The Long and Short of True Customization 2020 GMC Sierra
While the available factory options offered with modern trucks are amazing (for lack of a better word) sometimes a little bit of beautiful simplicity gets lost in all those bells and whistles. A good percentage of “old school” truck fans have assimilated just fine to all the technological upgrades now made available, but there are still some analog, mechanical things that have been lost in translation along the way.
One guy who can attest to this sentiment is Adan Ibarra, owner of Leading Edge Collision of Houston, Texas. Something he would like to see more out there is more desirable body options at the dealership these days—namely with General Motors brands.
“Have you noticed that GM no longer offers single cab short bed trucks anymore?” he asks.
Well, it’s true, and that has been a must-have killer combination throughout the years, and for that option to be off the table in today’s marketplace is a downright shame.
So what’s a guy to do about this problem? For Adan, the answer was simple, even though it my sound a bit excessive to others. Either way, you have to respect his eager approach and drive for success.
“In July 2020, I bought the collision shop that I managed for 11 years,” he explains. “Yep, in the middle of a pandemic. Am I crazy? I think we all have a little bit of crazy in us from time to time, but my passion has always been custom cars and trucks, and this just felt like the perfect time to build a ‘shop truck’ to showcase that we are much more than just an ordinary collision shop.”
Having no other option, Adan went and got himself a brand new 2020 GMC Sierra long bed pickup. He was dead set on transforming it into a short bed in-house by utilizing a factory crew cab bed. Of course, that would snowball into some custom chassis work, so he just decided to go ahead and base a whole restyling project out of the truck, which he looked at as being beneficial personally and business wise.
“I wasn’t going for a full-blown radical build, but I did want something subtle, elegant and sporty that would be appealing to all truck enthusiasts like myself,” he says.
In other words, Adan was chasing that “what GM should’ve built” vibe, which is always interesting to see come together.
“I reached out to award-winning rendering artist Eric Brockmeyer to facilitate all the ideas I was envisioning for the project,” he says about the design process. “After a couple renditions, Eric narrowed the visuals down to the a version that I loved and knew was the right way to go.”
The first thing to address was the truck’s ride height and prep work for a shorter bed. Adan wasn’t going with anything too crazy here, as he opted for a tried and true 4/6 drop featuring Belltech lowering components to get the stance he was after as well as solid ride quality. Next, the existing frame was sized up and measured to see just how much would have to be cut to accommodate the shorter crew cab bed. In total, 29 inches would come out of the factory chassis to be compatible with the new bed. And with the rear drop being so low, the frame would also have to be equipped with a C-notch for ample axle clearance. Other modifications were also made to due to the bed changeup, but Adan and crew didn’t run into any major hurdles they couldn’t jump, and they made sure that 24-inch Lexani wheels and Pirelli rubber could fit perfectly underneath the fender wells.
With the suspension and bed conversion labor behind them, Adan then moved onto the much anticipated paint process. He took this opportunity seriously, making the extra effort to take the entire cab and bed apart. He sprayed the cab with LizardSkin insulation to cut down a large amount of road noise.
The engine bay was originally painted white, but he sprayed a satin black firewall forward to match all the factory black engine components. Those little touches do go a long way, but the moment to mix the custom PPG Global Silver, Gray and Bronze colors for the exterior paint proved to be the most exciting. From there, everything that was sporting factory chrome was stripped and painted to match. All the factory black texture parts were also smoothed and painted for a slicker appearance.
Moving to the interior, Adan lucked out with the seats as they came from the dealership covered in Katzkin leather. To up the ante inside the cab, Cy-Fair Upholstery was recruited to wrap the headliner and visors in suede, and the utilitarian vinyl flooring was tossed out and replaced with plush carpet for a more welcoming feel. Adan then painted all the interior plastics black to match the truck better.
Adan’s GMC Sierra looks very much like a factory concept model. It gets loads of attention, and most onlookers might not even realize just what it is they seeing. This is the truck that didn’t even exist before one guy who wanted to see it happen bad enough, made it happen. Hopefully someone with some pull at GM sees what Adan and his shop have done with one of its crew cab short bed pickups and agrees that the single cab short bed does have a place on the streets (although that’s just wishful thinking).
In a world of newfangled this and upgraded that, guys just want to build and drive. A truck that looks exactly like the one in his head. Adan has accomplished just that, and has proven that maybe, just maybe, there are still people out there who still buy trucks to customize to their heart’s desire, and not exclusively for hard labor.
“This truck has given me an opportunity to remember that if I have to get my hands dirty, I can still throw down,” Adan says about all the hard work that went into building his single cab Sierra vision. “For anyone else out there looking to build something that hasn’t been done yet, don’t give up and do it!”
2020 GMC Sierra 1500
Shop: Leading Edge Collision
29 inches cut out of the frame to accommodate the crew cab bed
Belltech 4/6 drop, drop spindles, adjustable Street Performance struts, factory leaf springs with flip kit
2020 GMC 5.3L V-8
Custom 3-inch exhaust system
Custom drive shaft for shortened 117-inch wheelbase
Rear frame C-notch
Crew cab fuel tank
Custom fabricated crossmember for tank
24×10-inch and 24×11-inch Lexani LC-Monza
285/35/R24 and 305/35/R24 Pirelli Scorpion Zero tires
Shop: Leading Edge Collision (paint by Diego Garcia)
Short bed conversion
Custom mixed PPG Global Silver, Gray and Bronze basecoat, Global 8152 clearcoat
Pinstriping running through the jambs and back panel of cab
Chrome inside headlamps painted gray
Chrome bumpers striped and painted to match
All factory black texture smoothed and painted
Shop: Cy-Fair Upholstery & Glass, Houston, TX
Suede headliner and visors
Factory seats covered in Katzkin leather and suede covers
All factory gray plastics painted black
Vinyl flooring changed to carpet