Tommy Lee Byrd
March 12, 2012

The heart of the small-block rides just behind the grille. It's a Precision 91mm turbocharger, with custom tubing routed to the Vortech Igloo Mondo Cooler and a huge 5-inch downpipe. Bobby Johnson fabricated the custom headers that lead to the massive turbo. To keep up with 25 pounds of boost, Ryan installed a Weldon 2025 fuel pump, an Aeromotive pressure regulator, and 160-lb/hr injectors. Ignition is handled by an MSD distributor, an MSD Digital 7 ignition box, and an MSD coil, while Taylor 10.4mm plug wires send fire to the Autolite plugs.

When Pro Line wrapped up the engine build, Ryan handed the keys to his good friend and boss Aric Carrion, who tuned the FAST XFI system to help produce 897 hp and 663 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels on VP C-16 racing fuel. Power application is handled by a Powerglide built by Steve Bradshaw at Bradshaw Performance Transmissions. The two-speed features a JW case and bell housing, Kolene steels, and Red Alto race frictions. A Precision Industries torque converter features a stall speed of 3,500 rpm.

As for aesthetics, Ryan took great care to keep his Lightning in pristine condition but had Performance Automotive freshen up the paint job with Dupont materials. A Cervini's fiberglass hood and custom rear roll pan are the only exterior body modifications, but the bed has a few new features, including larger wheeltubs (installed by Bobby Johnson), a recessed aluminum fuel cell, and a recessed Optima Red-Top battery. A Reichard Racing water tank is also recessed into the bed floor, holding fluid for the intercooler.

Inside is a 10-point rollcage installed by Straightline Chassis and a pair of Corbeau Forza racing seats wrapped in the factory cloth material. The seat backs feature custom "Lightning" embroidery, while the custom console is also wrapped in two-tone gray material. Marietta Auto Trim performed the flawless stitch work. Impact Racing harnesses keep Ryan pinned to the seat as he grips the Grant steering wheel and Cheeta SCS shifter. With plans of street driving, Ryan didn't do away with the stereo system, upgrading to Kenwood and Rockford Fosgate equipment.

An interesting fact to Ryan's Lightning buildup is that he did the majority of the work from 2002 to 2004. From there, the truck was put on the backburner, but it's currently fresh on his mind and ready for some action at the track. Ryan only had a few opportunities to test his truck before pushing it to the side, and his best eight-mile e.t. was 6.50 at 115 mph. Now that the truck has his attention once again, you can bet those personal bests will be shattered.

Either way, the truck is an awesome example of big-time horsepower and reasonable driveability. Ryan plans to upgrade the turbocharger and make a little more power, but his main intention is to get it back on the road and see how much bad weather he can stir up.

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