Last August, we trekked to Fort Smith, Arkansas, for the inaugural Slamily Reunion show put on by KEG Media, which afforded us the luxury of dipping into a fresh pool of custom trucks. Within the first half hour, we noticed that there were a few new trucks that we haven't had the pleasure of seeing in person, but the definite highlight of the trip occurred upon stumbling on the holy grail of '88-'98 C/K specimens.
Deep within the blades of grass of Columbus Acres park in Fort Smith, was Jimmy Cox's beautifully streamlined '92 GMC Sierra. Its bright red paint beckoned showgoers from clear across the parking lot, and the crowd surrounding it never seemed to thin out to less than three heads deep. To some degree, Jim wasn't surprised at the reaction since he's quite familiar with the truck's pedigree as he tightened each and every chromed bolt with his own hands. That's right, Jim's attention to detail is borderline obsessive, but he had a grand, almost prophetic vision for his GMC from square one: "I wanted to build a truck that would grace the cover of Truckin' magazine." Funny, we never got a phone call or email from Jim giving us a heads up on the truck's progress like some guys gunning for the limelight often do. Jim just knew he was creating something spectacular and figured we'd find him eventually. With Slamily Reunion serving as the Sierra's grand release party, Jim's dream turned into reality within the first hour of the truck's public unveiling.
Jim holds a bit of an advantage over the average do-it-yourself truck fanatic, since his father and owner of the family business, Dusty's Collision Repair, in Pocola, Oklahoma, has been nurturing his taste for custom vehicles and tuning his mechanical abilities from as far back as he can remember. As soon as the Slamily show let out, we witnessed firsthand the amount of work Jim invested into his project.
Every bolt visible was chrome dipped and to make the landscape cleaner, he had the Belltech 2-inch drop spindles, A-arms, tie rods, and other unseen suspension items coated too. The portions of the GMC's underbelly that weren't shined to a blinding brightness were painted, including the custom 3x4-inch square tube framerails and rear brackets that support the relocated battery and other accessories. Jim recruited the help of Berry Wiser, of Wiser Suspension, to body drop the Sierra 2 1/2 inches and help devise a three-link rear setup that would make actuating the not-so-light truck a breeze.
And speaking of wind, Jim's GMC could probably stir up a small hurricane with the assistance of the Street and Performance LS1 crate engine that dwells underneath the hood. As expected with Jim's instinctive attention to detail, anything that could be chromed or painted was. With 405 horses underneath Jim's right foot, he is sure to make the most out of each and every cruising opportunity. One-off inner fenders add to the fluid cleanliness of the engine bay, but who would ask for anything less than a guy who grew up in one of the busiest collision shops in Oklahoma?
It was those years of valuable hands-on experience that Jim tapped into while ironing out the Sierra's large mass of exterior sheetmetal. It's usually the subtle modifications that steal our attention, so try to imagine the satisfaction we took in how meticulous Jim was by molding the relocated Hagan Street Rods' gas filler into the bedrail's natural curvature. Since Jim found himself in full metal surgeon mode, he cut the taillights, antenna, and tailgate handle, and stitched up the wounds without a trace. To seal the reworked metal, a vibrant shade of red PPG paint was mixed and applied to the glass-smooth surface.
In fact, smooth just happens to be the operative word when trying to describe the sacred space Jim created inside of the GMC's cab. The headliner was ripped out and the entire ceiling was layered in fiberglass, as were the sun visors, pillars, and all four door panels. The '88-'98 interiors are roomy as it is, but the hard, painted panels found in every direction make for a free-flowing, cavernous environment. A front-to-back, center console was fabricated by Tracy Morris, and has been packed with two Kicker subwoofers, air gauges, and a bank of billet switches that handle window and altitude control. A set of Tahoe seats were decapitated, and then wrapped in black Ultraleather for comfort and style sake. Jim admits that he couldn't be more content with the outcome of his lounge on wheels. Honestly, this interior has enough swagger to rival any Vegas VIP room- but be careful with the champagne because cup holders are the only amenity missing from the cab.
Jim will be marching his inch-to-inch, completed GMC to as many events as possible during the 2010 show season. Consider it a victory lap celebrating the conclusion of a long three-year, bucket-to-cover-truck metamorphosis.