Light My Fire
Flames Are Just the Beginning
What does it take to build a truck worthy of the pages of Truckin'? It's a question we are bombarded with at every show we attend each year. It is a very tricky question, because often times, the owner of a truck has a great daily driver, but it's just not up to par with what we are looking for in a feature truck. Other times, a truck is simply too beautiful not to shoot and requires our full attention, so we can showcase the sickest rides rolling around the scene to our faithful readers.
Eric Engle, of Costa Mesa, California, knew just what it took to achieve the level of perfection required for a truck feature. Catching up with him after seeing the truck at our Vegas Nationals Show, we couldn't wait to get back home and shoot his truck. Reason being, flames are just the beginning to this unique GMC Sierra.
Eric wanted a dependable truck he could drive every day and still look good enough to attract attention at every show he attended. In order to fulfill this tall order, Eric took the truck to Master Image Customs (MIC) in Yorba Linda, California, where the suspension setup was discussed and agreed upon. Using DJM upper and lower control arms, the Sierra was dropped several inches. But, several inches will not turn heads, so a complete airbag setup was installed. On went a set of Firestone 2500 airbags up front, while the rear was fitted with a DJM flip kit and another set of Firestone airbags.
To clear the extra-large drop in the rear, MIC cut a C-notch into the frame and used a 5-gallon tank outfitted with 1/2-inch lines and fast valves. The GMC could now tuck the factory 16s, but again, tucking 16s will not get you a truck feature. To remedy the stock wheel dilemma, Eric added a set of 20-inch Intro Prowler 6 wheels at each corner. BFGoodrich tires keep each billet wheel protected and provide maximum grip for the GMC's newfound handling ability.
Now keep in mind, suspension is important, but without the proper overall look, your truck is still going to be lacking feature material. Keeping true to this strategy, Eric dropped his truck off with Steve Van Demon, where it was to receive some much-needed bodywork and new paint. After filling in the rear with a Sir Michaels roll pan and shaving the tailgate handle, the truck was stripped and ready for Van Demon's specialty, flames.
After the House of Kolor hot rod-styled flames were applied, Prism flake and red pearl were used to give the flames a 3-D look and make the truck's overall appearance look unique. Kent Garcia gave the truck the finished look by pinstriping the flames and a special hot-rod treatment on the tailgate. Rounding out the body mods are APC euro tails, a billet grille, and a Gaylord's lid. Now the truck's body and paint were finished, but it lacked the customization needed in the interior to fill the pages of the World's Leading Truck Publication.
Interior chores were worked by Stitchcraft Custom Interiors in Huntington Beach, California. An order was placed to provide a custom interior using only the finest materials. First on the bill were the seating arrangements. The factory seatbelt-equipped seats were re-covered in charcoal leather with raindrop and suede inserts in the bottoms and backs. After the custom leather and suede headliner was installed, the team added an Escalade gauge cluster, a leather-wrapped billet steering wheel, and real carbon-fiber overlay throughout the cabin. Keeping the cabin filled with tunes are a Kenwood head unit, Audiobahn amplifiers, and two Audiobahn 12-inch subs mounted underneath the rear seat. Realizing the truck had almost each aspect covered, Eric moved to the engine bay, where carbon fiber and billet were to be used again.
Popping the flamed hood reveals a Nu-Image carbon-fiber dress-up kit complete with a new radiator cover, a manifold cover, and a fuse box cover. Adding some bling-bling to the modern look is a set of True Billet caps and covers. A few more horses are squeezed out of the 5.3L thanks to a K&N Aircharger kit. With the truck finished, Eric knew it was only a matter of time before he grabbed an editor's attention, and it worked, with several of us loving the old-school look. Thanks Eric, you make our job easy, especially when a truck has more than just flames.