Southern Charm – Chad’s Laid Out 1998 GMC Sierra
His accent says “West Texas”, which is only partially true. The tall guy with the all-American boy looks was born in Lubbock, Texas, but that’s only because his folks were in the area when he decided to break free. In reality, Chad Fincher is from Hobbs, New Mexico, a city famous for … well, nothing really. Chad spent his formative years growing up in this small town, and when he turned 18, his father bought him a 1998 GMC Sierra as a gift for graduating high school. That truck took him through college and came with him when he moved to Phoenix, Arizona in the summer of 2003 with his new wife, Shelly, to start their life together.
This is all boring stuff really, I mean Chad’s life in small town New Mexico shouldn’t have a lot of bearing on the direction his truck went in, and in most cases, that would be correct. But here, with Chad and his ’98, however, the city of Hobbs actually plays a vital role in this build, because his dedication to his hometown is bordering on legendary.
It was May of 2004, and Chad was driving around Scottsdale, doing the computer software thing that had become his trade. Next thing you know, Chad hits someone and the front of the truck is gone. At this point, the ’98 was doing alright; it had a 4/6-drop, a rollpan that was primered a purple-ish color, and a mild stereo. This accident was the catalyst to taking the truck up a notch, and he decided to seize the opportunity by having the bodyshop install a brand-new Escalade front clip. Now he was color matched and rolling in style.
When it came time to bag the truck, Chad went back to Hobbs, and a few weeks later he drove the 12-hour distance back to Phoenix in his freshly laid-out truck. The crew had installed a KP Components cantilever 6-link, notched the rear and installed Air Ride Technologies upper and lower control arms with Firestone airbags. A year or so later, he bought a set of 20” Boss wheels and bolted them up to the truck, and bombed around town with the truck partially primered on 20s, perfectly content to let it be. Well, he was content with it anyways.
As things always seem to work out in the custom truck world, Chad started making new friends who were also into building hot rides, and he also joined an online forum called GMFullsize.com. There, Chad met Russell Wood, a builder from Scottsdale who also had a cool truck, but did most of his own work. At that point, after a few months of teasing and prompting, Chad caved and decided to take his truck up to the next level. It was time to kick it up a notch.
The next few months were a whirlwind. Chad and Russell started body dropping the truck in Russell’s garage, performing a channel job documented in Truckin’ magazine. He then hooked up with Bonspeed wheels and picked up a set of 22X8.5 Bonspeed Quasars with 5.75 inches of backspacing and paired those with some 265/35 Hankook tires provided by his buddy Scott “Finger” Harris. His truck wouldn’t lay on the 22’s right off the bat, so he went to his good friend Todd Burton at Lowboy Motorsports in Mesa, Arizona for a little suspension tweaking. Todd redid the bridge, cut out some parts on the front end and set the truck on terra firma where it belonged. Chad also picked up a shell for $50 off Craigslist, and with his truck in a few different colors, he headed off to his favorite city — Hobbs, New Mexico — where the truck would be prepped for the SEMA Show.
Chad had met a guy named James Torrez, the owner of Demented Customs in Hobbs, and from September to November, he’d be the guy coordinating the build. The truck was stripped down and the bodywork began, with the doors and tailgate handle getting the axe. Next the gas door was taken out and tilted at a 45-degree angle, adding a custom touch that most people wouldn’t notice. Although it was a good thought, the $50 shell went in the junk pile, and instead Chad hooked up with Leer and got a new shell that was substantially better than the Craigslist special. Next the truck was painted the factory maroon with a touch of House of Kolor Kandy while flames were laid down the hood and sides in a stark white. (Click on a picture to see it full size)
A lot of the custom accents found on the exterior of the truck have made their way to the interior as well. James and his crew built the custom console and subwoofer enclosure out of MDF and fiberglass, and painted everything plastic to match. Anything that couldn’t be painted was wrapped in either tan leather or burgundy suede. Craigslist turned up another hot deal on a Colorado Custom billet steering wheel, which Chad picked up for under $100. The stereo itself is pretty impressive, made up of components by Kicker and Stinger, all provided by the crew at ZK Express. They’re another Hobbs company that was involved with this build, and they hooked Chad up on the stereo equipment, tinted the windows and even sprayed a color-matched Reflex bedliner in the bed to make everything under the shell look perfect.
The team in Hobbs only had a little bit of time to get the truck done in time for the 2007 SEMA show, but it got done. In fact, Chad saw the truck in person for the first time when James towed the truck to Chad’s house on the way to the show. He drove it off the trailer and into a parking space where it would sit for the next 6 days, then back onto the trailer to go back to Phoenix. Since then, Chad’s been driving it around town with no worries. He’s since taken off the Leer camper just to change things up a bit, tweaked the stereo a bit and redone a few minor things here and there, but for the most part, the truck is good to go.
So what’s next for the guy who’s so dedicated to his hometown that he’s willing to drive 12 hours at a time just to be there? Get this — turns out Chad’s grandfather had a ’67 Ford Econoline pickup sitting behind his peanut processing plant for the past 20 years, and Chad just got the title. It was buried axle deep in sand, and actually had an ant hill in the engine bay. Well James and Chad recently winched the hulk onto a trailer and hauled it back to Phoenix, where it will be Chad’s next project. And of course, James will be handling the paintwork in Hobbs. This truck also was recently traded off to a car builder in Ohio, in exchange for a killer ’51 Ford Custom with a 302 and A/C. It was difficult to watch the truck leave, but after 10 years or so with the truck, it was time to move forward.
It’s been a long road, but Chad would like to send thanks out to everyone who have helped out on the project: Bonspeed Wheels, Leer, ZK Express, James at Demented Customs, Little T, Russell Wood, all his friends in Negative Camber, his brother Cody and of course, his wife Shelly.