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1989 GMC Sierra 1500 - The Greatest Show On Dirt

Front Right
Joel Mollis | Writer
Posted May 1, 2002
Photographers: Kevin McNulty, Lance Martz

Best of Both Worlds: Show Truck Looks, Race-Bred Performance

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.

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