Custom 2002 GMC Truck - Layin' Gator

Purpose-Built To Drag And Show

Dan Ward
Jan 1, 2005
Photographers: Dan Ward
Photo 2/2   |   2002 Gmc Truck side View
Closely examining the '02 GMC in the scorching Texas sun, you may need to step back for fear of large, scaled reptiles roaming the multicolored rig. Applied to the paint are flames, skulls, and the remnants of a Texas-size alligator. Themes are diverse in this truck, as are the owner, the people who built it, and the Ground Zero club that shows it. No trailer queen here, with 33,000 miles on the odometer, this truck was built to enjoy every moment. Pedro Rodriguez set out to build a good-looking show truck that led to this truck's reptilian look and feel, scales included.
Initially, the new '02 GMC was to be slightly modified with big wheels and a bumping sound system, but like many truck customizations, Pedro got a little carried away. The Edinburg, Texas, resident started by lowering the truck with Firestone 2500 airbags in the front and Slam Specialties airbags out back. Using 450 Extreme valves and nitrogen, the truck lifts and lowers with the quickness of a push on his remote. Installed in his garage, Pedro wasn't going to mess around with letting someone else hack on his daily driver. Dumped on the factory rolling stock, a change was in order and he called the pros at Boyd Coddington wheels. Shipped to his door, the 22x10-inch Turbines added the sweet look that only billets can achieve, and large P295/30R22 Pirellis keep each corner firmly planted on the hot Texas asphalt.
Needing more power to plant his butt in the seat, Pedro installed a K&N Aircharger, a Hypertech Power Programmer, and a 3-inch Flowmaster exhaust giving the 5.3L a nice hot-rod rumble. Optima batteries hidden under the bed keep the truck starting every time, and dual high-output alternators keep the system fully charged. Raising the hood reveals a bevy of PPG Hot Red-painted plastic pieces, including the Cadillac manifold cover, intake, fan shroud, and relay box.
Open either door and prepare yourself for plenty of color, texture, and sound. Jimenez Custom Upholstery, of Mission, Texas, re-covered the seats in a great-looking dark brown leather with alligator skin throughout. The airbag cover, the handles, the door panel trim, and the center console are now covered in the exotic material. Take a closer look and you'll notice the ridge of the gator's back running down the center of each headrest, a detail we thought was awesome.
After the upholstery was complete, the truck was delivered to D-Tronics of McAllen, Texas, where a bass-thumping system was requested. The crew immediately removed all the stock hardware and began to build a system worthy of any DB drag. At first, a couple of 10s were going to provide the low frequencies, but after Pedro gave the team the go-ahead to cut the back wall, new plans were derived. Three DB Drive Platinum 12-inch subs were installed in a huge pass-through box, giving the truck a near 150-decibel sonic boom. Up front, DB Drive mids and highs are housed in the doors and kick-panels while a Panasonic screen provides the tunes and movies. Finishing off the interior is a Caddy gauge cluster and plenty of Empire Motorsports billet accessories.
Pedro switched his focus to bodywork and paint, but the hunt for a talented painter was difficult. Tony Castro of TC Autoworks, in Alamo, Texas, ended the search when his ideas were discussed to create a trophy-winning paint scheme that would incorporate fading skulls, ghost flames, and plenty of candy alligator graphics. Tony began by shaving the front steps, gas cap, and taillights. Up front, an '04 GMC clip was installed with Denali projector headlights, and out back, a Lincoln LS license plate box and 10-inch LED lights were grafted in. Three-inch-wider fenders provide plenty of clearance for 22s, and the Sir Michaels roll pan cleans up the rear body lines. Next, Tony laid down the primer and began applying the PPG Hot Red to the entire truck. With the first color dry, Tony then mapped out the crazy graphics and color separations. Orange, yellow, and multiple candies were applied to get the effects just as they wanted them. The result was a killer exterior filled with airbrushing, pinstriping, and beautiful colors. Tony carried the paint inside as well, with the dash, speaker box, nitrogen tank, and door panels receiving the red PPG hue and graphics.
We fell in love with this truck for several reasons, but one of the biggest factors was the fact that an average truck-lover went crazy and created a sick ride that is fully functional. Many readers have begged us to include more realistic trucks on the cover, and now we have. The potential is out there, as Pedro has proven with his thrilling creation. Finish reading this issue and start building, because we are looking for America's next top truck.
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