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2009 GMC Sierra 2500HD - Class Act

Subtract the frills, add the cleanliness

Mar 23, 2015
Photographers: Captured by Megan Photography
Some trucks are fortunate enough to only make forward progress in terms of customization during their lifespans, while others are cursed with constant degradation and the unfortunate need for repair. Mike Gilbert, owner of Mike’s Unique Automotive Collision Center in Ellendale, North Dakota, runs a business that deals with both ends of the spectrum—from building dream rides to simply restoring vehicles to their pre-accident conditions. While he’s no stranger to deranged front ends resulting from run-ins with deer, he’s also no stranger to the custom car and truck world, having built several lifted and lowered cars and trucks, including a ’70 Chevy Chevelle SS and a lowered ’53 street rod truck. With a huge bucket list of vehicles he’d like to build, you could say it’s kind of his thing and that some project will always be in the works.
Photo 2/10   |   You’ll notice Mike and Kristi Gilbert’s ’09 GMC Sierra 2500HD is not adorned in wild graphics or tricked out with bizarre exterior body modifications. One thing is for sure, though—it’s super clean. This cleanliness factor gives the HD a classy, elegant, upscale appearance that’s hard to rival. However, don’t underestimate the amount of work that goes into a subtle, clean-cut exterior, as this this truck was purchased in a black hue.
Having sold their beloved lifted black truck on 40s, the Gilbert family decided the only way to heal the heartbreak was to replace it with something else, resulting in the ’09 GMC Sierra 2500HD you see here. Purchased in New Mexico, the truck started life as a black—yes, black—truck. Having had other show-quality vehicles that were black and knowing how hard they are to keep in pristine condition, Mike decided the HD needed a change. While a color swap from black to white may be more challenging for all of us, it was probably no biggie for Mike and his crew.
Photo 3/10   |   That’s a mighty clean belly for an HD truck! The attention to detail shows that this automotive build is not the first proverbial rodeo for the Gilberts. Would we expect anything less from a family who runs a collision center? Shown off most prominently are the 4-inch MBRP stainless steel exhaust system, Mag-Hytec differential cover, and the immaculate Fox 2.0 remote reservoir rear shocks and 8-inch leaf springs that complement the CST lift.
From outside to inside, Mike and Mike’s Unique Automotive Collision set out to build a clean, well-built, functional truck. Sure, he could have chosen a route resulting in a crazy, over-the-top build, but in this case, he chose quality over quantity, subtlety over showiness. The biggest exterior cues are the huge 9-to-11-inch CST Suspension lift and the massive rolling stock—22-inch BMF Death Metal wheels wrapped in Toyo Open Country M/T rubber. The biggest interior enhancement, in addition to being kept super clean, comes in the form of Katzkin leather seats. Since they can come pretty advanced straight off the dealer lot, it doesn’t take a revolution to spruce up a truck like the Sierra HD and its stout 6.6L Duramax diesel powerplant.
Enjoying the drive is important for the Gilbert family, but that’s just the icing on the cake. Spending time with the family doesn’t begin when the project’s finally done and ready to be thoroughly enjoyed by all, but rather at the build’s start. Recounts Mike: “I learned to share the builds with my family. Building a vehicle takes the support and enthusiasm from the entire family, as it takes time away from them. Instead of taking time away, it created time with them. It is also important to me that our children leave home knowing how to take care of their automotive needs.”
Photo 4/10   |   Go big or go home! Dual Fox 2.0 remote reservoir shocks sit noticeably in the gap afforded by the CST Suspension lift, providing a nice, smooth ride. Rubber hits the road via a set of 37x13.50R22 Toyo Open Country M/T tires wrapped around 22x10.5 BMF Death Metal wheels. Complying with strict state lift laws may be a tricky endeavor!
2009 GMC Sierra 2500HD
OWNER: Michael and Kristi Gilbert
HOMETOWN: Ellendale, North Dakota
ENGINE: 6.6L Duramax diesel V-8
INDUCTION: Stock PPE airbox mod
EXHAUST: MBRP 4-inch stainless steel
ENGINE MANAGEMENT: H&S Mini Maxx programmer
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 365 hp at 3,100 rpm/660 lb-ft at 1,800 rpm
TRANSMISSION: Stock Allison 1000 six-speed automatic
REAREND: Mag-Hytec differential cover
FLUIDS: Mobil Delvac
SUSPENSION: 9-to-11-inch CST Suspension kit with dual front Fox 2.0 remote reservoir chrome shocks and single rear Fox 2.0s
WHEELS: 22x10.5 BMF Death Metal
TIRES: 37x13.50R22LT Toyo Open Country M/T
ODOMETER: 40,000 miles
FUEL ECONOMY: 13.6 mpg
WEIGHT: 9,200 pounds
SPECIAL THANKS: “My wife—she doesn’t always see my visions, but she supports them, orders parts for me, and does the math when measurements are crucial.”
FUN FACT: You don’t pass yourself going down the road.



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