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How To Lower a ’88-’98 Chevy Using Belltech!

Lowering a ’88-’98 Chevy Using a 4/6 Belltech Kit

When considering a lowering kit for your 1988-1998 C1500 or (OBS GM Truck), you’ll find there are quite a few options out there. Most companies offer parts individually, so you can get creative with parts combinations in order to get your desired results. In our case, we wanted to try and get this job done with performance and ultimate ride quality in mind. Being that Belltech Suspension was a huge part of the sport truck movement back in the ’90s, the company knows a thing or two about OBS GM trucks.  With that said, naturally they were our first call when we decided to tackle the suspension on our 1990 C1500.  

We decided to utilize the 3-inch drop spring and paired those with the 2-inch drop spindle up front. To achieve our desired drop out back, we went with a flip kit. The flip kit is also adjustable drop because it comes with new rear shackle mounts that when paired with the flip kit will yield either a 7 inch or 8 inch.  We topped everything off with Street Performance Shocks/Shock extenders and front and rear sway bar kit.

Belltech lowering kits include all the parts and pieces you need to achieve not only the look you want, but the alignment, and performance and safety you need. These complete lowering kits are your all-in-one-box solution, providing you with all the necessary parts to lower your truck. Made up of a variety of combinations as well as all the installation and alignment pieces necessary to achieve the listed lowering, choosing your kit has never been simpler. And the install is even easier! Let’s get started.


 Factory brake caliper on an 1988-1998 C1500
After removing the wheel, we started disassembling the factory front suspension. Our first step here was to remove the factory brake caliper, which can be accomplished by loosening the two large Allen head bolts that hold it to the spindle.
removing the hub/brake rotor assembly
When removing the hub/brake rotor assembly, you must first remove the factory dust cap, which can be accomplished by using a flathead screwdriver to gently pry the cap away from the rotor. If it has never been removed this may require you to tap the screwdriver gently with a hammer to get it between the rotor surface and the cap.
Belltech lowering kit install
We then removed the spindle castle nut and slid the hub/brake rotor assembly off the spindle, then we were able to remove the dust shield by removing the three bolts holding it to the spindle.
With the outer tie rod nut removed, we used a hammer to free the tie rod from the spindle. A common mistake that people make when doing a job like this at home is hitting the tie rod. A couple good whacks with a heavy hammer on the spindle itself will free the tie rod. Never hit the tie rod itself, it will damage the tie rod and it won’t help free it anyway.
At this point you’ll need to put a floor jack under the lower control arm applying some pressure, but not enough to lift the truck off of the jack stands. We always position the jack so that the handle is facing the front of the truck and the jack can be operated from this position.
Removing shocks on an 1988-1998 Chevy
Our next step was to remove the shock. This is done by removing one nut at the top of the shock stud and the two lower shock bolts that go up through the lower control arm, and then you can remove the shock through the opening in the lower control arm.
Upper and lower control arm assemblies for a Belltech lowering kit
We will be replacing our upper and lower control arm assemblies during this installation, so we went ahead and removed all 4 control arm bolts, the sway bar end links from the lower control arms and removed the upper and lower control arms.

 Belltech springs
We then re-installed our control arms and positioned the new Belltech spring into the spring pocket (it helps to have someone hold the spring in place for you) then position the jack back under the lower control arm with light pressure on the arm.  Now you can place the spindle on the lower ball joint stud, lower the upper control arm down to position the ball joint stud back through the new spindle and then secure the spindle by installing the ball joint nuts and new cotter pins (we do not recommend re-using old cotter pins). We then installed our new Belltech street performance shock through the lower control arm re-using our original bolts.
Next up is the hub/brake rotor assembly.  Going back together we opted for all new bearings, seals and rotors.  You can re-install your old assembly, however either way you decide to go, we recommend having your rotors turned, new seals and re-packing your bearings at a minimum.

We applied some self-etching primer and rattle can black to our new rotors to prevent flash rust. After this was done we moved on to packing our new bearings and installing the new seals on the hub/rotor assembly.  (If you do not have a seal install kit, you can find a socket that has the same overall diameter as your seal).

Belltech lowering kit install

Belltech tie rods
Our next step was to assemble our new inner and outer tie rods with new our new adjusters and attach them to the new drop spindle using the new nut and cotter pin.

Now it’s time to ditch the old front sway bar in favor of our new one from belltech, but first we must remove our factory sway bar.  This was a breeze since our sway bar end links were already disconnected.
We began preparing our new sway bar by applying the provided bushing grease to the contact areas of the new bushings, and installing the bushings with brackets. We went ahead and assembled the end links and installed them on the sway bar.
We then moved the sway bar underneath the truck and into its mounting location. It’s best to have someone to help with this step by holding it up into position.  If you don’t have an extra set of hands you can use your floor jack to hold it in position.  Once this is done we attached the sway bar end links to the lower control arms.  You’ll want to leave them loose for now and then come back and tighten them.  At this point you can line the sway bar bushing brackets up with the threaded holes in the frame and install the 4 bolts you removed earlier.
To finish off the front suspension we went back over everything and did a good nut and bolt check ensuring to torque everything to factory specs. Also this is a great time to hit all of those grease points on the front end.
Our first task on the rear suspension was to remove the bed.  This kit can be installed without doing this, however we recommend removal of the bed.  We removed the 8 bed bolts, fuel filler flange, ground strap near the fuel filler neck, ground for the taillight harness, and unplugged the taillight harness near the rear of the frame.  We were lucky enough to have an overhead crane in the shop to assist in the removal of the bed, however this can be accomplished by bribing a few friends with free pizza and something cold to drink.  We took this opportunity to do a quick pressure wash of the chassis before we got started.  This isn’t just for cosmetic reasons.  Removing all of the old gunk can help speed up the process when removing old parts and hardware.

We then removed the receiver hitch, factory shocks, the spare tire, and the old rusty tailpipes that had to go due to clearance issues.
We could then turn our attention to the axle and getting it ready to be flipped.  With the truck on jack stands (supporting the chassis) and the rear end supported by our floor jack we then removed the factory u bolts and leaf spring plates. Now you can lower the rear end away from the leaf spring packs, but not so far that it puts tension on the rear brake line.
Now it was necessary to remove the bolts that secure the brake line and wiring harness to the inside of the frame rail.  There are two bolts securing the brake line transitioning fitting to the chassis and two bolts securing the rigid brake line and electrical wiring to the chassis.  These parts are secured in nylon clips that must be clear of the chassis while we do our cutting and installing of the c-notch.

We then used the supplied template and some chalk to mark our cut lines for the c notch.  In the upper corners of our cut marks we used a ½” drill bit to drill a hole in each corner.  Now on to our favorite part, the cutting! cut the chassis along the lines we scribed in the previous step.  This can be done with an angle grinder with a cut off wheel, plasma cutter or reciprocating saw.

With our chassis cut we were now able to line up our c notch utilizing the locating holes and clamp it in place utilizing a c clamp.  Make sure the C-section top flange is in contact with the top of the vehicle chassis.  Now utilizing the ½” holes in the C-section as a guides, we drilled through the 8 holes on the side and the 2 on the bottom.  We then installed the kit supplied hardware.
Now on to getting the axle back in place!  At this time we hung the front of the leaf spring by re-installing the factory bolt and nut through the bracket and leaf spring eyelet.  Utilizing our floor jack we lifted our rear end high enough to allow us to swing the rear of the leaf spring pack back up into the factory leaf spring bracket.  At this point we re-installed the factory bolts into the shackle and left everything hand tight.  It is important not to tighten the leaf spring bolts until the weight of the vehicle is on the springs.
Our next step was to position the new Belltech axle saddle brackets, and secure everything with the new grade 8 u bolts, locking nuts and leaf spring plates.  Make sure the “ears” on the axle tube saddle locate under the edges of the rear axle tube spring pad.
With all of the lowering components installed on the rear of the chassis, we could move on to getting that beefy rear sway bar installed.  We began by assembling the end links and loosely installing them on the sway bar and using the kit supplied bushing grease to lubricate the contact areas of the bushings.
The last step before re-installing the bed was to go back over all of our hardware and torque to factory and manufacturer specifications……..and of course admire our new belltech suspension. We then re-installed the bed and re-connected our grounds and taillight harnesses. It is very important that you bring the truck straight to an alignment shop and have it properly aligned for safety and to prevent premature wear on your expensive tires.
Here’s a better photo of the completed truck, after alignment and ready to be driven. We are super happy with the overall ride quality of the truck. The results are a very noticeable drop, without giving up any ride quality, and without having to trim anything out due to tire rubbing.

Belltech Lowering Kit | ’96 GMC Sierra C1500

Installing A Belltech Lowering Kit in a ’96 GMC Sierra C1500

When it comes to lowered trucks, the stance is everything! Without the proper stance, the truck will not look good or handle correctly. One company has been getting it right since 1983—Belltech. 

Belltech was at the forefront of the sport truck craze in the early ’90s building parts for none other than the GMT400 trucks. The launch of the drop spindle allowed people to lower their trucks while maintaining front-end geometry. They also addressed the rest of the suspension with shackle kits, flip kits and lowering coil springs. All of these components resulted in a ride quality that hadn’t been realized before now.

We recently picked up a 1996 GMC Sierra C1500 as a project truck. It was a bit rough around the edges but had great bones and potential. A little elbow grease and replacing a few things such as the carpet and body side moldings had the truck looking much better than when we bought it. The next step was to address the suspension, brakes and wheels.

’96 GMC Sierra C1500

To get the stance and look we wanted, we reached out to our friends at Belltech and Ridler wheels. We knew we wanted it to be low, but didn’t want to lay frame. The folks at Belltech recommended a 4/6 lowering kit with their Street Performance shocks part #688SP. We chose the new Ridler 606 gray with milled spoke wheels wrapped in Toyo rubber to round out the look we were after.

While we were tearing into the suspension, we also decided to upgrade the brakes and steering components. We chose drilled and slotted front rotors and a rear disc conversion from Little Shop Manufacturing. To ensure the truck steered straight and true, new steering components and balljoints were in order from Proforged.

All of these parts combined are going to create a truck that handles as well as it looks. Lets dive into what it takes to istall a 4/6 lowering kit from Belltech.

Belltech Lowering Kit
We laid all of the parts out and took inventory to ensure we had everything we needed to get the job done.
Removing the bed on a ’96 GMC Sierra to install a Belltech lowering kit
The first order is to get the bed removed. We also chose to take a pressure washer to the frame to get rid of years of caked-on dirt and grime.
After we got the truck on the lift, we removed all of the wheels and tires. We decided to start on the front first. Unbolt the caliper and secure it out of the way to prevent damaging the brake hose. Remove the dust cap from the rotor, remove the spindle nut and the rotor assembly. Next detatch the backing plate from the spindle by unfastening the three bolts.
Take out the two bottom bolts and upper nut from the shock and discard the shock.
Pull out the cotter pins and unfasten the nuts from the tie rod end, upper and lower ball joints. Leave both nuts on the ball joints at this time to prevent the coil spring from unloading.
Support the lower control arm with a jack. Using a deadblow hammer, gently strike the spindle at the lower ball joint to release it. Repeat for the top ball joint. Once loose, you can now remove the nuts from the ball joints.
Slowly lower the control arm to release the tension on the coil spring. Make sure to stay clear in case the spring bounces out. Lift the spindle off of the lower ball joint. Now is the time to replace those worn-out ball joints as we did.

A comparison of the spindles and springs shows the difference and how it results in a drop.
The springs come with a 1-inch spacer for the top. Use this spacer for a 4-inch drop. If a 5-inch is what you are after, omit the spacer. Now install the spring back into the spring pocket. Using a jack slowly apply tension to the spring. Make sure it seats properly into the lower control arm.

Set the new spindle on the lower ball joint and hand tighten the lower ball joint castle nut. Slowly jack up the lower control arm until the upper ball joint is fully inserted into the spindle and install the castle nut. Re-attach the tie rod end. Torque the castle nuts to 90 lb-ft and install new cotter pins.

Intall the new Street Performance shocks. The upper shock cover must be removed for the shock to fit into the control arm.
Reinstall the dust shield and rotor assembly and brake caliper. Repeat the process for the other side. Let’s move on to the rear.
Start by supporting the rear axle with a jack. Make sure to put a slight pre-load on the springs to aid in removing the spring bolts.

Starting on one side, remove the shock and U-bolts

While supporting the leaf spring, remove the front and rear eyebolts. Carefully lift the leaf spring pack and set out of the way.
Remove the two bolts circled and secure the brake line and wiring harness clear of the chassis.
Locate the cut template located in the drop kit. Attach to the frame using tapered punches inserted through the existing holes in the frame.

Using a center punch, mark the upper and lower hole locations as indicated on the template. Remove the template and drill ½-inch holes through the chassis. We used a step bit to step up to the ½-inch hole.

Using a scribe or equivalent, connect the holes. We found it worked best to scribe to the far outside of the holes. Be sure the leave the radius intact to reduce the possibility of stress cracks arising. Using a cut-off wheel, Sawzall, or plasma cutter cut along the scribed lines. Debur the edges.
Test fit the C-section. (Some trimming may be required) Using the C-section as a guide, mark the eight holes located on the side of the chassis and the two located on the bottom (circled). Remove the C-section and drill each hole to ½ inch. Applying a little paint to all of the drilled holes is recommended to prevent rust forming on the bare metal.
Install the C-section using the supplied ½-inch hardware. Torque to 110-120 lb-ft. Make sure to tighten the side bolts first, then the two bottom bolts. Note: Extended cab trucks require a few extra steps due to the two-piece driveshaft. Since ours is a regular cab, we could omit these steps. Reinstall the leaf spring, ensuring it is under the rear axle. Do not fully tighten the leaf spring eyebolts at this time.  Repeat the notch steps on the other side.

Once the C-notch is complete and the leaf springs are reinstalled, it is time to install the flip kit. Remove the original spring pack plate and replace with the new axle saddle. Make sure the hole in the bottom of the saddle is forward of the axle centerline. Lower axle into the new saddles.
Install the supplied U-bolts and spring bottom plate. Torque in 5-10 lb-ft increments to a final torque of 85-100 lb-ft.
The transformation is drastic and just what we were looking for!  The 4/6 drop and the Ridler 20×10 rear in 275/40R20 and 20×8.5 fronts in 245/40R20 tires give the perfect look and stance. We couldn’t be happier with the outcome!

Check out other Belltech lowering tech installs click here!



Ridler Wheel


Little Shop Manufacturing



1994 Chevrolet | DOOR DRAGGER

From One Friend to the Other 1994 Chevrolet C1500!

One of the most important things you can hold onto are friendships. Friendships help you build character, define who you are and help you along the way through trials and tribulations. Those friendships often influence your hobbies and interests as you learn about new things and cultures. Since their time in middle school, Robert Walden and his friend Kyle Boring have been close. Although they had different lives and interests, they remained very close. 

1994 Chevrolet C1500Kyle got involved in the truck lifestyle and Robert began a career in the pharmacy industry. Oftentimes, Robert would see the trucks Kyle was around and absolutely loved the style and look of them. Kyle was building a 1994 Chevy C1500 and had just added a bodydrop but got distracted by some other projects and set it aside. For about a full year, Robert would ask if he could purchase the Chevy before Kyle finally agreed. Robert had never owned any custom vehicle so Kyle was hesitant at first but figured he would lend a hand.

Robert brought the truck home in pieces—a rolling frame, a cab and lots of other small parts. The frame was painted a bright red, and then tires and wheels with the ’bags were installed. Robert’s friend Wesley Copeland helped add the cab to the frame even though there was no wiring or glass yet. Robert’s brother Joshua has a background in bodywork, so he handled all the body smoothing and shaved the doors, gas tank lid, drip rails, third brake light, tailgate handle and antenna.

The interior was half done, with Kyle trying to use a ’59 Impala dashboard inside. It wasn’t fitting properly, so Wesley and Joshua stretched it 2 inches on each side, making it fit into place. The body was a light gray primer and the frame was bright red, so Joshua coated the entire 1994 Chevrolet truck in a bright red mix that matched the frame. The next step was making sure the Chevy would be a solid driver, so an LS6 was pulled from a ’04 Silverado and fit into the engine bay. The new intake wouldn’t clear the hood, so he had to use ZO6 injectors and the hood finally closed. Wesley had to install a custom-built wiring harness from Hotwire to match the right length. After that was wired up, Oilmasters in Tifton, Georgia, built a 3-inch exhaust with true dual Black Widow Venom 250 mufflers. Derek Browing tuned the motor and dialed in the horsepower to put out 410 hp.

Inside the Chevy, Wesley removed seats from a ’90 Chevy Suburban and cut them down. The foam was reshaped and the factory seat slides remained. The seats were stitched up using black and red houndstooth centers. Joshua assisted Robert with getting the black carpet mounted along with the door panels and new poppers for the doors. Robert called in about five friends to get the bed back on the truck and lined up. Kyle and his crew at his business, Boring’s Glass Company, got all the glass installed and road ready. Robert continued to add final touches with a new center console to fill between the seats. Robert added a box behind the seats to house the battery for the Chevy.

Since his purchase of the rolling chassis, Robert has about 3,000 miles on the Chevy C1500 traveling to shows and events all throughout the country. He owes his dedication and passion to his loyal wife Jessie, who insisted he finish the build no matter how long it took.

Robert was able to make Door Dragger a huge success with the helping hands of all his close friends and brother. His lifelong friendship with his middle school buddy Kyle led Robert to purchase and help build his very first truck.

Billet specialties o a 1994 Chevrolet

Red 1994 Chevrolet C1500

Red 1994 Chevrolet on the beach



Robert Walden
1994 Chevrolet C1500
Moultrie, Georgia
Club Affiliation: Aftermath


Front Suspension: Michigan Metal Works control arms, Belltech drop spindles, Slam Specialties SS7 bags
Rear Suspension: Ektensive two-link with Panhard bar, box back half frame, Slam Specialties SS7 ’bags, two Viair 400c compressors, two 5-gallon air tanks, Accuair E-Level air management system


Engine: 6.0 LQ9, upgraded cam, springs, rockers, LS6 intake, Z06 injectors, tuned by Derek Browning of Browning Tuning, 3-inch custom exhaust, true dual Black Widow Venom 250 mufflers
Transmission: 4l60e
Rearend: 9-inch Ford rear end, limited slip, 3:50 gears


Metal work by Wesley “Stick” Copeland
Paint and bodywork by Joshua Walden
Shaved drip rails, door handles, third brake light and tailgate
Traditional 4.5-inch bodydrop
Custom-mixed red paint
10-gallon custom stainless fuel cell
New clear glass by Boring’s Glass Co. in Moultrie, Georgia
94-98 GMC grille with billet insert
LED headlights and taillights
Sir Michael’s rollpan
Tailgate handle flip kit


1959 Chevy Impala dashboard swap
Omega Kustom gauges
1990 Suburban seats cut down and reshaped by Thomas at Top Shop in Cairo, Georgia
Custom built door panels and center console
Interior work done by Wesley Copeland
Retro style billet steering wheel black half-wrap
Stereo: Pioneer head unit, Pioneer components, Pioneer shallow mount 12-inch subwoofer, two HiFonics amplifiers

Wheels & Tires 

Wheels: 22×9 Intro Radicalli polished
Tires: 255/30R22 and 265/35R22 Pirelli Scorpions

Special Thanks: My wife Jessie, Wesley “Stick” Copeland, Joshua Walden and Kyle Boring



The Rebirth of Slick | One Sweet OBS Tribute Truck!

It’s Always Been Cool Like Dat

We owe a lot to the pioneers of this passion of ours. There was a time when trucks, though useful, were boring. As folks eventually started to customize and personalize them, they began looking awesome, especially when lowered. The only problem was the ride quality was often severely lacking. Some people still hold that decades-old belief, saying things like, “I had a lowered truck in the ’70s and it rode like crap, always hitting the bumpstops.” 

Well, that was then, and this is now. And the now wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for companies like Belltech, which paved the way with innovations like drop spindles, shackles and axle flip kits. When the ’88 Chevy and GMC ½-ton pickups debuted in late 1987, the custom truck world changed forever and the sport truck world as we know it was born. 

From seemingly out of nowhere, bright custom trucks became the hottest things on the streets, eclipsing popular mini-trucks almost overnight and becoming a staple in magazines.  

Mark Oja knows this era firsthand, as he was a young Canadian hot rod builder who had his finger on the pulse of all the latest automotive trends in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Like many of us, he was immediately drawn to these new trucks, especially after seeing a certain Belltech ad in a magazine. Mark began dropping trucks on billet wheels and giving them awesome paintjobs, both for himself and his customers, and hasn’t looked back since! He would eventually move his family to the States and open up California Speed and Custom, not to mention become the build manager for Overhaulin’. 

Fast forward to last year, and Mark’s wife Pattie was looking for a new daily driver. Mark, coincidentally, wanted to put together a cool truck for SEMA, and Pattie had her eye on one of the C1500s in their stash at the shop. The question now was, how to build it? 

Pattie and Mark had been digging through old magazines to get some inspiration, and soon realized that a full-on retro build was in order. Specifically, a tribute to one of the trucks that started it all, the original Belltech poster/ad truck. Designed by Thom Taylor and painted by Pete Santini, the truck would come to define what a sport truck should look like. 

For a bit of background, we got in touch with Thom and Pete, who shared their experiences with the legendary truck. 

“I was friends with the owner of Belltech and Super Bell, Jim Ewing,” recalls Thom. “Jim Morris was handling their marketing and we came up with the idea to use digital graphics after seeing the GMC Truck Motorsports Syclone at Bonneville. It had these graphics that looked like salt was getting kicked up, but they didn’t just look like traditional taped-off graphics. I created the rendering and went to Pete Santini and asked him if he wanted to get involved, and he said yes. We just wanted to do something different than the heartbeat graphics that were being done at the time.

“I went to a vinyl sign place in Irvine and asked them if they could cut large sections of their vinyl masking material, and they said they could,” Thom says. “They cut the graphics I brought to them and weeded out the graphic part. From there, we applied the masking material to the truck and Pete painted the graphics on. It kinda caught on and I ended up drawing up more graphics for a series of trucks that they would use to dominate the magazine ads.”

Pete shared what was involved on the technical side of things.

“They used something called Gerber paper, which is low tack,” he says. “The regular stuff they were using at the time was too strong and would lift paint. And you had to do it right so you wouldn’t have to use a lot of paint. It had to be thin so I wouldn’t end up with a thick tape line, and it was really interesting to register the drop shadows to get it just right. When we took the truck to SEMA, it was amazing how many people tried to pick the graphics off with their fingers—they thought it was vinyl!” 

A revolutionary truck, for sure. 

So Mark quickly gathered the parts necessary to build Pattie’s truck in just two weeks. But, as a skilled painter, he wanted to tackle the color himself! After checking in and getting some advice from Pete, Mark took off with the project and had the digital graphics recreated by Dave, Ryan, and Ryno and Coast Airbrush in Anaheim, California, then delivered the artwork to Mack Signs in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, to have the reverse digital mask cut. Finally, Mark called on his friends at House of Kolor to send some its Tropical Turquoise, an undisclosed shade of magenta paint and Show Klear. 

Before laying down the color, though, Mark had some work to do on the body. The flipped tailgate handle was pretty standard fare, but one clever trick Mark employed was to reshape the lower rear quarters to better match the contours of the steel roll pan (which awesomely looks like a vintage fiberglass pan!). And then there’s the lower grille filler and front fender extensions below the Carriage Works grille, which were molded in just like the old days. Once the cab and bed were tidied up, the famous paint scheme was carefully masked off and sprayed in the same manner in which it was done 30 years ago. 

The rest of the truck came along pretty easily in comparison, with an authentic, period-correct 4/6 Belltech drop kit and a C-notch bringing the Chevy down to the perfect static height. Now, Pattie did want to bring the truck into the 21st century a bit, so 15-inch wheels weren’t going to cut it this time around. Instead, she went with 19×9 and 20×11 Budnik Argon billets with Toyo Pro XES Sport 245/40R19 and 295/30R20 rubber, but not before having Mark install Baer 14- and 12-inch brake rotors with 6-piston and 4-piston Baer calipers. 

As was typical of the era, nothing under the hood was touched, save for the addition of a 2.5-inch Borla exhaust. The same can be said for the interior, which received a simple Pioneer head unit and single-amp setup with four Pioneer speakers and a single 10-inch subwoofer. 

Finished just in time for SEMA 2019, Pattie’s truck made plenty of attendees do a double take. In fact, Thom Taylor was admittedly caught by surprise, as he had no idea the tribute was in the works. 

“I saw the photos of it at SEMA,” Thom says. “And I didn’t know if it was the original truck or a copy!” 

It was only after speaking with Pete Santini that he found out that Mark had built this truck to honor the work of those who created the original “street truck.”