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2000 GMC Sierra 1500 Z71 4x4 - The Ultimate Z71

Posted in Project Vehicles on August 1, 2008
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What Can Best Be described as the four-wheeling trip of a lifetime, the Ultimate Adventure is back again, and this year bigger than ever. For those of you that have been stuck on Mars for the last decade, please allow us to give you a brief rundown of what this Ultimate chatter is all about. Essentially we (the magazine staff) take a handful of advertisers (we have to pay our bills), some old friends (people who still think our jokes are funny), and the most important people of all-you (a few lucky readers such as yourself)-on a wheeling expedition where we live by one rule and one rule only; no whining. By now the lucky few have been chosen from the impressive stack of applicants, but don't despair; start early and get your application (and rig) ready for next year's Adventure.

Fitted with twin power seats, cloth upholstery, and a few mystery stains, we think our stock interior should hold up just fine. We can't help but notice that it's missing a lever or two sticking out from the transmission tunnel. We'll have to see what we can do about correcting that, because pushbutton 4WD isn't Ultimate.

We should also mention the part about not having a clue where you'll be wheeling, having to drive your rig roughly 1,000 miles of both road and tough trails (no trailers allowed!), and the fact that amongst camping, dining, and hobnobbing with some of the industry's biggest names (not us, the people that make the cool parts), it's truly an epic journey filled with broken parts, sweat, and lots of laughter.

So, what does all this have to do with the boring picture of the '00 GMC 1500 Z71 that you keep staring at (don't look now, finish reading!)? Well, this 1/2-ton pickup is what will be heading up the trip on this year's Ultimate Adventure. Without a doubt this is one of the bestselling and most common trucks cruising the streets. Our goal is to transform this eight-year-old hunk of metal, with more than 200,000 miles on it, into a trail-dominating pickup that maintains a mild enough appearance so that your neighbors won't sign a petition to have it removed from the street. Think modern-day Power Wagon with a Bow Tie, plus a Petersen's touch. Heading up the build are Mel Wade and his band of metal magicians from Off Road Evolution who will cut, weld, and fabricate our extended-cab pickup into a truly unique wheeling machine. Be sure to look out for next month's issue as we begin to rebuild what we've torn out and continue to work towards our goal of being one of the first UA rigs ever that has a legitimate shakedown run before the big dance.

PhotosView Slideshow

Used To It
Each year we take on the task of building a new vehicle for the Ultimate Adventure, and with virtually no seat time in these freshly built rigs, our boss Rick Pw wheels each one like a seasoned pro. For most of us, getting comfortable behind the rig of your vehicle takes time. So if you're thinking about coming on this crazy UA journey, we suggest taking a vehicle that you've got a little seat time in, for it's always a good feeling when you know your vehicle limits.

Snake Oil
Buying a used vehicle is always a gamble, especially when you factor in high mileage. So it wasn't a huge surprise when within three days of purchasing our silver pickup the turn signals stopped working, the master cylinder gave out (while we we're driving it into work, yikes!), and the rear tire decided to give up on life and stop holding air. Fortunately we were able to use this '08 Dodge rollback to get our tired pickup down to Off Road Evolution and begin tearing into it. But with only a few days of seat time behind the truck, we're keeping our fingers crossed that this sweet deal doesn't turn into a sour lemon.

Coming Soon
Getting this fullsize caged and working our way into a little bed-bobbing action are just a few of the tasks that we have coming up. And for those of you who can't get enough of our UAZ71 madness, be sure to check our Web site for exclusive photos and blogs that you can only find online at


Off Road Evolution
Fullerton, CA 92833

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