There comes a time in every person's life when they must step back and take stock of a project truck. When you're so deep, deep, deep into a project that you can't see the light at the end of the work bench, when your wife dare not enter the garage for fear of being pelted by a flying Crescent wrench, when the money runs out and all hope is lost, you have to make a decision. You can either cut your losses and run as fast as you can away from that hole in the garage draining your pocketbook, run just as fast to the bar to spend your last buck on some suds to drown your sorrows, or simply take a break from the madness and pick up where you left off when you're in a better place, mentally. Each alternative has its merits, although we've never seen beer magically make bodywork disappear, and running away from home doesn't look too cool once you're out of high school. God knows we've seen quite a few projects change hands when the money runs out. We've also seen a bunch just wither away into a pile of rust after being pushed outside into the elements, only to be forgotten. Either scenario is a dismal end to something that had all the potential in the world to be a fun truck to drive, if you could just see it through to the end.
The following pages of Sport Truck are dedicated to some folks who have a great shot at seeing their projects through. Some are further along than others, and there's always a chance that a few won't make it to that magical land of painted sheetmetal and completed interiors. But, each owner has one thing in common: They are all nuts. These are arguably the most hardcore sport truck owners and builders on the planet. The trucks you are about to see are sick and wrong and we love them for it. They are long-term labors of love. Some have been under construction for five years or more. We'd be surprised to see a daily driver among this lot, even though a few are being built to be driven hard and fast. We have everything from insanely fast turbo'd mini-trucks to ultra-hammered fullsizes, so there's bound to be something you can glean inspiration from. So, sit back, relax, and hit the fan in the bathroom, because you're gonna be here for awhile drooling over the detail work of the best project trucks in America.
Way back in 1992-you know, back when those Wayne's World movies were out-GMC offered factory GT conversions for lowly Sonoma pickup owners, who wished they owned a Syclone but couldn't come up with the cash for the all-wheel-drive turbo'd terror. This isn't one of those trucks. It isn't even a real Syclone. It is much better than either of those trucks, and while we don't normally get all wishy-washy over trucks with ground effects stuck to the sheetmetal, this is a special occasion. Nearly a decade after the debut of the Sonoma GT, Jacqueline McGuire was cool enough to buy her husband, Martin, a Sonoma as a Christmas present. The Sonoma had 164,000 miles on the clock and looked nothing like what you see here, but it offered a canvas Martin could improve upon and tinker with. The birth of his daughter, Mackenzie, meant the project would sit another two years, though, before Martin had the time and money to begin modifying it. In the meantime, Martin scoured magazines and the internet for inspiration.
Ironically, it was right around Christmas in 2004 that the project really grew some legs and took off. Martin called Rad Rides By Troy looking for advice on a paint scheme and formed a friendship there with painter Bob Thrash. Bob promised Martin a rendering and, two months later, delivered the goods. Martin was so taken by the artwork that he decided the rest of the truck needed to be just as cool. His goal immediately changed from building a nice daily driver to constructing the most amazing ode to a Syclone anyone has ever laid eyes on.
Eager to put his excellent project management abilities to work, Martin contacted his friends at Competition Fabrication to lay out the plan to build a GT clone with the temperament of a Syclone, but with one other key ingredient: This truck would have a very pronounced street-rod influence. That influence took the entire build to a level most never attain. The guys at Competition Fabrication are responsible for the majority of the work on Martin's ride. CF revamped the chassis to not only bring the body down to a respectable level but also to make good use of nearly 800 hp that Martin had waiting. The company also cleaned up the lines of the truck with smooth body mods.
This motor is the bomb, plain and simple. It's lightweight and makes a ton of usable power, and you can't deny the appeal of twin hairdryers staggered across the engine bay. The power never goes to waste because a beefed-up 4l80-E AOD tranny transfers the ponies to a custom driveline and 9-inch rearend. Out back, 12 inches of rubber put it all to the ground, and a rollcage stiffens up the center of the frame. An adjustable parallel four-link is in place so that the truck maintains control during hard launches. It's one hell of a package.
Martin is on track to have this deal up and running by the time you read this. He's also making an appointment with the body shop shortly thereafter, so with any luck we'll get to go for a ride in this beast next summer. We'll have great snaps of his ride to bring you in 2007.
Martin McGuire / Downers Grove, Illinois
'92 GMC Sonoma
262ci Chevy V-6 / four-bolt Bow Tie block / Crower billet crankshaft / Oliver connecting rods / JE pistons / Pontiac 18-degree heads / Jesel roller valvetrain / Hogan sheetmetal intake manifold / Precision Turbo GTQ32, 51 trim Tangenal exhaust housing turbos / Innovative Turbo wastegates / Stainless Works 321 rod-builder exhaust / Aeromotive fuel system / Big Stuff 3 computer / MSD Pro Billet distributor / MSD 6A ignition box and Blaster coil / Billet Specialties serpentine pulley system / GM 4L80-E tranny built by Bowler Transmission / Ford 9-inch rearend with aluminum third member
Race Proven Motors and Competition Fabrication
FRONT: 18x8-inch Billet Specialties SLG20s / 225/45R18 BFGs
REAR: 20x10-inch Billet Specialties SLG20s / 295/45ZR20 BFGs
FRONT: Air Ride Technologies Shock Waves / Strong Arm control arms / Belltech 2-inch drop spindles / Belltech antisway bar / 14-inch Wilwood disc brakes / dual master cylinder with remote brake bias
REAR: Air Ride Technology Pro Ride system / custom parallel four-bar system / Shock Waves
Fiberglass front bumper modified for turbocharger air inlets / fiberglass Sonoma GT cladding / smoothed firewall and cowl area / billet hood hinges / cowl-induction hood / A-pillar modified to match fender lines / air intake cover / handmade inner fenders / bed sides narrowed to match cab width / shaved doors tailgate and fuel door / aluminum bead-rolled bed floor with access panels
Eight-point rollcage made from 1-3/4 material / leather/suede factory bucket seat conversion / carbon-fiber dash surround / custom center console / Auto Meter gauges / American Wire harness
His wife, Jacqueline, his kids, and everyone one who helped out, including Competition Fabrication, Rockford Racecraft, Precision Brakes Company, AVS, Auto Meter, Hydro Illusions, Race Proven Motors, Billet Specialties, Stainless Works, Flaming Rivers, Revolutions Industries