BORN TO BUILD

Mak­ing Cus­tom Rides is in his DNA

Street Trucks - - CONTENTS - TEXT BY KEVIN WHIPPS PHO­TOS BY KEVIN AGUILAR

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.

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