2006 GMC Sierra - Grim Reaper
Taking One's Life The Custom Way
Nate Kolasinski, the owner and builder of this wild GMC, mentioned he had become physically ill, mentally drained, and suffered what he called "taking years from life." Those symptoms were courtesy of one truck and one build. Luckily, Nate is still with us, while the truck ... well, it's the end result of passion and dedication. Funny enough, Nate named the truck Mistress of Perseverance.
Nate's GMC started out life just like a truck is designed and built to do. He used it to tow, haul, and just beat on it. Eight weeks before the SEMA show, Nate decided to do a little bit of fab work to the chassis and then the Grim Reaper took over, by luring him into a full-blown build, from which he is still suffering. Wanting to lift the 4WD '00 Sierra to clear 40-inch tires, Nate looked to the suspension and the body. Being a fanatic when it comes to chassis and frames, Nate wanted to add a body lift-without adding a body lift. Let us explain.
He actually tore the body off of the frame and raised the body-mount points 4 inches, while reinforcing the components with plated steel to box the entire support. Each added component incorporated small radiation symbols in the steel-a touch Nate is very proud of. After nearly 600 hours in the frame alone, the GMC frame had been shaved, inside and out, every hole and weld seam had been smoothed, and the body rested 4 total inches higher than stock. The team at Iron Springs 4WD in Prescott, Arizona, used Cognito lift spindles, Eibach coils, and Fox Racing Shox to give the front end its added lift. Nate and Dave Turbyfil, of DT Fab in Prescott, created a CAD program for the remaining suspension pieces, which included a front drop-down bracket and control arms. It resulted in lifting the truck a total of 14 inches. Out back, Nate cut off the rear framerails, much like a lowered truck, and then designed a cool three-link by using one-off laser cut and welded trailing arms. Eibach coils and Fox Racing Shox were again used for the rear suspension.
Powering the 5.3L is a Magnuson supercharger tuned to 7psi pushing 420hp to the wheels. Other performance goodies include Flex-a-lite electric fans, an MSD ignition, JBA headers and exhaust, and high-flowing cats, which are also from JBA. All of that power goes to a 4L80E out of a 8.1L V-8-equipped 3/4-ton GMC truck. The tranny was rebuilt by Certified Transmissions and uses a Centerforce torque converter and a PML pan. A custom aluminum driveshaft by Coast Driveline is linked to a new Ford 9-3/4-inch rearend, so as to keep the track width the same as the front. The rear was fitted with 4.88 Precision gears and is covered by a matching PML pan. Nate was almost satisfied with the chassis, until Dave Turbyl laser-cut more than 100 pieces for the chassis, including coilover brackets, brake-line brackets, and wiring brackets, just to name a few pieces.
Nate even went so far as to remove every factory and aftermarket bolt used in the undercarriage and had them de-zinced to give the finish a natural and no-sheen look. Baer big brakes were bolted up to each lift spindle for added stopping power of the planned wheels and tires. Nate sent a rendering of the wheels he had wanted to Centerline, who cut him a set of 20-inch smoothie wheels that Robert Sauceda painted to match the flames. Those wheels served as the mounting points for 40x13-1/2-inch Mickey Thompson ATZ tires. After all was said and done, Nate had himself a monster-lifted GMC that was good-looking and functional, but the clock wasn't slowing down and he only had two days until the truck had to be at Sema.
Always being into rat rods and the look of flat paint, the green light was given to scuff all of the paint off of the GMC and start fresh. Before the truck was painted, however, Nate had some cool body components added to make it stand out. While the chassis was being worked on at his shop, on went an '06 GMC 1/2-ton grille shell fitted with an APC billet grille, headlights, and turn signals, and an '06 3/4-ton GMC front bumper at Auto Art Studio. Not pleased with the large factory gap of the front bumper to the body, Nate actually extended the mounts to narrow the gap; something GM should have done to start off with. Welding on a Grant Kustoms roll pan and tailgate skin, Dave Steger handbuilt the taillight fillers, added the factory compound curve to the skin and roll pan, and then Brad Houk, from Auto Art Studio, in Prescott, stepped in with his welder. Brad proceeded to weld in the custom-bed sheetmetal, shaved the bed pockets, and welded in the slick '59 Cadillac taillights from Mooneyes. The truck was then sprayed PPG Flat Black Clear by Robert Howell. Charles Armstrong, from Auto Art Studio, masked off the wild hot-rod flames and Robert came in and sprayed them PPG Make You Blush Red Pearl. Famous pinstripers Butcher and Bugs then came in and striped the flames and chassis. Out of the paintbooth and into the Arizona sunshine with only hours left until the show, the truck looked killer and truly unique, but Nate was suffering from what most of us would call a breakdown.
The truck rolled to SEMA and was a huge success, but the interior was not quite finished. The truck was delivered to The Interior Shop, in Phoenix, where Todd swapped the factory carpet in favor of Mercedes-Benz black carpet. While he was at it, he swapped in a suede headliner with flames. To go along with the black theme, each plastic panel was dyed black. Todd also covered the seats in black suede and black ostrich leather with red piping to give the interior an old-skool look. The rear seats were reshaped to resemble an old bench seat and have just the right contour to accommodate the two 10-inch Rockford Fosgate subwoofers under the seat. A Kenwood DVD head unit sends signals to two Rockford Fosgate amps, powering the subs and Rockford components in each door. Nathan Navatony handled the audio system. A BAD Sixty-Four billet steering wheel and smoothed and painted dash bezel and tinted gauge cluster housing Autometer gauges round out the interior modifications. For a bit of detail, Alex Hamilton stepped in and pinstriped several of the dash components.
It almost killed him, but looking back, Nate is very thankful for the truck and his dream coming to fruition. He was quick to thank everyone who had helped him get the truck finished, including Charles, Brad, John, Robert, Dave, his kids, and of course, his wife. Death is certain, but a truck's outcome is not so predictable. Chalk this one up for the mistress.