Shooting a Go-Fast GMC K5 Jimmy in the Dunes
Most of you who’ve followed us over the years are probably wondering how we choose a cool cover truck every single month. Truth be told, we usually spot them out in the dirt while we’re covering an event or just relaxing in the dunes, desert or hills. Most of the time, it’s obvious to us that these trucks are just downright awesome and deserve to be shown in the magazine for all of you to enjoy. Heck, we started off as readers and enthusiasts ourselves so it’s no surprise we’re still drooling over gnarly off-road trucks all these years later. Sometimes though, these trucks just fall right on our lap from a simple email with a cool photo of a well-built truck. It’s really just as simple as that.
What you’re looking at here is the truck we chose for the May 2014 issue of Off-Road magazine. This 1991 GMC K5 Jimmy is not your average mud canyon K5 build by any means, it’s a true to the word Go-Fast classic iron rig that we knew needed to grace the pages of Off-Road. We first learned about this truck after Juan Real of Real Fabworkz in El Centro, California sent us an email showing us how bad ass this truck had been built.
It looked great, and I knew I had to keep it for something special. When I realized this would be my last issue as Editor of Off-Road magazine, I knew it was the perfect time to pull out the red Jimmy. I chose it for the last cover because I feel it was a stellar example of a fullsize truck that could both hit trails and go fast—something I thought represents this magazine perfectly.
Step one of picking our potential cover truck was taken care of but we needed to find a suitable location to shoot this bad boy. Normally we find these trucks while we’re out in the dunes, desert or the hills so it doesn’t really take too much effort on our part to decide on a shooting background. Since the truck was built in El Centro, California, the famed Glamis Sand Dunes seemed like the perfect spot to shoot the truck. Glamis was the owner’s choice, as we sure as heck would not have chosen a last-minute shoot location six hours from home.
Real Fabworkz organized the trip, with the owner the red Jimmy, Carlos Sanchez, meeting us out in the Glamis desert near the California-Arizona border. If you’ve never been to Glamis, it’s pretty overwhelming when you get your first look at the seemingly endless sand dunes. It’s definitely a sight to see!
We got out there in time for some good morning light, and started with some fast drive-bys and a little light jumping. With the morning light hitting just right, we found a nice spot for Carlos’ Jimmy to hit, pointing the correct direction for proper lighting as well as a decent exit way so his K5 could make it through.
Carlos backed up and matted the pedal… a little too much. The front end dug in and the K5 actually did a wheel-stand before coming to rest. A broken knuckle and pitman arm were both the result of the lawn darting incident.
Luckily Carlos and Real Fabworks travel in a pack and they were able to secure the front end together by cleverly ratchet-strapping the front end to allow them to back the truck out a bit so they could hook it to the strap and get the truck up on a trailer to fix the damage. Breaking parts is not uncommon and no if you don’t believe that, you’re either kidding yourself or you only go wheeling on internet forums. At the end of the day, it’s all part of the fun. Build, haul-ass break and repeat, that’s how it works when you’re doing it right.
Check out this jump sequence to see what makes this linked GMC Jimmy one of the coolest covers we've ever shot!
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Vehicle: 1991 GMC Jimmy
Owner: Carlos Sanchez
Chassis: Stock frame with 1.75-inch 0.120 wall chromoly tubing TIG-welded everywhere
Engine: 664hp LS 6.2L with Kenne Bell supercharger and LS9 camshaft, built by Redz Performance and tuned by Speed Sports
Transmission/transfer case: Hughes Performance TH350, NP241 T-case
Front Axle: 10-Bolt front with major trussing, chromoly axleshafts, 3.70:1 gearing
Rear Axle: Custom fabbed housing, Currie third member, 35-spline axleshafts, 3.70:1 gearing
Front suspension: Real Fabworkz radius arm suspension with 1-inch uniballs and 1.25-inch FK rod ends, 14-inch-stroke King 2.5 coilovers and King 3.0 external bypass shocks, King 2.5 bumpstops
Rear Suspension: Real Fabworkz trailing arm four-link with 1-inch uniballs and 1.25-inch FK rod ends, 14-inch-stroke King 2.5 coilovers, 16-inch-stroke King 3.0 external bypass shocks, King 2.5 bumpstops, BMS sway bar
Steering: Chromoly tie rod and draglink, King 2.5 steering stabilizer
Brakes: Stock front disc brakes in rear
Tires/wheels: 35x12.50R15 BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM2s on TrailReady beadlocks
Interior: Fiberwerx dash, Mastercraft 3G seats, Mom steering wheel, Winters performance shifter, Auto Meter ES Series gauges, Lowrance GPS
Exterior: Autofab fiberglass fenders and rear panels
Other Parts: Real Fabworkz quick-release jack mount, Fuel Safe fuel cell, 30-inch and 50-inch LED bars, CO2 tank in rear