"I'm not mad at T.J. for wrecking...
"I'm not mad at T.J. for wrecking my truck. After all, I woke him up early to drive it to the boat launch." -Jay Martinez
Even though Jay Martinez's '99 GMC Sierra is amazingly cool and on our cover, it's not a first for this truck. In fact, this is the same truck that was on our Oct. '04 cover. The reason it looks so different this time around isn't because Jay likes rebuilding already-beautiful trucks. You see, Jay drives his truck no matter how custom it is. He doesn't waste his hard work just to trailer the truck to shows. In fact, he uses this truck to haul a boat on a trailer, and that's exactly why it got ruined.
Last year, during spring break, Jay drove the truck to Lake Havasu, Arizona, to attend a truck show. The benefit of going to this show was that not only could Jay cruise his ride, but he could also have fun in his boat. You see, the show was right near the water, and the hotel Jay stayed at was also along the lakeshore. After spending a few hours on the water, Jay was tired and decided to dock his boat at the hotel, instead of making a trek back to the show grounds, where the boat launch was.
After a night of having fun, Jay woke up early to get packed and ready for his haul back to Fowler, California. In doing so, he needed to get his boat on the trailer and woke up his friend T.J. Miller to help him handle this task. The plan was for Jay to drive the boat to the launch ramp, while T.J. would meet him there with the truck and trailer. The road from the hotel to the launch was under construction, and the asphalt was ground down for a new surface layer. The construction left a manhole cover sticking out several inches from the asphalt. Half awake, T.J. cruised to the launch ramp with hardly any air in the suspension, which meant that Jay's truck was rolling dangerously low to the ground. The truck hit the manhole cover at 25 mph and came to a sudden stop when the front crossmember got caught.
The once-glorious cover-truck was severely damaged and driven back to the hotel with a knocking engine. T.J. was frightened to the point of almost shedding some tears but manned up to call Jay to tell him what happened. What T.J. did not know was how bad the damage was, aside from the front-end body damage and the messed up tailgate from the trailer that swung around during the sudden stop. What he could not see was that the frame was buckled, and the motor was broken from a front-mounted drag-plate going into the oil pan. When Jay got back to the hotel, he could see the truck was seriously wounded and was not going to make it home in its current condition. So, he called for a couple of favors to get the truck and boat back to his shop, Jay's Auto Body.
Back in Fowler, California, Jay was able to assess how much frame damage there was and hooked up with Terry Elms of Draggers Inc. in Fresno, California, for the repairs to the suspension. Originally, when the two of them got down to discussions, Jay was tossing out the ideas of repairing everything or putting it aside for the build of a brand-new truck. Terry had different feelings and saw it as an opportunity for both of them to create a name for their new businesses. Instead of fixing the motor and chassis, they decided to redo it, so they set the '06 SEMA Show as the date to debut it.
Terry knew that the best place to start would be the frame, since the old one was wrecked. Then, a plan was made for a body-drop. He got a hold of a salvaged front clip and made a new set of framerails from mandrel-bent 3/16-inch-thick 2x4-inch rectangular steel behind it. The front framehorns that mount to the bumper were dropped down to compensate for the body-drop. Since the bed was being moved forward 1-1/4 inches to minimize the gap between it and the cab, Terry made a tubular structure on the frame to prevent the cab and the bed from smacking against each other. Jay salvaged a 6.0L engine from a wrecked SS Chevy truck and traded the matching transmission for an Escalade version with 2WD capabilities. It was mounted to the frame, and the transmission tunnel on the cab was raised 1 inch for plenty of drivetrain clearance.
Although the frame was shaping up, it was not going to be ready in time for the scheduled appointment at Jay's shop for bodywork. To get the cab and bed to the body shop, Terry borrowed a rolling chassis to mount the body to. The truck was transported to Jay's shop, and the front fenders were straightened out first. To mold the front plastic bumper to the steel fenders, Jay used the Kent 45 filler agent. Once all of the damage to the sheetmetal was worked flat, the truck was rolled into the paint booth; Walter Pena laid down the Tangelo base paint and then covered it in three coats of clear. The bright-orange truck was then sent out to Kool Hand Kreazionz, where Kool Hand Luke taped off and sprayed on the stylish new graphics.
Back at Draggers Inc., Terry had his hands full, creating the rear suspension. This included making crossmembers and fabricating the skull-design bridge support for the rear frame. The frame was complete and sent to the powdercoater, while the suspension got its shiny chrome coating. After the chassis components were sent back to the shop, they were bolted to the beautiful new frame. Soon enough, Kool Hand Luke was done with the body, and it was also sent back to Terry's shop. With a few more helping hands, the heavy extended cab was lifted on the frame, so that the two could be secured together. The truck was pretty well wrapped up and sent to J's Alarm for the stereo installation. At the same time, Raudell Jacobo from Big Daddy Upholstery stitched up the seats with stingray inserts. The truck was sent back to Terry's shop, and all of the finishing touches were applied before the haul to the show.
At 4:30 a.m. on the Saturday before SEMA, Jay and Terry finished the truck. They went home for a few hours of sleep, loaded the truck on a trailer, and then headed for Viva Las Vegas. When Jay first began the rebuild, he told people that he was planning on making it ready for the show, and they just laughed at him. Even though it was down to the wire, they arrived at SEMA ready to rock, and they proved everyone wrong. Many years ago, it was called Born Bad, and because of the recent tragedy, it had to be Resurrected from the dead. Now that it has been featured on our cover, Jay plans on doing nothing less than driving it once again.
You know you're dedicated...
You know you're dedicated to your truck when you get a tattoo of it on your forearm! Check out Jay's ink of his Sierra as it used to look before it was resurrected.
Jay Martinez / Fowler, California
'99 GMC 1/2-ton extended cab 1500
6.0L V-8 from an '04 Chevy SS truck / custom exhaust with Dynaflow mufflers / computer and main fuse block relocated to under the cowl / automatic transmission from '04 Escalade swapped in for the 2WD, opposed to the 4x4 SS tranny / rebuilt all U-joints on the driveshaft / Chevy 10-bolt rearend narrowed 4 inches with rebuilt 4.1:1 gears
By: Draggers Inc. of Fresno, California
Front & Rear: 24x10-inch Intro Pentias with 5.5-inch backspacing
Front & Rear: 275/25R24 Pirelli PZeros
Front: BHC upper and lower control arms / McGaughy's 2-inch drop spindles / Slam Specialties RE-7 'bags / Monroe shocks
Rear: Custom-made triangulated four-link / Slam Specialties RE-7 'bags / Monroe shocks / (Accessories) two Air Zenith compressors / six Parker valves / AVS polished seven-button switch box and complete compressor wiring kit
Chassis: Modified '04 Chevy 1500 front clip / one-off body-dropless frame from the firewall back, made of 3/16-inch mandrel-bent 2x4-inch rectangular steel / '05 Chevy disc brakes up front and '00 Chevy rear disc brakes with calipers flipped to match front / hydro boost brake booster for clearance for 24s / custom-made polished aluminum fuel cell / all wiring, air lines, and gas lines routed inside framerails for a clean look
By: Terry Elms, Donald Perkins, Devin Kile, and Josh McConnell of Draggers Inc. of Fresno, California
Shaved door handles, third brake light, taillights, tailgate, Sir Michaels roll pan, and Street Scene wiper cowl / modified trailer fenders for wheeltubs in bed / '02 Chevy Avalanche front clip with fenders molded to the bumper / 48-inch Hitech Products LED brake light / Suicide driver-side door / Street Scene sport mirrors
By: Jay's Auto Body in Fowler, California
House of Kolor Tangelo, Viper Red with orange flake, and black with red flake / Sherwin-Williams clear
By: Walter Pena of Jay's Auto Body / (graphics) Kool Hand Luke of Kool Hand Kreazionz in Fresno, California
'04 Chevy bucket seats up front / rear seat cut in half to make two buckets / seats upholstered in black leather with stingray inserts / smoothed and painted '04 Chevy dash / '04 Cadillac Escalade gauge cluster / Colorado Customs steering wheel / custom-made Plexiglas center console to house amplifiers / Dynamat sound-deadening material completely covering the inside of cab
By: Raudell Jacobo of Big Daddy Upholstery in Pixley, California
Alpine IVAW200 double-DIN 6.5-inch touch-screen / Rockford Fosgate 6-1/2 coaxial and 5-1/2 coaxial speakers in door panels / Rockford Fosgate 3x4-inch coaxial speakers in rear door panels / 3-1/2-inch separates with 1-inch tweeters pillar set from Car Design / two Rockford Fosgate 450.4 amps for mids / four Rockford Fosgate 1200.2 amps for subwoofers / four Rockford Fosgate 12-inch P3 subwoofers in custom-made box in bed ported to cab / eight Directed Electronics monitors / custom fiberglass headliner to house monitors
By: J's Alarm and Car Audio in Fresno
To everyone who gave up their free time to help accomplish what they set out to do, even if at times they didn't think it was possible.