One of the stops on the Power Tour this year was Coker Tire, which is where we came across this '72 GMC truck. Sure, the brilliant Torch Red finish stopped us in our tracks, but upon closer examination it proved to be a truck that was well done-not overdone. Tasteful modifications and improvements added to the look, and, of course, the fact that it was GMC made it all the more interesting.
Shortly after that first encounter we met Gary Lane, the owner and builder of one very nice '72 GMC Sierra. Gary is in the fence business so he's familiar with driving a truck; he does it every day. When it came time to select a hot rod project a truck seemed like a natural choice. "I've fooled around with cars ever since high school in the '70s, but this is my first real frame-off, full restoration," Gary says.
As it turns out, this particular truck was originally ordered with full Sierra trim, shortbed, factory A/C with 350 ci coupled to a Turbo 400 transmission. It was a very well-optioned GMC truck. The original color combination was dark green over white, and the good news is the truck was exceptionally rust-free with just traces of surface rust. Every panel on the truck is original from the floorboards to the tailgate. The fact that the original motor and transmission were still in working order was further testimony that this truck had been well cared for over the years.
And so a deal was struck. Gary purchased a truck project that he could tackle with the help of his son, Terry, and the full support of his wife, Pam. While the truck was an exceptional example, it was still a 35-year-old truck that had seen plenty of miles over the years. It was ready for a ground-up rebuild.
Work began by dismantling the truck down to the bare frame. Then, each piece was painstakingly refurbished and assembled on the frame by Gary and Terry. Wherever possible upgrades and improvements were needed they made along the way, such as replacing the worn steering gear with a new steering box from Flaming River. Likewise, new disc brakes were installed on 21/2-inch drop spindles, and even the ring-and-pinion in the 12-bolt rear was changed out for a new unit with a final gear of 3.73. A set of 4-inch lowering springs was added out back and stainless steel brake lines replace the 38-year-old original pieces. A new fuel tank was designed by Gary and fabricated by Boyd Welding. The truck rolls on a set of one-off wheels from Billet Specialties measuring 17x9.5 and 18x10.5, front and rear respectively. Tires are from Fusion with ZR-1 255/50R17 up front and ZR-1 285/60R18 handling the horsepower on the rear.
While all of the chassis work was being completed the engine was sent out to Billy Smith Racing, where it received a complete rebuild designed for more power and reliability. The block was bored .030 and the fresh holes were filled with Speed-Pro pistons hooked to polished H-beam rods. A forged Scat crankshaft is held in place via the original four-bolt main caps. A COMP Cams 244/501 bumps the valves in the 041 "peanut" heads. COMP Cams springs and rockers complete the valvetrain. Fuel comes from a Holley 650-cfm double pumper while Mallory provides a hot spark. Ceramic-coated Hooker headers and Flowmaster mufflers complete the performance package. The original Turbo 400 was sent off for an overhaul completing the driveline and chassis work.