There’s a saying about “too much of a good thing” that we’ve heard over the years, but honestly we think that’s just a bunch of BS. Barry Higgins briefly thought that he might have too much of a good thing and sold his ‘63 GMC a while back to clear up some shop space and have one fewer trucks to worry about.
But after selling it, Barry realized that he needed another project to keep himself busy during his off time – not that he really had any. Fourteen-hour days are the norm for Barry, as he’s constantly busy with client builds at Higgins Customs (which, as he emphatically states, he wouldn’t change for anything). Still, there’s not much sense in being a truck guy if you don’t have a truck of your own!
As easy as it might seem to find an old truck to build, however, it’s finding the right old truck to build that becomes a true challenge. This is especially critical when you’re looking for something with killer patina. Weeks of searching online and asking around didn’t really amount to anything fruitful for Barry, but as fate would have it the truck ended up finding him at a show. “I saw this truck for the first time at Dino’s (Git Down). When I sold my previous GMC (George), I started looking for another GMC to build – something with good bones where I could go all out on the build. Turns out, the guy who bought George had acquired this truck. It was a perfect start for the build – great patina, no rust, original paint. Only problem was that flames had been painted on the hood and roof at one point in time. That’s how the name Burnt Ends came to be.”
With the ‘66 GMC back at his shop and ready to disassemble, Barry got right to work as was able to finish the truck in a matter of weeks… well, about 65 weeks, actually. Still, that’s an amazingly short amount of time considering that most of it was done after-hours! But without a ton of bodywork to take care of (besides for Jerome Borris working his airbrush magic to match the missing patina on the roof and hood), a lot of hours were shaved right off the to-do list.
Barry had some other strategic help along the way, as well. Using a Roadster Shop SPEC Series coil-over chassis meant saving a bunch of time over modifying the existing chassis or building one from scratch. Having Don Hardy Race Cars build the 758-horsepower 440 cubic-inch LSX, which is dressed to look like the truck’s original GMC 305 big-block V-6 with valve covers and an air cleaner by Greening Auto Company, saved even more time. It also allowed Barry to focus on other parts of the build, such as fabricating the custom 3-inch exhaust system and the custom storage compartment under the bed.
Once the fit and finish work was complete, Barry got to work on the interior, custom dyeing the leather in-house to perfectly match the engine and wheels before sending it along with the seat and the original door panels off to Shane McDowell at Leadfoot Custom Upholstery to do what he does best. When finished, the seat and door panels also sported ‘57 Plymouth cloth inserts to fancy things up a bit and complement the fresh black carpet.
Since Barry builds custom cars and trucks day in and day out, you’d think that he’d eventually run out of ideas for his own builds, but he tells a different story. “Working for customers, my personal preferences aren’t always reflected in the build. We all have our own style; that’s what makes the truck community so awesome. But I wanted to showcase a full build – start to finish – where every detail reflected my personal style. My very first truck was a 1965 Chevy truck; it’s always been favorite body style. I can’t think of anything I’d do differently. The truck turned out just as I had envisioned. Now that it is done and we’re getting it out, it’s been a great conversation piece. We’ve met lots of interesting people and had some good conversations around this truck. That’s the best part.”
And that’s what makes it all worthwhile. Barry wanted to be sure to give a shout out to Boris and Tony at Street Machinery, who he says were a huge help with the design and supply of several of the parts used on his truck.
BARRY HIGGINS • ‘66 GMC 3100
- All custom fabrication by Higgins Customs
- Don Hardy Race Cars 440ci LSX
- GMC valve cover adapters and valve covers by Greening Auto Company
- Don Hardy Race Cars billet oil fill valley cover
- Holley EFI with traction control and flex fuel
- Billet Specialties Tru Trac serpentine belt setup
- Stainless steel Ultimate Headers exhaust manifolds
- Custom 3-inch exhaust with Borla Pro XS mufflers
- PRC aluminum radiator
- Rick’s Tanks stainless steel fuel tank
- Bowler Tremec 6-speed transmission
- Tilton triple-disc clutch
- Bowler flywheel and shifter
- Roadster Shop SPEC Series chassis with coil-overs
- Ford 9-inch rear end with limited slip differential and 4.11 gears
- Little Shop MFG 16-inch Wilwood front and rear brake kits
- Wilwood brake proportioning valve
- Chassis plumbed with stainless steel and braided lines with AN hardware
- 20 and 22-inch Billet Specialties Turbine wheels
- Pirelli tires
- Cab tunneled and bed floor raised
- Mar-K black walnut bed flooring and sub-floor
- Hart Fab front and rear wheel tubs
- Switch Suspension hood hinges
- Original patina matched on hood and roof by Jerome Borris
- Hella H4 headlights
- Dakota Digital gauges
- Ididit tilt steering column
- Restomod Air A/C system
- American Auto Wiring harness
- Stinger sound deadening/insulation
- Snowden seat foam
- Custom dyed leather skins
- 1957 Plymouth cloth seat inserts
- Upholstery by Leadfoot Custom Upholstery
- Sparco seat harnesses