1965 GMC Custom Truck: Packed With a 600+ Horsepower Blown LS1

When we first came across this chocolate brown 1965 GMC pickup on display in the front lobby of the Sacramento Autorama a couple years ago it surprised us.

Sacramento, California, has always held a reputation as a hotspot for great customs, and the Autorama is the place to see the best of them.

Source/hotrod.com

However GMC pickups are not famous as the raw material for custom show trucks. 

It’s  more likely that Chevy trucks end up in show business while GMCs are more typically cut out for a life of labor and then retirement.

The case of this LS1-powered GMC Fenderside, and its destiny as a prize-winning work of art could not have been predicted when James Connerley’s father bought it new 55 years ago. 

Source/hotrod.com

According to Connerley his dad was one to stick to the basics and might not have shared his son’s vision for the truck. “He used to say that the more things you do to it, the more things there are that can break down,” he told us. 

When Connerley was ready to start the transformation of his GMC from a tired stocker into the award-winning custom you see here, he contacted Jeff Norene at Lee’s Vintage Car Shop in West Sacramento.

This was a reunion for the duo since Norene and the crew at Lee’s Vintage Car Shop built Connerley’s 1948 Chevy Sedan Delivery, which earned a couple big awards at the 2008 Sacramento Autorama a few years earlier.

Under that custom paint the 1965 GMC sheet metal remains almost completely stock. 

All Classic trucks enthusiasts know that GMCs and their Chevrolet brothers are outwardly almost identical twins, with the exception of the GMC’s grille section and quad headlights. Exterior custom details on Connerley’s Fenderside include the 1937 Ford tail lights, tinted glass, and a custom rear pan behind the stock bumper.

The factory bed has been modified with custom latches to replace the original chains. The bed floor was built from mirror-finish stainless strips and oak boards with four coats of clear. Hours of blocking and sanding went into perfecting the sheet metal before Lee’s Vintage shot the custom mix PPG Envirobase metallic brown paint. Dillon Proctor added the elaborate pinstriping and gold leaf to the hood, tailgate, glovebox, custom battery box, and coil covers.

Source/hotrod.com

Rex Hutchison Racing Engines in Sacramento built the 2009 Chevy LS1 engine for the GMC. A Vortech V-2 SC1 supercharger tops the engine, drawing air from a K&N air cleaner and feeding an Edelbrock intake manifold. 

Hedman Hedders and 3-inch exhaust pipes carry out the exhaust. Connerley sent us the results of the dyno testing done by Rex Hutchison, which showed a peak horsepower number of 632.9 hp at 5,900 rpm. A 4L80E transmission assembled by Anthony Watson that backs up the engine.

Judges at the Sacramento Autorama selected Connerley’s 1965 GMC Fenderside for two awards: 1st Place in the Full Pickup category and Outstanding Truck. Street Rodder magazine chose the pickup as a Top 100 winner and later in the year voted it a runner-up for 2008 Street Rod of the Year. 

This truck is now a work of art.

Source/hotrod.com

When we first came across this chocolate brown 1965 GMC pickup on display in the front lobby of the Sacramento Autorama a couple years ago it surprised us.

Sacramento, California, has always held a reputation as a hotspot for great customs, and the Autorama is the place to see the best of them.

However GMC pickups are not famous as the raw material for custom show trucks. 

Under that custom paint the 1965 GMC sheet metal remains almost completely stock. 

All Classic trucks enthusiasts know that GMCs and their Chevrolet brothers are outwardly almost identical twins, with the exception of the GMC’s grille section and quad headlights. Exterior custom details on Connerley’s Fenderside include the 1937 Ford tail lights, tinted glass, and a custom rear pan behind the stock bumper.

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