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1983 GMC Sierra- Kool Daddy

A Long Bed Legacy

Phil Gordon
Oct 14, 2020
As a young man growing up, one of the most influential people in your life should be your father. He's there to teach you how to throw a ball, how to respect others, and how to be a man. Jason Gray has always been very close to his father, and the older he got the closer that bond has grown. Jason's father Keith started a maintenance company, and the Grays worked side by side for 22 years together. "We talked every day," Jason tells Truckin. "No matter what the situation was, he was always there."
Jason first got into trucks through his older brother Chris who was an avid stereo head and subscriber to truck magazines. Jason owned a '98 Chevy Silverado that he used to drive on a daily basis. His friend Ryan was driving around in a body-dropped 1983 GMC Sierra long-bed that Jason just simply loved. Being that the Silverado had more doors and room, Ryan inquired about a trade so his family could ride in the truck. Jason agreed and quickly made the trade for the GMC that was 15 years older. Once he told his father about his new acquisition, he asked to go for a ride in it, and within minutes, his father fell in love with the classic Sierra.
Photo 2/17   |   1983 Gmc Sierra Long Bed 02
For the next four months, Jason began planning out what he wanted to change and redo on the GMC, and his father stood beside him the whole time with input and ideas. Before the progress began, Keith needed to go into the hospital for a routine surgery but sadly never made it out. The Gray family was devastated, and everything in Jason's life just stopped where it was. "It literally ruined me," Jason adds. "He was my best friend and my biggest supporter." After some time to grieve, Jason knew what his father would have wanted him to do.
Keith was into the hot rod style of trucks, so to pay homage to his father, the 305 that was pre-loaded in the GMC was gutted and replaced with a crate 350 and a turbo 350 transmission. Bryce from Rodshop in Vegas built the motor and tranny mounts so the motor could be raised up yet fit under the stock hood. The next step was making the suspension safer and more efficient. The cantilever setup was removed and the frame was narrowed and "Z'd" so it could turn when it is completely laid out. The entire back half was fabricated to fix the flimsy original build.
Photo 3/17   |   1983 Gmc Sierra Long Bed 05
Photo 4/17   |   1983 Gmc Sierra Long Bed 04
Jason knew his father would be proud of how quickly the Sierra was coming together and knew that his dad would say "Now paint it, son!" The paint process was bit of a nightmare with Jason enlisting two separate painters to handle the job, one doing a very poor job and the other running away with the money and not completing the work. Daniel Crespo of D.C. Designs came to the rescue by spraying the entire truck in Sherwin Williams Jet Black paint. A phantom-style grille was added to the front end to give the Sierra an aggressive appeal from the front vantage point. A Streetbeat sliding ragtop was cut into the top for the Vegas sun to shine in on those long drives through the desert.
Jason explains he's a red and black kind of guy, so when it came time to redo the cabin, he found Ephraim Armendariz at Upholstery Works to recover the seats, door panels, and dash. A diamond tuck pattern was stitched along with some subtle black stitching to tie into the exterior paint. A Severed Ties steering wheel was added to represent his club. Jason installed a Pioneer head unit and Polk Audio speakers to round out the interior modifications. Jason didn't want to be like everyone else around town and add billet wheels, so he opted for a set of 24-inch Strada U2s and wrapped them in Nexen rubber.
Photo 5/17   |   1983 Gmc Sierra Long Bed 16
Jason looks at the truck every day and remembers the day he and his father went for a ride in the Sierra right when he got it. "I remember it like it was yesterday, that big smile and the outlook on what we could do to it." He was never able to see the finished product, but Jason is sure that he has been looking down every day and guiding him to make the right decisions. "I know he's proud of me, and I know he's always in the seat next to me with that giant smile," Jason adds. "He was always such a Kool Daddy."

Inside the Build

Year/Make/Model: 1983 GMC Sierra long-bed
Owner and City/State: Jason Gray; Henderson, Nevada
Club Affiliation: Severed Ties
Chassis:
Front Suspension: Michigan Metal Works upper control arms, DJM lower control arms, Belltech spindles, 10-inch CCE hydraulic cylinders, narrowed 1.5 inches
Rear Suspension: two-pump CCE Hydraulic setup, 12-inch cylinders, two 2,400-watt Reikken batteries, Z'd frame done by Rodshop in Las Vegas, Nevada
Drivetrain:
Engine: 350 SBC, JEGS noisy gear drive, billet flame valve covers, JEGS 4-row aluminum radiator, dual electric fans, Edelbrock 650 carburetor and air cleaner, MSD distributer, Edelbrock polished intake, chrome brake booster
Transmission: GM TH350
Body/Paint: Traditional body drop, Sherwin Williams Jet Black paint, shaved corner lights, wiper cowl, tailgate, rain gutters, bed stake pockets, emblems and mirrors, Streetbeat sliding ragtop, Phantom grille recessed, everything done by Daniel Crespo
Interior: Red diamond tuck done by Upholstery Works, ididit polished steering column, Severed Ties billet steering wheel
Stereo: Pioneer head unit, Polk Audio door speakers
Wheels & Tires:
Wheels: 24x10; Strada U2
Tires: 245/30R24; Nexen
Special Thanks from Owner: My father Keith, my brother Chris, my wife Francine for keeping my head in it even when I felt I should quit, D.C. Designs for the paint work, Upholstery Works for bringing a vision to reality on the interior, Bryce Mills from Rodshop

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