A Wrong Turn Made Right
Life tends to take a few wild and unexpected turns from time to time, and so do careless drivers. Still, each obstacle that life throws out tests how we’ll handle adversity. Paul Rogers has met his challenges with perseverance and optimism.
More than a decade after purchasing his beloved ’97 GMC Sierra, Paul was T-boned in a car accident. Thanks to his love for customs and a supportive community, Paul got to work rebuilding his truck. His “Work Truck,” as he still calls it, however, would not be returning to OEM condition. Making the best of a bad situation, Paul decided to build a custom-body-dropped OBS with the platform he had. Setting to work with his own two hands, Paul finished a beautifully put together street truck, one that features classic cues, cohesive styling and rock-solid execution.
“Paul’s Work Truck is the quintessential enthusiast’s solution to an unfortunate accident: Build it better.”
His first order of business was establishing chassis modifications to accommodate the massive drop. He placed the frame on the chopping block and added a C-notch to the back half, which also required that the rearend be narrowed 4 inches. Custom Moser axles were added to get the job done. Additionally, the spring pockets were trimmed to create clearance for the new suspension components. A Thorbeck triangulated 4-link holds the rear suspension together. The front opts for Michigan Metal Works upper and lower control arms with 2-inch drop spindles. Both the front and rear use a combination of DJM lowering shocks with Slam Specialties RE7 airbags.
The five-spoke rollers underneath Paul’s Work Truck strike a perfect balance between visible and tucked. The GMC sports a set of staggered Bonspeed billet Huntington wheels. The front pair measures 9 inches wide, and the rears 10. All four boast a 22-inch diameter. The tires are paired with Toyo Proxes, 255/30R22 front and 285/30R22 rear. Factory GM brakes provide plenty of stopping power, using discs in the front and drums in the rear. Supplying power to the wheels is a bulletproof GM 5.7L Vortec V-8. The SBC has been accessorized with a K&N intake and Magnaflow mufflers. The result is a modest yet throaty exhaust tone that speaks volumes to Work Truck’s classic styling and persona. The motor is mated to a five-speed transmission, furthering the look and feel of a work truck.
“His GMC has been completely transformed from a modest daily-driver into a show-stopping performer, one that’s still capable of handling daily work.”
Paul’s truck bears a wide array of exterior modifications, including a traditional body drop. Thanks to its classic paint and styling, however, these fly low under the radar and create a cohesive, understated look that’s perfect for the GMC. The front styling is comprised of a stock chrome front bumper, paint-matched grille insert and sealed beam headlights. Shaved and smoothed door handles, roof seams and gas filler trail down the sides of Work Truck. Paul himself expertly carried out the bodywork, leaving only the ultra-smooth OBS body lines visible.
In the rear, stock tails light up the corners with additional tinning for a custom look. A smooth roll pan took the place of the bumper to continue the body lines and draw the eye to the truck’s minimal ground clearance. Behind the scenes, retrimmed and reinforced inner fenders, front and rear, tighten things up. Finally, the stock bed floor was raised to accommodate the C-notch and air suspension. It was finished in classic black bedliner for an OEM appearance. Then Paul painted Work Truck in Akzo Nobel Subaru Silver.
The interior is the only space where Paul outsourced some of the work. J Cat Customs helped reupholster the interior, creating a clean and elegant driving experience. The front and rear seats are outfitted with gray leather and suede inserts. The silver theme stretches floor to ceiling with custom gray carpet and headliner. The door panels and other interior accessories have also been paint-matched to the custom-smoothed dash. A Bonneville billet steering wheel matches Work Truck’s rolling attire. The five-speed trans is controlled with a billet Lokar shifter.
The dash and center console have both been beautifully customized to OEM quality. The center console houses the AccuAir e-Level controller and the dash fits a Kenwood double-DIN touchscreen head unit. The sound is sent through Kicker CX 1200 and CX 600 amplifiers to Alpine R speakers. The rear sports dual shallow-mount 10-inch Kicker subwoofers. The advanced stereo system is assisted by stealthy 3M sound deadener stretched throughout the cabin. The GMC’s system is fed plenty of power with dual Interstate Megaton batteries controlled by a digital isolator.
Paul’s Work Truck is the quintessential enthusiast’s solution to an unfortunate accident: Build it better. His GMC has been completely transformed from a modest daily-driver into a show-stopping performer, one that’s still capable of handling daily work. Its execution relies on simple styling and proven recipes for success. The polished billet wheels and accessories complement the bright silver exterior. The custom gray-adorned cabin finishes the monochromatic appearance. OEM body panels contrast with the frame-laying drop for a clean and bold presence. The truck is entirely well rounded, leaving Paul with a beautifully built resolution.
1997 GMC Sierra
St. Charles, MO
- 1997 5.7L Chevy small-block V-8
- Magnaflow mufflers
- K&N Intake
CHASSIS & SUSPENSION
- Thorbeck triangulated 4-link rear suspension
- Custom-narrowed rearend with Moser axles
- C-notched chassis
- Michigan Metal Work upper and lower control arms with 2-inch drop spindles
- DJM lowering shocks
- Slam Specialties RE7 airbags
- AccuAir V4U valve body and e-Level management
- OEM front discs and rear drums
WHEELS & TIRES
- 22×9 and 22×10 Bonspeed Huntington Billet wheels
- 255/30R22 and 285/30R22 Toyo Proxes
BODY & PAINT
- Traditional body drop
- Trimmed and reinforced inner fenders
- Paint-matched grille insert
- Rear roll pan
- Tinted OEM taillights
- Sealed beam headlights
- Shaved door handles, roof seams and gas filler
- Akzo Nobel Subaru Silver paint
INTERIOR & STEREO
- Custom-upholstered front and rear seats, gray leather with gray suede inserts
- Custom gray carpet and headliner
- Paint-matched interior panels
- Paint-matched and smoothed dash
- Custom center console for AccuAir e-Level controller
- Custom-cut dash with Kenwood touchscreen head unit
- Bonneville billet steering wheel
- Lokar billet shifter
- Kicker CX 1200 and 600 amplifiers
- Dual Kicker shallow-mount 10-inch subs
- Alpine R speakers
- Dual Interstate Megaton batteries with digital isolator
- 3M sound deadener
Special Thanks From the Owner: “Akzo Nobel for supplying the paint, Jim Tate at J Cat Customs for doing my seats, Chico for tons of advice, and last but not least, my family for allowing me to spend so much time in the garage.”