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Is This a Sierra or Silverado 1500?

Either way, Tom Pardini’s rig slays bumps and rocks!

We'll cut right to it: What you see here is a 2002 Chevy Silverado 1500 in the single-cab shortbed variety. Yes, we know that's a Sierra grille, and that's the way Tom Pardini built it.

We met Tom and his 2002 Chevy Silverado 1500 outside the 2020 King of the Hammers race in Johnson Valley, California, where he was working as crew chief for the Jesse Balter family Ultra4 race team. Tom took a break from race prep to show us how his Silverado worked in the dirt.

Scroll through this brief recap of Tom's 2002 Chevy Silverado 1500 build, but for the full story and exclusive pictures of the rig, be sure to check out the March 2021 issue of Four Wheeler magazine where magazines are sold on January 22, 2021.

Silverado 1500 LQ4 Engine Swap

Tom's 2002 Chevy Silverado trail rig gets its power from a 6.0L V-8 with a build sheet including LS2 heads, a Holley Sniper EFI and fuel rails, LS9 lifters, Bosch 42-pound injectors, and much more. What's it make? Tom tells us it puts out 500 hp and 520 lb-ft of torque.

SAS Silverado 1500

Out with the IFS and in with a Dana 60 donated by a 1986 Ford. Inner Cs from Reid Racing, Kingpin knuckles, an Artec truss, and much else went into beefing up the 1-ton axle. Traction comes from a Yukon Zip locker, and 4.10 gears help spin his tires.

Four-Link Suspension for the 2002 Silverado 1500

With some help from Jesse Balter, Tom built a four-link suspension to locate the Dana 60 under the Silverado. King 2.5 coilovers give the axle 14 inches of travel, and King bumpstops damp the last few inches of movement.

Crawler Gears?

Tom's NV4500 sends power through an NP241/205 doubler before it's split between his axles.

1-Ton Silverado 1500 Rear Axle

With a spool and 4.10 gears for traction, King 2.5 coilovers for soaking up the bumps, and a custom-built, dual-triangulated, four-link suspension to hold it under the Silverado, Tom's rearend is overbuilt for trail duty.

Silverado With Pit Bull Rockers

Beadlocks and 39.5-inch Pit Bull rockers glue the Silverado onto the rocks.

Tube Bed

To make sure there's plenty of space for the 1-ton axles and big rubbers to flex while still having space for spare tires and trail gear, Tom built a tube bed for the Silverado. Aluminum panels dress the tube work, and the entire structure is blended into the vehicle's rollcage. Even with spare tires, parts, and tools in the back, Tom can still see out the back glass for reverse maneuvers.

Sierra Grille?

It's all about clearance. The Sierra grille afforded just enough space to make clearing 39.5-inch tires possible on the Silverado 1500 without significantly chopping sheetmetal.

This Silverado Goes Fast!

Tom's solution to many off-road solutions involves getting his foot into the skinny pedal—hard—and the truck is built to handle it.

More Sick Hammertown Builds!