More often than people are willing to admit, trucks become burdens during the build process. Somewhere along the line of customizing, the owner thinks about selling the truck or, if really perturbed, just giving it away. Hal Kinder got his hands on a killer custom truck in the almost-completed stage when his friend Brett Myers gave up on it and handed it over.
Although the truck gives the appearance of a cleanly modified stocker, almost everywhere you look, the GMC has seen the velvety touch of a customizer's hand. The actual frame of Hal's North Carolina truck is still in a mostly original configuration, but a C-notch was welded into the rear portion for axle clearance because of the pneumatic, adjustable suspension. These early model GMC trucks were fitted with a three-link-style rear suspension system with coils, and Hal chose to leave that alone but with one good change: Out went the coils and in went Air Ride Technologies airbags for a serious ground-hugging stance. Turnabout is fair play, so the front coils joined their brethren in the parts heap, while Air Ride front 'bags do duty in their place. Adding to the tarmac-licking stance are Early Classic Enterprise 2-inch drop spindles with disc brakes. Billet adorns each rolling corner in the form of Colorado Custom Telluride wheels measuring 18x8 inches up front and 20x10 inches out back. Sticky Michelin XT-120 rubber keeps the old GMC on the road in the curves with sizes 235/40ZR18 and 295/40ZR20 at the front and rear, respectively. Slowing the suspension travel over the humps and bumps of the North Carolina country roads are KYB nitrogen-charged shocks.
Under the hood, a GM Performance Parts 350ci small-block was laid in the engine mounts. Taking the place of the factory-installed bumpstick is a Comp Cams version. The exhaust consists of Sanderson ceramic shorty headers mated to a Flowmaster 40-Series muffler. For visual impact, Hal's had his truck set up with Lokar oil and tranny dipsticks, Billet Specialties pulleys, valve covers, and air cleaner, and Zoops billet alternator and A/C brackets. A Proform distributor and Taylor plug wires make the boom in the cylinders, while the Edelbrock carb' grabs fuel from a 16-gallon stainless fuel cell mounted in the bed. Following the mild 350 is a TCI-prepped Turbo 350 automatic transmission. The stock driveshaft spins a 3.42-equipped Moser rearend narrowed 4 inches and fitted with drum brakes.
Enveloping all the power and chassis work is an all-steel shell. The GMC dual headlight front clip was foregone for a Chevy single light unit. Fit to the factory Bow Tie grille shell are a Stull billet grille and Lucas headlights. Out back, the stock tailgate was shaved smooth, and a ZR1 Corvette roll pan was mounted underneath. Topping the bed is a Gaylord fiberglass tonneau. In between, the driprails were removed, and the side marker lights and fuel filler hole in the cab met their maker by way of a MIG welder. With the body in arrow-straight condition and ready for color, Hal handed the project off to Jeff McNeill of Jeff McNeill Design for a dousing of PPG Torch Red.
Brett Myers, who originally began this project, had the dubious honor of inserting audio gear. An employee of Audio Excellence, Brett placed a Sony head unit in the stocker's location before moving on to the Kicker amps that pump high-energy signals to mids and highs in the A-pillar and kick panels. Subs move the bass from behind the GMC's seat where the original fuel tank used to reside. The rest of the interior's needs came to fruition through the help of Helms Auto Upholstery. Black tweed was used throughout, with the burlap-like material covering a reworked stock bench seat, rod doors, door panels, and headliner. Black wool does the floor up nicely. For a little shine against the stark black, a Billet Specialties steering wheel mates to the factory steering column, and Nordskog digital gauges make a sick statement from behind a smoked face. For safety, Simpson 3-inch lap belts were employed on both the driver and passenger sides.
Since completing this sensational shortie, Hal has seen his share of trophies from runs like Goodguys and GMC/Chevy Nats. We guess that if you are going to buy a mostly done truck, then make sure it is mostly done right. Can you imagine the jealousy Brett Myers must be feeling? Brett, we think you screwed up big time, but we'll forgive you because Hal managed to make lemonade from your lemons.