BORN TO BUILD
Making Custom Rides is in his DNA
IT WOULD BE NICE TO THINK THAT OUR LOVE OF TRUCKS IS GENETIC, THAT SOMEWHERE, DEEP IN OUR DNA IS A SPECIAL AFFECTION FOR ALL THINGS CUSTOM. It’s not likely the type of thing that scientists will study anytime soon, but if they do, they might want to start with the Garcia family of Phoenix, specifically, Moses Garcia, the owner of this ’16 GMC Sierra. It was in those early years that Moses fell in love with working on cars and trucks. His family didn’t have a ton of money to work with, so they often had to figure out how to fix things on their own, and they were successful more often than not. As Moses and his older brother grew up, eventually their paths led them into the profession, with his brother going to school to be a mechanic. Moses would sometimes go to class with him, hiding in the back and keeping quiet so they wouldn’t get busted. It wasn’t a surprise then when he started building custom rides of his own. He began with a Toyota MR2 when he was 16 and moved on to more projects from there. Most of his builds leaned toward the world of import tuners, like the ones found virtually everywhere in the late-’90s and early-2000s. He’s even built a race car of his own, a Honda Civic that ran the quarter in 8.8 seconds at 190 mph.
Along the way, things have changed for Moses from a financial perspective. Now he’s the CEO of a real estate investment company and manages a portfolio of several properties. With that title came a few financial perks, so he treated himself to a Nissan GTR, just to scratch the “every day is race day” itch. But one thing plagued him: the desire to build a truck.
Here’s the thing: Up until this point, his world revolved around making things on four wheels go fast, and almost all of them were imports. But in the back of his mind, he harbored a secret desire to build a truck—a standard cab, specifically— that hugged the ground. After buying a ’16 GMC and putting just 400 miles on the odometer, he decided that it was just a bit too high for his tastes. A no-cut airbag kit would sort out that problem, so he bought one, took it down to Switch Suspension in Phoenix, and figured that was that. Except it wasn’t.
Seth, Jason, Tom and Ronnie at Switch Suspension are a talented bunch of people, and installing a no-cut airbag kit is definitely in their wheelhouse. But it turned out that it wasn’t quite everything that Moses needed, so they presented the problem to him as it stood: He should get a different setup.
He could’ve done that, but then the talk turned to planting the frame rails on the pavement, and things started heading down that path. But if it was one idea that pushed him over the edge,
it was the front suspension kit from Little Shop Mfg. Being a speed guy means that you understand suspensions, and after checking out how Little Shop Mfg. operated, and seeing their ridiculous attention to detail, he decided that it was time to capitalize on his dreams of building a standard cab truck.
Reading the tech specs will give you the basics, but there are a lot of little details that deserve further attention. That Little Shop Mfg. front suspension is stellar, as is the matching splined sway bar that improves the handling of the truck tenfold. Also, the rear 3-link is built with a Y-shaped upper link that’s worked around the stock gas tank and the carbon fiber driveshaft, and still keeps the back end perfectly planted.
Then there’s the motor. You know, the one that had just 400 miles on it when it was parked at the shop. That 5.3L V-8 wasn’t good enough for Moses, so he took a 6.2L GM V-8 and bored it out to a 6.9L model (around 427 ci), which made a ton of horsepower on its own. Once it was mated to an Edelbrock supercharger, it became a beast, putting down 816 hp and 847 ft-lbs of torque.
Initially, the plan was to put the truck together for SEMA. Although it made it to Vegas, it did so with the original 5.3L. Moses originally pulled it and installed the 6.9L, but it didn’t tune quite right, so he yanked it out again and reinstalled the 5.3L.
There’s nothing like the SEMA crunch to push you through multiple engine installations. By Christmas he was burning through those mammoth
26s with 800-plus ponies under the hood.
Another thing to note is the interior. If it looks stock to you, that’s because it is. It’s just the stock interior for the Denali edition of the truck, which doesn’t technically exist as a standard cab. To get the look, Moses bought and installed the seats, center console and dash accessories, then wired them all up to work just like they do in the new Denali. Similar accessories are on the outside of the truck, including the headlights and taillights, which also come from the popular trim level. Basically, Moses decided that if the truck couldn’t be purchased as-is from GMC, he’d make one of his own.
The understated beauty of this truck is impressive, and it’s a big reason why it graces the pages of Street Trucks. It may sport the factory paint and still have bumpers, but the score of tiny details that make this truck stand out to fans of the brand are beyond compare. That, and the killer motor under the hood isn’t too shabby, either. Not too bad for a first-time truck builder, right?
THE 26-INCH ROTIFORM WHEELS HAVE THREE DIFFERENT FINISHES AND LOOK STELLAR.
ABOVE. IF YOU DIDN’T KNOW ANY BETTER, YOU MIGHT THINK THAT GMC MAKES A DENALI STANDARD CAB. IT DOESN’T, BUT MOSES DID.
BELOW. AN ACCUAIR E-LEVEL KIT ENSURES THAT MOSES IS ALWAYS ROLLING AT THE PERFECT RIDE HEIGHT.
THAT’S MORE THAN 800 HORSES OF AMERICAN POWER RIGHT THERE, AND MOSES DID THE ENTIRE INSTALLATION HIMSELF.
MOSES LOVES TO ROAST THOSE 26-INCH TIRES, AND HE DOES IT WHENEVER HE GETS A CHANCE.