1994 GMC Sonoma - Gambling On Change
1,000 Kitchen Passes Later
For those of you with significant others, you are most likely familiar with the term kitchen pass. For those of you who don't know the term, it is a phrase used to describe permission from your other half to spend time away from him or her with your friends or your hobbies. Sometimes, getting a kitchen pass requires great skill and technique, but there are a fortunate few out there, such as Curtis Ackerman of North Las Vegas, Nevada, who are lucky enough to have a supportive spouse who is understanding of our primordial urges to get greasy turning wrenches and rebuilding a vehicle that most would consider perfectly fine in the first place. Or, in the case of this Sonoma, the second place, since this is the second complete redo of the truck.
The '94 GMC Sonoma you see pictured here was bought for $11,500 in October of 1995, and since then, countless dollars have gone into building and rebuilding the truck. The last build appeared in the June '01 issue of Truckin' as the Silver State Sensation. Completely changing a truck you already have so much invested in can be quite a gamble, but we hear Curtis is a gambling man and was ready for a show-shocking change of pace for the truck. The most recent build took two years up to the point of when it was photographed for this story. Curtis told us he always dreamt of building a truck for Truckin' magazine since indulging himself in past issues as a kid. In fact, Curtis was so bent on getting his road sled back into the pages of Truckin', that he refused to have any other magazine shoot his truck until we gave him the yay or nay. Of course, he knew his truck was too good for us to turn down.
In its current incarnation, Curtis' Sonoma lays frame with the help of a boxed and bridge-notched frame. Jay LaRossa of Sport Truck Specialties out of Carson, California, installed the full suspension system, which includes the Belltech 2-inch drop spindles and Firestone 2600 C airbags. The rolling stock consists of only the finest Detata Boxer 20x9-inch wheels wrapped in P245/35ZR20 Nitto Extreme rubber that tuck into the rear bed's tubbing when the truck is dropped. Two 6-gallon reservoir tanks hold the air, which flows through 5/8-inch and 1/2-inch air lines and into eight SMC 15mm 1/2-inch port fast valves. An Air Box remote control switch box controls the airflow, and the system was prepped for nitrogen by Wayne at ServoTek in Las Vegas.
Painted on the Choo-Choo Customs Cowl Induction Hood is 4.3 NOS, foreshadowing the 4.3L TBI Vortec engine hopped-up with all of the quintessential performance mods. The V-6 can be found ingesting a healthy 80hp shot of giggle gas through the throttle-body spacer. Steve Cole, from Berry Grant out of Georgia, provided this Nitrous Works kit for the project. Cleaning up the intake charge is a K&N 360-degree air filter element housed in a Billet Superstore billet housing. Jet Performance Products can find its 160-degree thermostat and Stage 2 chip doing its best to wring the most performance from the 4.3L. Also conspiring for more power are the March power pulleys, Edelbrock headers, and Borla high-flow catalytic converters, which flow in to the mufflerless straight pipe. ACCEL 8.8 silicone plug wires, cap, rotor, and power coil replace the stock ignition, giving a hotter blast of spark to the final fuel mixture. Rounding out the engine bay mods are the Optima Red Top battery and billet and chrome accessories from Billet Superstore.
The real substance to this project is the body, which is draped in flawless custom paintwork that uses House of Kolor Sunrise Pearl and Limetime Pearl performed by Rodney Manandik of Auto Looks in Las Vegas. Frank Magoo of Las Vegas and Tea of Japan put the company's artistic touches on the truck with its unique pinstriping touches. If you look carefully into the paint, you will see Japanese writing within the graphic which reads peace, strength, and courage, along with Magoo's trademark one-eyed character throughout the truck. The awesome paintjob is uninterrupted on the seamlessly shaved body, which no longer has door handles, molding, rooflines, cab seams, or a third brake light.
The stock bumper cover has been replaced with one from the better-looking GMC Envoy, while Colby at the Billet Superstore put together a custom upper and lower Deluxe Billet Grille insert for our man Curtis. Billet Superstore also contributed its 12-inch billet antenna and windshield wiper caps. The stocker mirrors are no more, as the sleek-looking Street Scene sideview mirrors replace them. The gas door has been refabricated and now opens upward, thanks to Auto Looks out of Las Vegas. In the bedrail, behind the cab, is a super-trick air-actuated license plate frame from Desired Auto Concepts of Las Vegas that not only looks great, but matches the style of the truck, giving a nod to the air suspension setup.
Change is a constant, especially in the ever-competitive truck scene, and Curtis tells us this second version of his truck wouldn't have been possible without the support of his lovely wife, Leslie, all of his friends and family, Brandon at Detata Wheels, Steve Cole at Barry Grant/Nitrous Works, Colby at Billet Superstore, Rodney and Al at Auto Looks, Carlie at Edwards Auto Interiors, and Wayne at ServoTek/Desert Industrial Gas. So, if you are ever cruising around the silver state, be sure to check out Curtis' ride and appreciate the awesome detailing in both the workmanship and the paint, because you never know when he'll be feeling like another gamble with the truck and saving up for those ever-important kitchen passes from Leslie.