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2003 GMC Sierra Duramax Diesel - Utah Explorer

Powell Never Discovered Anything This Amazing

Photography by Steve Temple

Major John Wesley Powell first arrived in Utah in the late 1800s, bringing with him a crew of topographers, geologists, scientists, artists, and photographers. When their horse-drawn wagons rolled into Kanab, the settlement was in its infancy. Only a few scattered houses stood outside the fort, yet the town was a welcome rest stop for men who had just spent grueling weeks voyaging down the Green and Colorado rivers. This location was an ideal staging area for expeditions. From this base camp, Powell and his survey team fanned out in all directions, exploring the wonders of the Grand Canyon.

So what does this tidbit of history have to do with a fully outfitted, modern-day diesel truck? Well, imagine for a moment what it would have been like if Powell had this sort of vehicle back then. Bart Miller, who now resides in St. George, Utah, certainly didn't have Powell in mind when he built up his '03 GMC, but the contrast with a covered wagon is startling and puts into perspective just how truly amazing our diesel rigs have become.

Of course, there weren't any dragstrips in Powell's day, but if there were, the modified LB7 diesel could haul this wagon a quarter-mile in 13 seconds flat. Pulling this much power out of his Duramax required an intake from S&B, and the bite from all of Bully Dog's performance fangs: the Triple Dog Power Pup Downloader, Dyno Dominator Power Module, dual shot nitrous, and propane kit. A Bully Dog Outlook Monitor keeps close track of this big canine's vitals, and a 5-inch exhaust expels an estimated 659 hp. Talk about a stampede of wild stallions, the engine pumps out some 1,369 lb-ft of torque.

The electronics alone are something to marvel at, with a DIRECTV satellite dish mounted on the Century tonneau cover and nine video monitors in the cabin for constant access to the outside world, no matter how remote the location. For spotting wild critters prowling around from behind, a Webasto back-up camera checks out the rear view, day or night. Try explaining these devices to some of Powell's hardy explorers. "What kinda dish didya say, pardner?" would likely be their mystified response.

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