Article and Photography by:
Bryan Fross
Chelsea Grimland

   Building a full-blown show truck is not often the plan when enthusiasts get started on customizing a truck. However, it happens a lot more than you'd expect. A truck goes from a cool cruiser to an eye-catching piece of art without ever having really planned it that way. This is the story of the 1997 GMC  C1500 you see here. Chad Fincher from Chandler, Arizona was driving around his lowered truck and got into a car accident. The front end was seriously damaged and had it not been lowered already, the frame would have been damaged and the insurance company would have deemed it to be totaled. That would have stopped this custom show truck from ever existing. Instead, Chad got a Cadillac front end after the collision which led to the eventual truck you see now before you.

   The truck's lowering kit was tossed to the side in favor of a full air ride system installed at Lowboy Motorsports in Mesa, Arizona. Todd and Justin at Lowboy got down to work on installing Firestone air bags at all four corners, a KP Components bolt on 6 link kit for the rear as well as a Watts link to keep the axle centered. The front uses an Air Ride Technologies Strong arm kit along with the Coolride bag setup and a set of DJM 2-inch drop spindles. To finish off the air ride system they installed 1/2-inch stainless steel hard line with 1/2-inch GC Xtreme 450 valves, two Viair 480C compressors pushing air to a single 8.5 gallon air tank. The Lowboy crew also built an all new rear cross member as well as a new custom gas tank cross member. The wheels under Chad's truck are 22-inch Bonspeed Quasar wheels with 265/35/22 Kumho Ecsta tires.

   At this point, Chad was contemplating his next move with the truck and with a little peer pressure from his friend Kevin Whipps of Whipps Industries, he decided it was time to lay the body on the ground. They both got to work on channeling the truck 2.75-inches.  The bed floor was then raised enough to cover the notch and have no open holes in the floor. Since the truck already had the 2000 Cadillac front end, there were a few modifications left to turn the exterior into a much cleaner version than it came from the factory. Many items were removed and tossed into the trash including the door handles, third brake light, antenna, rear bumper, and tailgate latches. These items were removed to be replaced and Chad brought the truck to his hometown of Hobbs, New Mexico and the guys at Demented Customs. They installed a roll pan with license plate box, welded the tailgate closed, and filled the antenna hole as well as the door handle holes. They even built custom front inner fenders and raised the gas door 2.5-inches while rotating it 45 degrees. The mirrors were replaced by a set of smooth Street Scene mirrors. Demented Customs then got done to business on the paint style that got Chad to bring the GMC to them in the first place. They sprayed a basecoat of Debeer Dark Toredor Metallic with two layers of flames. The white flames are House of Kolor white with HOK Snow White Pearl pinstriped in HOK Orion Silver. The darker flames are a custom tint of the Toredor Metallic pinstriped in HOK Galaxy Grey. The graphics wrap into the door jambs and show up in the interior as well. The paint, graphics, and interior were all clear coated with HOK uc35 then block sanded and finished off with ufc35 clear. The bed was sprayed with Reflex bed liner done by ZK Express of Hobbs, New Mexico and ZK also covered the windows in 20% black tint to darken them for the hot Arizona Summer months.

   The interior of Chad's truck is nothing short of a masterpiece. It is a blend of smooth painted parts, leather, and suede that makes for a cool looking cab. The factory bench seat was removed in favor of some bucket seats from a Cadillac Escalade. They were then covered in Katzkin tan leather and burgundy suede. The floor was re-covered in a tan Auto Custom Carpets cut-pile stock replacement carpet kit. Chad's headliner was covered in burgundy suede to match the seat inserts. Just about everything else was sanded down smooth and prepped to be painted the same as the exterior of the truck. The factory stereo was replaced with a Pioneer AVH-P4900DVD player with Ipod Adapter that sends the signal to a Kicker kq30 Equalizer which then gets the truck really rocking through three 12-inch Kicker L5 subwooferss and four Kicker ks series 6.5-inch components. The subwoofers are powered by a  Kicker zx1500.1 and the components by a Kicker zx650.4. Video for the rear comes by way of two Accelle 7-inch monitors located on the custom subwoofer box and center console. Keeping the power coming is a Stinger Hybrid 5 farad capacitor and Optima yellow top battery in a billet battery tray. There are also Stinger digital gauges for the vehicle, stereo and capacitor voltage.

While the engine compartment is still mostly stock, the computer, ABS brake controller, and fuse box have all been relocated by Lowboy Motorsports.  The alternator was replaced with a new 200 amp alterantor from DB Electrical. The factory fan was tossed out and a aftermarket dual electric fan setup now resides in it's place to keep everything cool. The exhaust is custom from the headers back. It was done by Pro Dyno in Tempe, AZ and consists of a Magnaflow dual muffler with one single outlet as well as dual Magnaflow catalytic converters.

Chad would like to thank his wife, Shelly, for putting up with his constant truck talk and helping him make all his dreams come true. A huge thanks goes out to Jaime and Andy at Demented Customs. Without them the truck would not be where it is today. Others include Kevin Whipps, Todd and Justin at Lowboy Motorsports, Nadim and Jack at ZK Express along with Cody, Little T, Seth and everyone else who helped with the heavy lifting throughout the project.