Buying a new house does not send most people running for the dealership to purchase a new truck. But it made sense to Rick Andrade of Placentia, California, since he needed a truck to make runs to the local home supply store to gather the necessary means for a home remodel. Of course, Rick does work at Hardin GMC in nearby Anaheim, so he wasn't exactly moving far off course to cover his needs. So this story begins with Rick trying to compromise his needs and his desires. How did it turn out? Well
Bringing the Sierra down to a more sport-like stance are components from Belltech. Wanting to keep things simple, Rick had Mike Starkweather install a 2/4 drop kit consisting of front spindles and a rear shackle/hanger combo. Rancho 9000 nine-way adjustable shocks damp road incongruities and keep the truck planted. Before the wheels could be whipped into place, provisions for some aggressive driving were torqued on. A StopTech big brake kit using massive 15-inch, two-piece rotors and four-piston calipers was put into play up front while gas-slotted factory-sized rotors were placed out back. StopTech's own braided stainless steel lines increase feel at the pedal when the squeeze is on. Rounding out the mods are highly chromed Weld Axis 6 forgings. The 20x8-1/2- and 20x9-1/2-inch offset wheels are fitted with rubber compound from Toyo, sized appropriately at 265/50ZR20 and 295/45ZR20 respectively.
Opening the hood reveals the dispute between the needs and the desires. On top of the internally stock 5.3L mill is a completely polished Radix system from MagnaCharger. Sucking air through a fluid-cooled intercooler, the blower is pushing 6 extra pounds of oxygen into the small-block's cylinders. Opening the pathway to the intake runners is a Pro-Cold air intake and a ported and polished throttle body. Once the fired gasses are spent, the Mike Hamm Engineering, long-tube, headers send them on their way. On the way out, the Gibson Extreme Duals after-cat exhaust system quiets the raging rumble. Helping feed this mad menagerie of fire are GM 8.1L big-block fuel injectors, and the fires are lit with MSD ignition wires and Denso iridium spark plugs. Keeping things cool and freeing up a bit of horsepower in effect, Rick pulled the OE clutch fan and installed one of Flex-a-lite's dual electric fans along with a 160-degree thermostat. Aft of the LS1-based motor is a 4L60E soft transmission that has been stepped up a notch with a TransGo shift kit by Dan Hunter from Hardin GMC. Turning it all into motion is a factory driveshaft turning 4.10 gears inside an Eaton posi unit upgraded with 800-pound springs. Helping the rear tires stay planted under foot-stomping acceleration and horsepower release are Calvert Racing Cal-Tracs traction bars.
Something is obviously amiss with the exterior of this GMC truck, and if you guessed it was the Cadillac front clip, then you win the prize. Being an employee of a GMC dealership had its advantages when the dealer itself went ahead and handed over the Cadillac factory pieces in place of the original equipment. Fix Auto Collision of Anaheim, California, was chosen to do the body-magic makeover. Robert Dipi of Fix custom fabricated the cowl-induction hood and fitted the front sheetmetal. Aft on and onward with exterior modifications, the door handles and tailgate handle met their maker by way of a welder and off came the rear bumper, too. In its place, a Sir Michaels roll pan stashes a hidden hitch should Rick still need some utilitarian functions from this truck. Topping the bed is a sport wing-equipped tonneau, while in the bed, Line-X of Anaheim sprayed a color-matched bed protector. With the preparations completed, the way was cleared for Todd Burdette of Fix to cover the truck in ever-deepening hues of Standox Indigo Blue. Job completed, Mark Wing, also of Fix, stepped up with the application of liquid silver flames, using products from Standox again. Adding the final touches of color and pizzazz are Trenz billet step plates and a Trenz billet vertical grille. For a subdued effect, the guys at Fix "smoked" the rear taillights, helping to keep the illusion of smoothness.
While the team at Fix was doing its thing, Mark at Frazier's Auto Upholstery in Anaheim was doing his. With both front seats, door panels, and the headliner in his possession, Mark stitched up a conglomerate of materials to bring the interior to life. The front seats received charcoal-gray leather with blue suede inserts, while blue suede was also placed in the upper door panel inserts and across the entire headliner. Blue carpeting was installed as lower door panel inserts for congruity. Fix fixed up some interior panels with the same Indigo Blue coating as the exterior. Standox's paint can be found across the lower dash, the center console, the steering column cover, the A-pillars, and the door panel trim pieces. For added inner shine, Trenz was sourced once again for bits of trim, and its wares see duty in this truck in the form of flamed pedal covers, doorsill plates, and door panel inserts. Keeping tabs on the engine is a pair of Autometer boost and fuel pressure gauges mounted in the driver side A-pillar. Additionally, the factory-supplied gauge cluster was foregone for a Cadillac cluster, while Cadillac dash knobs, switches, and inner door pulls round out the high-end GM upgrades. Chris Johnson of pimpthis.com in Huntington Beach, California, played fiddler to the tune of the audio installation. Starting with the stock head unit and amplifier system, Chris added Sony Xplod speakers into the factory locations for crisper sounds. Additional color was added with a velour dash cover and flamed window tint.
What started as just a truck needed only to haul some house wares has obviously been taken over by the wants list side of the paper. Rick is quick to point out that the fruition of his desires was due to the support of additional members and his regards go to Robert Dipi, Todd Burdette, Mark Wing, and Rusty Rauls from Fix Auto Collision. Also, Dan Gunter Mike Stevens, Tino Robles, and Dennis Hardin of Hardin GMC get handshakes. Completing the list of friends are Chris Johnson of pimpthis.com, Lance Laverty of Faded Colors, Mike Starkweather, Jim Sandfer, and Chris of Frazier's Upholstery. All of these contributors put in a lot of time in the build, and all have made this GMC go from hauler to HAULER!