Sitting High: Phil Aceves’ 2015 GMC Denali

Central Valley California is one of the worlds most productive agricultural regions. A true hidden gem of family-oriented, hard-working citizens from all walks of life. Lots of agriculture require lots of farming equipment and of course, trucks. We ventured to the valley to discover many amazing things and people.

While many locals work in the industry with rugged equipment, we were pleased to discover the number of customized builds were in the area. These are no ordinary builds either, SEMA quality through and through. Customizing vehicles is sometimes considered an addiction.

If you build one, you can’t leave anything else alone! The same holds true for Central California native Phil Aceves. Phil was in the process of building a bagged mid 90’s Chevy 1500 pickup truck so he wanted something to tow it to shows with.

Little did he know, he would end up with two bonafide SEMA quality builds.”I’ve customized all my rides even if that meant adding some wheels to my wife’s truck, so of course, my daily was getting some love too.” He bought the GMC Denali in 2015 brand new, drove it stock for about three months and then…the itch.

Build Timeline

The Aftermath truck club hosts of some of Central Valley California’s finest custom trucks. Lifted or lowered, the builds coming out of the 559 area code are hidden gems.

He took his new truck to his buddy John at 559 Customs in Reedley, California and shared his vision on what he wanted this truck to look like. His only request was that his powder coat was to be matched to his bagged truck for the trailer hauls to shows. John had his own ideas to not only give Phil what he wanted but, get his truck up to SEMA quality standards.

Time was of the essence so work began right away ordering the new components in order to make the SEMA show in November. At this point, Phil didn’t know what he was getting himself into, but he went with it with a gut feeling. Thus, the build began just a few months shy of the SEMA show. Having the opportunity to have his truck at the SEMA Show meant the world to Phil. Having a feature build showcased at SEMA mean’s, “you’ve made it” or “best of the best”.

While waiting for the new suspension parts to be powered and chromed, Phil took the truck over to Coach Works in Visalia California. At Coach Works, Phil had all the plastic trim pieces and color-matched. From there, the Denali was sent over to Professional Car Audio for a major upgrade in the beats department. After the audio was complete, the new FTS suspension, wheels and tires were prepped and ready for installation.

Final Countdown

After a swift and grueling four weeks, Phils 2015 Denali build was complete and ready for the SEMA show in Las Vegas. The build exceeded his expectations with the amount of attention to detail put into it. The anticipation was overwhelming for Phil but all worth it in the end.

For a daily driven 2015 GMC, Phil's Denali looks like it came right off the showroom floor. He made enough changes for a feature build but kept it tasteful and classy. With the proximity of FTS suspensions in Central California, it's commonly seen amongst the builds in the 559 area code.

“Coming from a small town and driving such a clean build has its advantages. I get stopped frequently, people ask if I built it or bought it like this, and I always make sure to give my buddies at 559 Customs, Coach Works, and Professional Car Audio all the credit for their hard work. Jays Auto Body recently added a 2018 hood to keep the truck looking fresh. The Denali still has work to be done, but this is a hobby and until I run into the next one, I’ll just keep adding to this one.”

The Details

One of the most critical parts of any lifted build is the suspension and components. Phil went with the proven 10-inch lifted suspension system from Full Throttle Suspension (FTS). This included dual FTS shock with hoops up front and rear as well as rear traction bars. All suspension components were coated in Prismatic Powder Candy Blue.

Phil's new FTS suspension components seen here accented with Prismatic Powders Candy Blue and Chrome.

With nearly thousands of wheel options on-the-market, it took days to decide what shoes this Denali was going to wear. Phil went with a set of chrome 22×14 American Force Vector Series wheels wrapped in 335/40R22 series Nitto Trail Grappler tires. Not too big and not too small. Just enough for show and still have a comfortable ride for its daily use. The American Force wheels were also paint matched to the chassis in Candy Blue.

The Denali wears a set of chrome 22x14 American Force Vector Series wheels accented with candy blue, wrapped in 335/40R22 series Nitto Trail Grappler tires.

Factory Denali interiors are pretty nice right from the factory, including in-dash monitors and a rear flip-down monitor, so Phil didn’t need to do much with it. However, the factory stereo equipment just wasn’t going to cut it.

Already satisfied with thew factory Denali interior, Phil only needed to make a few changes on the inside. Additions include (2) Rockford Fosgate 12-inch subwoofers powered by Rockford Fosgate amplifiers, mounted in a custom box underneath the back seat.

He took it to his friends at Professional car audio for some upgrades. Out came two brand new Rockford Fosgate T1 12-inch subwoofers powered by two Rockford Fosgate amplifiers built in a custom box, nestled under the rear bench seat.

Rounding out the added goodies on the Denali inlace, C4 LED lights underneath, a billet antenna, and a chrome tow hook! Phil has several ideas on want he wants for upgrades in the future. These include bumpers, grille, more LED lighting, and possible interior upgrades! We can’t wait to see!

About the author

Eddie Maloney

A resident of Las Vegas, Eddie has been involved in drag racing most of his life. Currently an NHRA tech and photographer, he has served 17 years in the military.
Read My Articles

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