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1989 GMC Sierra 1500 - The Greatest Show On Dirt

Posted in Features on May 1, 2002 Comment (0)
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1989 GMC Sierra 1500 - The Greatest Show On Dirt
Photographers: Kevin McNultyLance Martz

Contrary to popular belief, it is indeed possible to build a truck that exhibits the following trio of traits: ground-gobbling suspension performance, the capacity for on-dirt roosting, and show-winning design, detail, and style. Of course, it's a complex and challenging task to construct an off-road machine with a meld of form and function, but it can be done, given enough time, patience, skill, determination, and cash. For proof, scope out the accompanying images of Brian Rush's strong-performing, show-stopping '89 GMC. And lest you think that this silver streak is all show and little go, that shot of Brian jumping the C1500 is the real deal, not some Hollywood-style, computer-generated special effect. During OFF-ROAD's photo shoot, Brian repeatedly jumped, flew, and generally thrashed his Chevy for the all-seeing OFF-ROAD camera lens - all without a mechanical breakdown or any type of damage, save for a wayward tie-wrap.

Much of the truck's on-dirt performance is courtesy of a functionally detailed Fabtech long-travel front suspension. Fabtech's upper and lower control arms deliver 12-plus inches of wheel travel and are damped by a pair of Bilstein 7100-Series remote reservoir dampers at each wheel. The GMC is lifted a total of 7 inches using Fabtech's 3-inch lifted coils and 4-inch lifted spindles. Providing lateral frame support and a strong location for the upper damper mounts is a Fabtech engine cage. The rear suspension also exhibits max wheel travel, thanks to the 5-inch lifted Soft Ride spring packs. Spring control is via 7100-Series Bilstein, which are attached to custom damper mounts fabbed by Agoura, California-based Totally Polished. With the suspension's ride height set as described, Brian was able to fit 17x8-inch KMC Dube wheels and 37x12.50R17 BFG All-Terrain rubber in place within the modified fenders.

This SoCal prerunner's wow factor comes as a result of Brian's focus on his truck's exterior appearance. The body was reworked with the addition of Glassworks Unlimited's gonzo-sized front fenders, a fiberglass cowl-induction hood from A&A Specialties, a Sir Michaels roll pan, a Precision Design billet grille insert, and a pair of high-zoot Catz High Intensity Discharge lights. The front bumpers highlight this prerunner's frontend. The OE bumper was cut, reworked, and welded back together, retaining its original shape, but with less height and a smaller overall appearance. Topping the main bumper is a full light cage/tubular bumper that wraps multiple tubes under the truck for stylish and substantial protection. Both bumpers represent the handiwork of Relaxed Customs. After the GMC body was modified, Marlin's Cuztomz in Thousand Oaks, California, sprayed on the PPG's BMW Silver base color, which was topped with House of Kolor Candy Red flames designed and squirted by Jerk Designs' Jerry Kranzler at his Simi Valley, California, shop.

As you would expect, Brian left no stone unturned while augmenting his truck's interior. Let's start with the sound machine: A Prestige P96S head unit and a Prestige PEQ 200 equalizer send sound to an array of Prestige amplifiers and speakers, including Prestige 250s that power the Prestige mids and tweeters mounted in the door panels, and the Prestige 1580 that energizes the quartet of Prestige SPL 10s mounted behind the seats in a custom-built enclosure fabbed by Mike Cox of Professional Auto Sound in Westlake Village, California. The DVD player is from Audiovox and sends and receives signals - as does the entire sound system - via a wiring harness built by Brian and the crews from Relaxed Cuztomz and Professional Auto Sound.

Other interior upgrades include gray leather-covered bucket seats pirated from a '99 Tahoe and a custom leather headliner and door panels built by Professional Auto Sound. Finishing off the interior is a billet alloy, leather-wrapped steering wheel from Billet Specialties.

The small-block V-8 that resides under the hood of this premium prerunner is dazzling in appearance, thanks to gobs of polished and detailed accessories. The 5.0L mouse was rebuilt by BPR Customs and features a Competition Cams bumpstick, JE Pistons, Edelbrock valve covers and air cleaner, and an MSD Blaster 2 ignition system. The headers are ceramic-coated Gibson units and flow through a Performance Series cat. Power is sent through a B&M Traveler 700-R4 Overdrive tranny to a Race II double-wall driveshaft from Coast Driveline Services and on to a 10-bolt GM rear axle containing an Auburn limited-slip diff and 4:10 cogs. Dual Red Top Optima batteries provide juice to the engine and the power-hungry electronic components.

At OFF-ROAD magazine, we're privileged to see a lot of tricked-out trucks from every part of the country during our travels, but seldom have we witnessed the sterling combination of flash and function that is Brian Rush's Sinister GMC.

After spending the better part of a morning showing off for our cameras, high noon found Brian at a nearby car wash, airing up the tires, checking over the suspension, and thoroughly cleaning and detailing his wild ride for the trip home. While most of us would wait until we reached home base before we washed our truck, we guess, it's only fitting that Brian do the deed ASAP. After all, there are plenty of motorists to dazzle on the ride home with The Greatest Show On (and Off) Dirt.

SPECIFICATIONS
Owner/hometown : Brian Rush/Thousand Oaks, California
Make/model : '89 {{{GMC C1500}}} {{{Silverado}}}
Engine : 5.0L GM small-block V-8; Comp Cams camshaft;
    MSD Ignition; Gibson headers
Transmission : B&M Traveler 700-R4 Overdrive
Suspension : Fabtech long-travel with Bilstein 7100-Series
    dampers, 3-inch lifted springs, 4-inch lifted spindles
    (front); Soft Ride 5-inch lifted springs, Bilstein
    7100-Series dampers, custom two-link setup (rear)
Wheels/tires : 17x8-inch KMC Dube/37x12.50R17 BFGoodrich
    All-Terrain T/A
Additional features : Catz HID lights; dual Optima Red Top batteries

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