Farm Truck: Build-a-Flatbed 2016 GMC Sierra 3500HD Denali
Travis Fugitt, the keeper of Fugitt Farms in Bakersfield, California, brings us one wild, highly modified, farm-functional ’16 GMC Sierra 3500HD Denali, a vision that was created in January 2016 by friend Cris Payne. Travis purchased his GMC in June 2016 and began to map out the build. By August, the truck was placed in the 2016 SEMA show, so the crunch was on! The build had to be timed perfectly because—let’s not forget—Travis still had hundreds of acres of farmland to operate.
The first thing you may notice about the build is it is extremely tall—heck, it’s taller than some of Travis’ tractors. The new-and-improved suspension utilizes a 12-to-14-inch Bulletproof Suspension cantilever four-link suspension powdercoated in Prismatic Powders Iced Candy Blue. When you have a big lift, you also need a big set of wheels and tires to go along with it. Travis’ Denali rolls on huge 24-inch American Force Special Force Dually Series Glide wheels wrapped in 38x13.50R24 Interco Sniper tires. Needless to say, he almost never gets stuck in the mud! Typically, a change in gears accompanies larger wheel and tire sizes, so beefy Yukon 4.88 gears were next on the list. The 6.6L Duramax made plenty of power for Travis, but he opted to add a little more by way of a PPEI tuner and a full 5-inch JAMO Performance Exhaust setup. A simple tune and exhaust brought the Duramax’s power to a little more than 600 hp and roughly 1,100 lb-ft of torque.
Most truck builds include new sets of bumpers, some for looks, and some for functionality. Travis’ bumpers needed to serve both purposes. The units of choice were Fab Fours Vengeance Series front and rear bumpers, along with Fab Fours roof and headache racks. “They look good and are built tough; it’s exactly what I needed,” Travis explains. When your show truck still must function as a work truck, your build will be over-the-top to accommodate its many needs. Since Travis is often seen working in his fields under the cover of darkness, good lighting is imperative. The factory headlights were swapped out for a set of trick Plain an Simple lights that utilize goodies from Diode Dynamics and Klearz products. Additional work lighting was obtained through the addition of C4 Off-Road Products’ undercarriage glow and Off Road LED Light Bars (OLB) up top. Maybe the only thing more obnoxious (in a good way, of course) than the amount of lighting on the truck is the HornBlasters train horns!
Now for the good stuff. Travis’ favorite parts of the dualie are the one-off grille by Royalty Core, designed just for Travis’ truck, and the modified bed, a true custom-built bed designed to meet the needs of life on the farm. The factory dualie bed was designed and fabricated by Cris Payne and friend Aaron Rolls to enable Travis to transport additional hay bales and supplies, supplementing what he’s able to tow. The top of the factory bed was sliced down 11.5 inches and covered with 12-gauge sheetmetal to create a flatbed surface with hidden flush storage compartments embedded into the remaining bed space beneath. The factory taillights were shaved up and custom taillights were molded into the rear section for a completely unique look. Finally, it was finished off with Line-X to withstand the abuse of the constant use and to create a more aggressive and durable deck surface. More than 100 hours were put into the design and fabrication of this custom truck bed. Travis tells us, “I didn’t have much use for the factory bed, but this one is fully functional. It’s my favorite part on the truck.” A massive Gen-Y trailer hitch is designed for lifted trucks and is compatible with several trailer-style connections.
Good music is key for Travis, who says “It gets pretty lonely out there, and I need some good tunes.” A full interior upgrade and monster sound system were the next upgrades. A custom Roadwire leather interior, handmade headliner, color-matched trim pieces, and custom-stitched door panels spice up the interior of the already-plush Denali while reminding Travis of the far-from-factory appearance of the exterior. The backseat of the Sierra hides the custom speaker box that houses four 8-inch Precision Power subwoofers. The company’s Black Ice Series amplifiers power the subwoofers along with the Black Ice component speakers. Rounding out the interior is an sPOD touchscreen and Husky Liners floor mats to keep the truck clean. After all, it is a show truck!
The SEMA crunch was complete just one week prior to the 2016 SEMA show. The truck was placed in the Fab Fours feature spot and was one of the most covered and talked about flatbed rides at the show. Travis’ truck is the definition of form meets functionality. When you don’t see it working on his farm, you might just find it at a local auto show. Travis tells us, “I am ready to do another build, maybe one that is more extreme than this one. It was a fun process to experience, but I recommend allowing yourself more than a few months to do a build. Not everything happens overnight, and finishing up last-minute is very nerve-racking. Nonetheless, I love seeing the expressions on people’s faces. The reactions from other farmers are absolutely priceless!” Travis couldn’t have pulled off such a noteworthy build without the help of Cris Payne of Truck Gurus and the many manufacturers that supplied parts. Special thanks to Line-X North America and Bakersfield, Kevin at Kern Body Works, AR Fab, Al Chapo, and George at Mobile Auto Techs, USA Fab, C4 Off Road, Proformance Diesel, Pat at Direct Offroad, Plain an Simple, and, most importantly, all my family and employees who keep Fuggit Farms going strong 24/7.