Halfway through 2007, GM unveiled their newest body style dubbed GMT900. It was a radical improvement over the previous body style, but some people still liked the look of the ’03 to ’07 Sierras and Silverados. This is the case with Hugo Vela of La Joya, Texas. He preferred the classic body style to the new, revamped one, so when he was looking to buy a new truck in 2007, he bought a 2007 GMC Sierra classic. Not one to leave his trucks stock, Hugo decided to turn this one into a driveable, cover quality ride. He also wanted to prove that with hard work anything is possible.
Something that we have never seen before is the half bedliner, half paint flames on the be
To start the build, Hugo dropped the truck off with Mike Galvan at Bad Boyz Kustoms in Rio Grande City, Texas. The first thing Mike did was rid the truck of its stock suspension and bring it down to a new level. This involved a new set of drop spindles from DJM and a pair of Air Lift 2600 ’bags connected to ½-inch Parker valves with hydraulic line providing the air ride, while Nitro shocks ease the bumps. In order for the truck to lay even lower, and to eliminate camber in the wheels, the upper control arm mounts were relocated. The transmission crossmember and gas tank were also raised to facilitate the frame resting on the ground. With the front handled, Mike tore into the rear. Once the framerails were notched, a four-link system was used to lay the truck out in combination with a Panhard bar to eliminate lateral movement. Once again, Air Lift ’bags were called upon to give the truck a lift and Nitro shocks keep it riding smooth. For rollers, Hugo had a set of 22-inch Bonspeed Tsunami wheels wrapped in Hankook Ventus rubber sized 265/35R22. After receiving the call to come pick up the truck from Bad Boyz Kustoms, Hugo took his Sierra to TC Autoworks in Donna, Texas.
This is where the truck received the bodywork required to make it a clean, classic creation. The first thing on the agenda was to remove the door handles, taillights, tailgate handle, gas filler door, and rear bumper. With the gas filler gone, a pop-up motorcycle-style gas cap was installed in the driver-side bedrail. Next, the front bumper was raised to eliminate the gap under the grille and a roll pan was welded on in the rear. For a better look from a head-on view, the hood from a 2008 Sierra HD was modified and bolted on in place of the factory piece. With everything smoothed, primered, and blocked, the truck was coated in PPG Viper Red paint with House of Kolor Kandy Orange flames that have been outlined in HoK Process Blue pinstriping. The hood and tailgate needed a bit more love in the paint department, so Hugo had some pinstriping done on the hood and pinstriping and gold leafing done on the tailgate. Foregoing a simple bed with wheeltubs and a bridge, the crew at TC Autoworks constructed a full sheetmetal bed and sprayed it with paint-matched bedliner. A trick feature of the bedliner is the bedrails where flames were masked out so one side of the flames is paint and the other side is bedliner. For an even more custom appearance, the inside of the rear wheeltubs were flamed to match the body. Keeping the hot rod tradition alive and well with his late-model GMC, the rear doors of Hugo’s Crew Cab were converted to suicide. This allows all four doors to proudly display the wild interior.
Speaking of which, the custom nature of the rest of the truck spilled over onto the inside as well. The front and rear factory bench seats have been replaced with four buckets that were wrapped in red and tangerine orange Katzkin leather. Tahoe center consoles were painted to match the exterior and were used to fill the void between both rows of bucket seats. The dash was smoothed and painted Viper Red along with the door panels and the majority of the rest of the plastics throughout the cab. The factory carpet was tossed and replaced with deep red wool carpeting while the headliner was wrapped in red suede. Billet accents include a flamed steering wheel, shift arm, knobs, A/C vents, and pedal covers from Empire Motorsports. Red U.S. Speedo gauges provide something nice to look at while Hugo drives the truck around south Texas. Classic Trim in McAllen, Texas, was responsible for putting the leather-covered interior together. Providing the tunes is a Pioneer head unit that feeds a pair of Memphis Audio amps. The amps power the two 12-inch Memphis subs under the rear seat and the Memphis components in the doors.
Under the hood, Hugo kept it fairly simple. His thought being, “Why fix it if it’s not broken?” Hugo did tune the engine to bring out a few more horses and installed Flex-a-Lite electric fans to keep it cool. Several plastic pieces have been painted, which include the air cleaner box, the core support cover, the engine cover, and the fuse box cover, as well as many of the lids for the underhood fluid reservoirs. Helping the factory 5.3L breathe a little easier is a MagnaFlow exhaust that straddles the two-piece driveshaft.
Hugo did a great job with this truck and successfully proved to himself that with hard work and determination, anything is indeed possible. He wanted to send a special thanks to his parents for their love and support, all of his close friends, APS in McAllen, Texas, for helping with the paint supplies, and last but not least, his Aftermath club members.