Zacatecas II

January 27th, 2012

Text and Photos by Jason Mulligan

Owner: Hector Esquivel; 1998 GMC Yukon; Duarte, CA; Nokturnal

Bringing SUVs to the Next Level With This SIK Showstopper

 

It’s become amazingly tough to standout from the crowd at custom truck shows. Chances are every modification you can think of has already been done in one way or another. The best way to bring your truck or SUV to the next level is create an overall package that combines all of the most radical, imaginative modifications into one clean ride. This is what Hector Esquivel, president of the Los Angeles chapter of Nokturnal, has done with his ‘98 GMC Yukon dubbed Zacatecas II. The first Zacatecas vehicle being a highly customized Avalanche that has garnered several awards throughout the years. Since Hector’s family is originally from Zacatecas, Mexico, it was only fitting to name his vehicles after that fact. With the Yukon, he has truly outdone his previous build, taking home several Best of Show awards at a variety of events, including DUB and Relaxin’ in So Cal, ever since the SUV debuted at SEMA. It wasn’t an overnight process, though, and he couldn’t have achieved a show-stopping SUV without the help of friends and sponsors.

The build started with a few simple ideas, but of course, it did not end up that way. Hector picked up the stock SUV as a daily driver. He brought it over to Kevin Currell at SIK Fabrication in Corona, California, for a simple air ride setup to make the ride more comfortable. After a long discussion, with both sides tossing out ideas, they decided to forgo the ‘bagged daily driver route and set out to build an insane SUV that would surely turn the show scene on its head. The first step was the suspension. The goal was to lay the Yukon flat out on 28-inch TIS Modular wheels and 295/30/28 Pirelli tires. To do this SIK Fabrications (http://sikfabrications NULL.com/) created a frame from the firewall back using 2 x 4 square tubing with a custom Y-link setup with Contitech airbags. A 2005 Silverado rearend was narrowed 6 inches and outfitted with Currie Enterprise axles. FOX 2.0 shocks with reservoirs were used out back as well. Up front, custom control arms to articulate the massive wheels were created and a CPP master cylinder and hydro boost were used for clearance on the smoothed firewall. A custom 28-gallon fuel cell was made. Finally, all of the suspension and the frame were either chromed or powder coated with a curved Plexiglas notch cover and custom wheel tubs with the NOK emblem bead rolled in.

To help better clear the 28-inch wheels up front and provide the SUV with a modern look, a 2010 GMC Yukon Denali front end was grafted on complete with tilt hood and custom smooth wiper cowl. Under the tilt hood sits a 350 SBC that was machined out to a 383 by Team C in Lakewood, California. For clearance, a RPC oil pan was used. Zoops brackets and pulleys fill the front, along with CFR components and a SPAL electric fan with a West Coast radiator. Under the core support is a set of Kinetik power cells to power everything. The engine sits atop Energy Suspension mounts and features Vortech heads, an Edelbrock manifold and 750 carburetor with MSD ignition components. For breathing, a Walter Prosper air cleaner brings air that is expelled by a custom Gibson exhaust system. Sitting behind the engine is a 700R4 transmission that was polished to a shine and outfitted with a B&M shift kit and Quicksilver shifter by Navi Transmission. Inland Driveshaft supplied the two-piece driveshaft to complete the package. A full Painless Performance wiring harness was also installed.

A Tiarra grille insert was added to the custom GMC Denali front end, and SIK Fabrication welded up a rear roll pan, shaved everything from the handles to the rear tailgate and lights smooth. The doors were given the suicide treatment and a glass roof was created. SIK draped the SUV completely in House of Kolor Lime Time Green before polishing it to a glass-like shine. On the inside, Bush at SIK took 2005 Avalanche bucket seats and stitched them in butterscotch leather with ostrich inserts. He also embroidered the headrests with the Nokturnal logo. The door panels and the dash were ‘glassed smooth before the dash was outfitted with Empire Billet accessories and a Billet Specialties steering wheel. A Dakota Digital gauge panel was installed, and SIK fabricated a custom center console that houses the B&M shifter, AVS switches and a 15-inch Gryphon TV screen.

The next step was to tackle the massive RE Audio system behind the front seats. The guys at SIK Fabrication broke out bails of fiberglass and a couple of gallons of resin to create the enclosures. One houses the air tanks and provides a third seat if need be, and another houses the RE Audio 15-inch subwoofers and RE Audio 2,500-watt amplifiers, as well as the gas filler. For the mid and high end of the sound system, six pairs of 6 x 9-inch speakers and a couple of pairs of 6 ½-inch components were molded in. The system is powered by Kinetik power cells and is run via a Pioneer head unit.

With the SUV completed, Hector has taken Best of Show at every event it has seen since SEMA. But he couldn’t have done it without the help and support from his wife Lucy, son Hector Jr., Kevin Currell and the guys at SIK Fabrication as well as Lil’ Raider, Richie Rich, Bear, Mike J, Rudy and Impala King.

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