L Vortec V-8 remains relatively unmodified and provides reliable service for Jimmy’s adventures on-road and off the beaten path. The stock 360hp/380–lb-ft performance numbers are bumped up thanks to an Airaid intake and Gibson dual exhaust system. TCD Performance in Warren, Ohio, built a custom tune for the DiabloSport programmer to maximize the engine output.
Inside, the dash and console pieces are wrapped in Kryptek camo from US Night Vision. The seats feature Roadwire black leather skins with lime green diamond stitching. The glove box customizing comes from the Metal Mulisha man himself, Brian Deegan, who autographed the dash at an event last summer when the truck was on display in the Gibson Performance Exhaust booth.
Out back, the bed is sprayed with a custom color-matched green Bullet Liner from Dullins Designs in Willoughby, Ohio. A Bedrug bed mat is added for extra protection of his gear. A pair of UnderCover SwingCases were added and the entire bed is capped off with an UnderCover Elite LX tonneau cover, painted to match the factory black color.
The tail end of the truck is fit with a Go Rhino! RB20 bumper with integrated backup sensors, flush-mount C4 LED pods, and other mods. Underneath, the suspension is modified with a set of BDS 5-inch rear blocks and U-bolt flip kit. FOX 2.0 remote-reservoir shocks help keep the suspension under control when hitting rough terrain. Fit in place of the stock spare tire is a Hornblasters 544 Nightmare Edition train horn system.
Attention to detail is key to building an eye-catching truck. Jimmy and Jeff highlighted key components and added custom touches throughout the build, including the suspension, wheels, and throughout the interior and front end.