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There’s an old joke: If God didn’t like drag racing, then the Bible wouldn’t say we should follow the straight and narrow. We’re not certain that’s necessarily true, but it sure hasn’t prevented the Robinson family team from finding success with two IHRA divisional championships along the way.

“After aging out of junior dragsters, I needed a car, and my dad had this 1955 Chevy that had been sitting since before I was born,” Matt Robinson told us about the car’s background. “He traded for it when he was 16 and drove it on the street until he went into the army. In 1975, he and my mom were married and drove away from the church in the same car. A year later, he decided to make the ’55 into his dream race car, and he raced it until 1984.

“Dad gave me the car when I turned 16, and we both worked to tear it down completely and update it,” Matt continued. “I raced it at Farmington Dragway while I was studying mechanical engineering at North Carolina State and actually won a bracket race just a few months after debuting the car.”

1955 Chevy
The nicely detailed aluminum interior was hammered out by Matt’s dad. The Powerglide trans features Hughes and ATI components. A Computech DataMaxx data-logger with an LCD dash display monitors vehicle functions.

Matt and his father, Steve, relied on their hot-rodding skills to put together the 468-ci engine. Starting with a 1970 tall deck truck block, they used a GM forged crank with Eagle steel rods and Venolia 13:1 pistons with a 9-quart Milodon oil pan. The desirable factory GM 6272990 iron cylinder heads with rectangular ports, 119cc open combustion chambers and 2.19/1.88 intake/exhaust valves were bolted down with ARP hardware and then topped by a Weiand Team G single- plane aluminum intake.

A Crane flat tappet 134771 cam with 1.7 ratio rocker arms orchestrates the valvetrain, while fuel delivery is handled by a single Holley 1,050- cfm carb fed by an Aeromotive electric pump. Matt’s father, Steve, fabricated both the custom cowlinduction- fed air cleaner and the stepped Jet-Hot-coated headers to finish the job. Behind the engine is a Powerglide with a Hughes 5800 stall converter and an ATI transbrake.

Steve had already replaced the stock frame with one from a 1957 Chevy station wagon, which was a one-piece extruded California unit that was lighter and stronger than the original 1955 version. The car uses the original upper A-arms, while Jim Meyer Racing Products provided the lower tubular control arms along with a rack-and-pinion kit. Modified six-cylinder Nova springs, double-adjustable QA1 shocks and Wilwood disc brakes with 10-inch rotors were added to complete the front end.

S&W Race Cars supplied a rear back-half kit that Matt and Steve set up with Strange doubleadjustable shocks and Wilwood brakes. The Ford 9-inch rear houses 4.56 gears with a spool and Strange 35-spline axles. Hole Shot wheels were mounted on the front with Weld Pro Stars out back that mount 32.0×14-15 Goodyear Eagle D-1984 slicks.

Joe Shuller painted the car in Victory Red basecoat/clearcoat. Darryl Slaughter and Matt did the bodywork, while VFN Fiberglass provided the front end. Sam Presnell did the painted trim and graphics. Steve did the custom steel and aluminum interior and all of the original glass was replaced with Lexan.

1955 Chevy
The 1970 tall deck truck block, displacing 468 ci, features all of the good stuff from Venolia, Eagle, Crane, Holley, Weiand and Aeromotive. The steel heads and forged crank bear Chevy part numbers.

“After a few years, we decided to try IHRA Hot Rod, which is a headsup 7.00 index class on the eighth-mile,” Matt said. “I was able to win the IHRA Division 9 championship in 2010, and then again the following year. In 2012, we had another win and a runner-up finish in Division 9.

“That winter, we added a Computech DataMaxx data-logger with an LCD dash display,” Matt continued. “It has been invaluable in chasing down issues. We were just getting things sorted out this year when the engine blew, and I flipped the car during the President’s Cup at Maryland International Raceway. I thank God that I wasn’t hurt, and we were left with a race car that we could fix. I will never drive another race car without a diaper. Now we have the opportunity to rebuild, modify and improve so we have an even better race car than before.”

While Matt and his father have tasted both success and adversity with their car, the story of this racer tells of a family history that really couldn’t be replaced by anything else. Matt intends to complete a seminary degree, and Steve continues to build hot rods near Asheville, North Carolina. For both, there’s little doubt that there are still many good chapters yet to be written.

Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared in the June 2017 print issue of the Drive Magazine.


I’m a fan and regular viewer of PowerNation’s popular Truck Tech. Truck Tech gives viewers insight and information from the mechanic’s perspective. Their knowledge definitely helps guys like me understand and appreciate all the work that goes into these kinds of projects. They spotlight everything from simple repairs and upgrades to full-blown rebuilds. I get inspired every time I tune in. 

Recently I had the opportunity to chat with one of the hosts, Lawrence “LT” Tolman and find out a little more about him, the show, and some of their upcoming projects. LT and I met up at SEMA to catch up and talk about the future of Truck Tech. Here’s a little of our conversation.

Hosts of PowerNation’s Truck Tech
Hosts of PowerNation’s Truck Tech: LT Tolman and Jeremy Bumpus
Project SuperMax
Project SuperMax

D!:   LT, thanks for taking time to share your story with our readers. Let’s start with a little history on you. How did you find yourself on Truck Tech? Have you always wanted to be a TV show host?

LT:  Well first of all, I never imagined I would be a TV host, nor was it even on my radar of possibilities of a career path. I grew up with a keen interest  in all things mechanical, I guess I just had a knack for it, and I knew I wanted to do something with my career automotive related, I just wasn’t sure what. I always have had car and truck projects I’ve been working on, and constantly pushed myself to learn more aspects of automotive customization and repair. I bought my first truck, a ’76 Chevy C/10 when I was 13 years old.

It needed some major body repair, as I lived in the north, and the truck had rusted out. I started by learning how to take fenders off, and doors apart, and how to weld in patch panels to repair rust, and eventually how to do body work, prime and paint.

Then, I moved onto the mechanical stuff, like rebuilding the suspension, swapping in a larger engine (a 472 Cadillac V8), changing the trans, and so forth. I went to college and got a degree in Business Management with a minor in Mechanical Engineering, but always had a passion for building cars.

I’ve been a long-time viewer of the entire PowerNation TV shows, and have been a loyal viewer for many years. In late 2014 they ran a commercial saying they were looking for a new host, and you were to make a video showing some of your work, and I thought “that would be an awesome job, but there’s no way I’d ever be chosen”, so I let the opportunity pass by. But, a couple months later, they ran the same commercial again, and my wife encouraged me to apply for it, because she knew I had what it took. So the short version is, we made a video, and they must’ve liked something about it, because here I am.

D!: What’s a typical day filming Truck Tech?

LT: There is a lot that goes into filming a TV show, and it varies day to day. Part of the time is spent writing scripts, ordering parts, and planning out the show, but most of the time is actually working on the projects while filming it.

Compared to what guys do at home or in their shops, filming a television show slows work down considerably, so a project that might take the average guy 2 hours, might take us 6, because were constantly changing shots, adjusting studio lights, cutting audio lines, etc…

D!: The show is very informative. Will you share the details of your most challenging project so we get a sense of the obstacles you and Jeremy face to bring the show to life?

LT: Probably the biggest challenge of making a “how-to” television show, is choosing what is important enough to make it in the show, and what we have to skip over. Our episodes are 30 minutes, which seems like a lot, but the time goes by quickly, and there is a lot of “tech” we have to skip in order to complete the project in the allotted TV time.

Also, we have to remember our audience is a mix of amateurs and professionals, and as seasoned builders we take the basics for granted, but we always try to remember to show our viewers a good mix of basic and hard-core tech.

D!:  How do you and your team get ideas for your episodes?

LT:  For the most part, it’s up to my co-host Jeremy Bumpus and I to pick what we think is “cool” and our viewers would enjoy. Usually, its something that he or I have always wanted to build. For example, project “SuperMax” is something that I’ve wanted to do for a very long time, and we had the perfect opportunity on the show to build it, so we did.

As long as its something our viewers would enjoy, and we have good “tech” to show along the way, it usually makes a good project. At the end of the day, our job is to teach and encourage our viewers, and to get them out there, and try what we’re doing for themselves.

D!: You guys showcase a lot of new products. We’re always interested in the next cool thing. What’s the next cool thing you have seen?

LT:  I’m really impressed with advancements in the retrofit fuel injection market. Guys can take an old-school engine like a nailhead or flathead, and put electronic ignition and “self learning” fuel injection, which will increase power, and make an old engine more usable, and not require a degree in computer science. I am also impressed with advancements in CAN bus electronic solutions, making it possible to swap engines in new cars, and maintain OE levels of functionality.

D!: You are a big fan of the diesel platform. What are your favorite things about the diesel engine? 

LT: The stereotype many people think of when you say diesel is a big pickup or semi, or piece of industrial equipment that’s used for hauling, construction, farming, etc. Outside of the stereotypical “truck guy,” most folks don’t think about using a diesel powered vehicle as a daily driver, mostly because their haven’t been that many domestically available options, and a ¾ ton pickup isn’t always the best choice for people living in the city or commuting.

So I am excited to see more diesel engine options in ½ ton trucks like the Ram EcoDiesel, and Chevy just announced a diesel for their Silverado 1500. There’s the Colorado with the 2.8 diesel, plus, for car folks, there are more options like the Chevy Cruze, plus BMW, Porsche, Audi, and VW all offer diesel powered cars/SUV’s.

There are two things I love about diesel engines: its fuel efficiency and power potential. Compared to gasoline engines, diesels generally uses much less fuel to do the same amount of work, given an apples-to-apples comparison. Remember the TDI Jetta’s that would get 50-some MPG?

Aside from the stigmatic “diesel-gate” scandal, VW’s diesel compact car is a win-win, especially considering its gasoline powered counterpart would top out in the mid 30mpg range.

Secondly, my specialty is high-performance, and diesel engines can see tremendous power gains with simple changes to tuning, while still getting great fuel efficiency. For example, any of the big three’s HD trucks can be tuned to easily make 100hp over stock (and usually 200lb.ft. of torque) without changing any hard parts, plus, still remaining 100% emissions compliant.

And once you start changing things like intake and exhaust, those gains can go much higher. Comparatively, in a gasoline engine, if you see 40hp from a tune only, that’s a good day.

Hosts of PowerNation’s Truck Tech: LT Tolman and Jeremy Bumpus

VW’s diesel compact car

D!: What do you think the future of “old-school” hot rods will look like now that consumers have more hybrid, electric and possibly hydrogen fuel options?

LT: I don’t think the traditional hot rod or muscle will ever go away, it’s just too big a part of American car culture. There will always be gasoline powered V8 cars tearing up the back roads and sitting at car shows on Sunday mornings. Detroit continues to pump out red blooded American muscle cars like the Hellcat, CTS-V, ZR1, and GT350/500 Mustangs.

And these days 700hp off the show-room floor is commonplace. Plus, even the sport compact segment is growing at rapid rates, with new entries like the Focus RS and Civic Type R. And while many don’t consider those to be “hot rods”, to the younger generation, these are the modern muscle cars.

But what I’m excited to about is watching the “high-tech” hot rod market evolve. Exotics and “hyper cars” have been offering hybrid performance cars for some time now, which use a combination of electric and gasoline power to produce phenomenal performance figures, so its only a matter of time before someone starts to adapt that technology into an older vehicle.

And just like you can swap a gas engine for a larger more powerful one, I can’t wait to see someone take a car like the Tesla (which already has incredible performance) and swap in a much more powerful (or additional) electric motor. Hot rodding will never die, the methods just will just to adapt and evolve. 

D!: You’re a family man and father. What do you daily-drive?

LT: Well I’ve always been a truck guy. And though I’ve owned a couple muscle cars here-and-there, it seems like I drive trucks more than anything, and just about every one of ‘em has been a Chevy. Right now, I drive a LMM Duramax-powered ‘08 Silverado 2500HD crew cab. For my needs, it’s a do-all, best of all worlds vehicle.

There’s a ton of room in the back for booster seats, it’s roomy and comfortable on longer trips, it’s efficient for its size, and I can haul or tow anything I want. But most importantly for me, is the performance potential.

Right now, it is pretty close to stock, but doubling the power of a Duramax is super easy. So, I hope one day to build the bottom end, upgrade the fuel system, add compound turbos, and have an 8-900hp daily-driven diesel pickup, that can still be efficient, reliable, and haul a trailer.

 Chevy Silverado stock LB7

 Chevy Silverado stock LB7
LT and Jeremy sourced a diesel powered long bed Chevy Silverado stock LB7 and made significant performance modifications to the powertrain and the truck’s overall look when they hot rodded the stock engine and shortened the wheel base to make a ground-pounding drag truck out of a once tired and boring battleship gray shop truck. 
Check out the full SuperMax build at

D!: What’s your dream car?

LT: Easy. It’s a Koenigsegg One:1, a Swedish Megacar that achieves the “golden ratio” of one horsepower per kilogram of weight.

However: While exotic cars are cool and all, Ill probably never own one, and if I did, I’d probably be too afraid to drive it, for fear of someone parking too close, rock chips, speed bumps, other motorists, etc… For me, a dream car is one you make your own. I’d rather take simpler car, upgrade the power, looks, handling, interior, and be able to enjoy it every day. And don’t forget, a car you customize to your tastes will also be a one-of-one.

D!: What’s the worst car you ever owned and why?

LT: I’ve had pretty good luck with cars, mostly because I can spot potential problems before buying, and I can make any repairs needed. So, I guess I’ve never had a bad “lemon” type car. But the worst, rather, most embarrassing car I’ve owned, would be a mid-90s Pontiac Bonneville I bought in college for $300. I drove it for a few months, fixed a few problems, and soon traded it for (you guessed it) a Chevy Truck.

Then : LT has been a truck guy for a long time before he became the host of Truck Tech.
Then : LT has been a truck guy for a long time before he became the host of Truck Tech.
‘08 LMM
Now : We think his ‘08 LMM needs an orange paint job.

D!: Any advice for our readers that are considering careers in automotive repair and restoration?

LT: You’ve heard the saying “do what you love, and you won’t work a day in your life”. So, I say, If you enjoy working with your hands, do it! The country is in need of skilled technicians in the automotive industry, and really, in all skilled trades. While many kids are taking the traditional career path, there is nothing wrong with learning a skilled trade, and going to work. In some cases, its easier and quicker to find a job, and sometimes starting salaries in the trades can pay more than traditional 4 year college degree jobs.

D!: What do you and Jeremy have in store for your viewers this season?

LT:  Right now, we have a cool range of project vehicles were building, in several styles, ranging from a 1930 Ford Model A traditional street rod, a late 80s K5 blazer in a show-truck flavor, a ’74 F-100 corner carver, and we also have some new exciting projects we can’t yet talk about, but stay tuned!

D!: For sure. Thanks, LT.

Be sure to check out Truck Tech and the whole PowerNation family of shows Sunday mornings on the Paramount Network, and

1930 Ford Model A traditional street rod
A rendering of Truck Tech’s upcoming build: 1930 Ford Model A traditional street rod

Truck Tech

Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared in the April 2018 print issue of the Drive Magazine.

The Two-tone ’56 Chevy Bel Air

The Prince of Bel Air

John and Janell Quigley live in Huntington Beach, California. When John is not making his daily stops at industrial and automotive shops in his Cornwell Tools truck, he can be seen cruisin’ nearby Pacific Coast Highway in his ’56 Chevy Bel Air 4-door. That’s right a four-door.

The norm for hot rods, customs, classics and muscle cars has been a 2-door models. Four-doors have been stereotyped as a family or old folks car. But, if a 4-door is built with the same intentions as a cool 2-door, it can be cool too. And that’s what John set out to do. Let’s see how he accomplished his mission.

Ever since he was a little kid, cars were John’s passion, and for practically all his life he’s been part of the custom car scene. Given his love of cars, over the years, he has built a number of very cool custom rides out of his garage. His latest creation is this ’56 Chevy Bel Air 4-door sedan. This car has an eye-catching two-tone Crocus Yellow and Black paint scheme.

The Two-tone ’56 Chevy Bel Air

From the side you can see the lowered stance with a slight forward rake due to the fact that the front wheel openings are taller than the rear. If the stance was level, the rear wheel/tire would be tucked too deep in the wheel opening, creating a deceiving illusion. The ’56 factory two-tone paint scheme was recreated by using Pro-Spray, Crocus Yellow and Black then the two were berried in multiple coats of Pro-Spray clear. John spent endless hours refurbishing and polishing the original body and window stainless steel moldings. The rear door handles were shaved to achieve at first glance two-door appearance.

Here is the short version of the car’s timeline. In 1956, this car was bought new from Capital Chevrolet in Salt Lake City, Utah. For the next 20 years, it was driven very little around Salt Lake City.

In 1976, the car was taken away from the elderly gentleman by his daughter. He was bumping into too many objects, becoming a danger to himself and others. It was parked in the family barn with 86,000 original miles on the odometer. In 2010 a potential buyer discovered it stashed away in the barn.

He purchased this treasure from the original owner’s daughter. The buyer intended to restore the Bel Air. He rebuilt the factory 265 ci V8 engine and refurbished the drum brakes to get it road worthy. After losing his ambition, the car was put on e-Bay. That’s when John found it, noticing it was in very good condition. He was able to see beyond the ugly ‘70s Earl Schieb green paint job.

Always being one to build weird stuff, John thought to himself how he could make this ’56 Bel Air 4-door cool? After pondering,  a vision came to him,  John made a bid of $5,500.00 on e-bay.  His bid was unchallenged and the 4-door was his. After taking delivery, John drove it around the block a couple of times and it performed to his satisfaction. It was then parked inside his two-car garage.

Starting the very next day, the challenge of making this 4-door cool ride was on. John took four-years creating this unique custom build. He began by carefully disassembling, bagging, labeling, and sorting parts and pieces. All of the body and window stainless molding was straightened, massaged  and then polished by John.

The Two-tone ’56 Chevy Bel Air
The leading edge of John’s ’56 shows off a new Danchuk grille, turn indicators, bezels, headlights, bezels, hood badging and the “Flying Bird” hood ornament. The original front bumper was traded at the local Long Beach Swap Meet for a re-furbished re-chromed one.
The rear styling of The Two-tone ’56 Chevy Bel Air
The rear styling and traction courtesy of a pair of REV 106 Classic aluminum wheels (18×8, 4.5” backspacing) wrapped in Sumitomo HTRZ 255/40R-18 rubber. The front has a pair of Sumitomo HTR A/S 215/50R-17 tires, that are paired with REV 106 Classic aluminum wheels (17×7, 4” backspacing).

To achieve the proper ride height up front, two pairs of Global-West upper and lower control arms were bolted to the front suspension pickup points. A pair of two-inch drop spindles were sandwiched between the control arms.

To achieve an even lower stance up front, John purchased a pair of CPP two-inch lowering springs that were even cut two-inches more making the nose have a six-inch drop. To dampen and control the front shock frequencies a pair of KYB gas filled shocks were installed.

A pair of American Brake & Steering (ABS) Performance front disc brakes with 11-inch rotors and dual piston calipers were installed. To distribute the proper braking performance both front and rear, an ABS master cylinder and power booster were installed and plumbed by John.

The Bel Air’s rear suspension was altered by installing a pair of Car Shop two-inch lowering leaf springs. With still to much of a rake, a pair of Speedway Motors three-inch and one-inch lowering blocks were installed under the rear axle housing to achieve a slight forward raked stance. Just like in the front, a pair of KYB gas filled shocks dampened the rear suspension contributing to the Bel Air’s superior ride quality. A pair of completely rebuilt standard factory drum brakes supplied ample braking in the rear. Just as important as the stance was the wheel and tire combination.

Up front John added a pair of Rev 106 Classics, black with machined aluminum face wheels 17×7  with 4.0 backspacing consumed in a pair of Sumitomo HTR A/S P02 215/50R-17. Out back a pair of matching Rev 106 Classic wheels, black with machined aluminum face wheels 18×8 with 4.5 backspacing were installed. The wheels were wrapped in Sumitomo HTR Z255/40R-18 rubber.

265 ci engine of the Two-tone ’56 Chevy Bel Air
Lifting the hood exposes the factory 265 ci engine that’s dressed out with an Edelbrock Performer EPS (27034) aluminum polished intake manifold and an Edelbrock 4-barrel, 500 cfm, dual plane EnduraShine (1403) carburetor. A Speedway Motors 12-inch oval finned polished aluminum air cleaner and paper filter are mounted atop the Edelbrock carburetor. To finish off the engine eye-candy a pair of Cal Custom aluminum finned valve covers were added. A clear distributor cap shows the internal components of the MSD distributor. Braided stainless fuel and vacuum lines finish off the engine detail.
Two-tone ’56 Chevy Bel Air
It was no surprise, the first time John showed his car was at the 2016 Huntington Beach “Main Street Cars and Cruise Car Show” that attracted hundreds of wild street rods, hot rods, customs, classics, woodies, muscle cars, trucks and vintage Volkswagen Vans. John took home a bitchin’ Johnny Martinez, “Best Of Show” in his class trophy.

Under the hood, we discovered the original Chevy 265 ci engine that had been machined .30 over and equipped with quality performance internal components. To achieve better air/fuel mixture, an Edelbrock 1403 Performer 500 cfm 4-barrel square-bore, dual plane, Endura Shine Carburetor, was fitted with a Speedway Motors 12-inch oval, finned, polished, aluminum “Classic Nostalgia” air cleaner and paper, pleated filter. They were bolted atop an Edelbrock 27034 polished aluminum Intake Manifold with a chrome oil filler neck and filter breather cap.

Engine cooling was maintained by a GM water pump, the original GM radiator was boiled out, then relocated in front of the factory core support to achieve additional room. The ’56 factory core support was offered in two locations, one for the V8 and the other for the longer in-line six-cylinder. This allowed more room for the Spal electric fan.

The engine fuel and vacuum lines were braided stainless with quick release connectors. To deliver a constant electrical charge a GM 110 amp chrome alternator was used. The engines hot spark was created by an MSD Blaster ignition coil. An MSD HEI distributor delivered spark through a set of MSD 8.8mm black ignition wires.

To clean up the fire wall, the Optima Yellow Top battery was located and secured in the trunk. John was responsible for the immaculate electrical wiring, solid fuel lines and brake line plumbing. The factory pulleys were sent out and chromed, along with the timing chain cover. A pair of Cal Customs polished aluminum finned valve covers were purchased at the local Long Beach Swap Meet then stored in John’s garage rafters for 12 years before being pulled down and installed to finished off the engine.

Two-tone ’56 Chevy Bel Air
The original massive steering wheel was salvaged and painted black. The horn ring was rechromed. The original gauge cluster was cleaned, detailed along with the original knobs and bezels. To John’s surprise the factory AM radio still worked. But good luck getting any music stations. The factory in dash radio speaker was located behind the grille and clock.
Two-tone ’56 Chevy Bel Air
Mounted below the dash is a Mooneyes polished aluminum, finned, three-gauge panel that houses Stewart Warner oil pressure, water temperature, and amp black face gauges.

A pair of generic 2 1/2-inch diameter block hugger headers collected into the custom 2 1/2-inch diameter X-pipe exhaust flowed into a pair of Magnaflow off-set mufflers. A GM 700R4 4-speed automatic transmission was cooled by a  frame mounted GM transmission cooler. The original ’56 driveshaft was removed and sent out to be shortened and balanced by O.C. Driveline in Placentia, California.

The stunning exterior two-tone colors were actually offered as the factory colors back in 1956. They were replicated again by Isaac Rosa and his crew at RC Empire Auto Body in Orange, California. When John purchased the car, the body was in good shape. Isaac did some minor body work before laying a couple of coats of sanding primer.

The car was then block sanded to ensure  the entire surface was straight and smooth. To camouflage the four-door appearance, John shaved the back door handles. This gave an illusion that the back doors didn’t exist. Pro-Spray water base Crocus Yellow and Pro-Spray water base Black were used to achieve the factory two-tone paint scheme.

The front grille, turn indicators, headlights rings, bezels, hood ornament and badging were purchased from Danchuk Manufacturing. The original front bumper was traded at the local Long Beach Swap Meet for a re furbished chromed one. John’s determination to salvage the original rear bumper took hours of elbow grease and polishing to achieve its show-quality appearance. John also restored the original stainless body and window moldings. Fortunately all of the original glass was in immaculate condition.

As we opened the four doors of the Bel Air, we noticed the GM ’56 original interior with cloth/vinyl, black/yellow, two-tone seats covers, door panels, and headliner were salvaged and cleaned. The original carpet was replaced with new black carpet. The refurbished upholstery stitch craft was done by Martine Gurterez at T3 Custom Interiors in Orange, CA.

John’s ’56 Chevy Bel Air's factory hidden gas filler
One unique thing about John’s ’56 Chevy Bel Air is the factory hidden gas filler which can be accessed by unlatching and lowering the driver side taillight housing.

The original gauge cluster, gauges, AM radio, clock, dash speaker, dash grille and knobs were all cleaned and refurbished. A Mooneyes gauge panel was filled with Stewart Warner, oil pressure, water temp and volts, black face gauges were mounted in the center below the dash. The top half of the dash was the only part of the interior that was repainted gloss black. The original steering column and huge factory steering wheel were reconditioned and then repainted.

Opening the glove box, exposed the hidden Alpine CDE-143BT receiver with Bluetooth. A pair of 6-inch molded speakers panels were mounted in the front kick panels, while two 6×9-inch speakers were installed in the back seat package shelf.

John’s ’56 Bel Air four-door is a perfect example of how to think outside of the box. Sometimes going against the grain isn’t a bad idea. Who knows, classic 4-doors could be the next trend. He would like to thank his “Creative Consultant” and close friend, Chris Jonas, for his advice and assistance during the build. Also thanks go to Platinum Black and Cambra Speed Shop.

Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared in the March 2017 print issue of the Drive Magazine.

A Fresh Update to Your OBS Grille

Step one was to rewind the front of the 1999 Suburban back to 1993 pace truck standards with a few upgrades. After a quick call to LMC Truck, the crew had all the necessary conversion parts, including a grille shell, billet insert, lower grille filler, turn signal lamps, side marker lamps, front fender extensions, and the correct front bumper. At some point in its life, Brik Yrd had been converted with a 1993 GMC grille with the correct lower grille filler and fender extensions and a smooth, front work-truck bumper with no strips or guards. This is a simple conversion. All OBS grilles are interchangeable from OBS ’88-’98 with the correct corresponding year’s parts. Follow along as the team brings Steve’s vision to reality.

1999 Suburban
Our donor for this project is this 1998 Chevy Suburban. This truck is extremely clean and all factory, but we want to give it a sportier look. So, we’re going to start with the grille.
White 1999 Suburban
The first step is to remove the old pieces. Luckily on these trucks, the grille is very easy to remove with some basic tools. Just lightly pull on the panel to find the next fastener until it easily comes off the truck.
White Suburban with LMC replacement grille
Before we paint and install our new grille, we want to test fit the LMC replacement grille that we ordered. We also are replacing the headlights and driving lights for a much cleaner look. The test fit went great, and the panels fit as they should.
 Billet grille
We also want to add a billet grille to the factory grille shell. Before we cut the grille shell, we tape off the billet grille so it does not get scratched during test fitting.
prepring OBS grille for paint
We also tape off the entire grille shell around the spot that will be cut. We don’t want anything flying into the shell and scratching it before paint.
With a clean cut and a perfect it, the grille is now ready to be painted and the billet metal can be set to the side.
We don’t need a paint booth for something this simple job as long as we have decent ventilation. So, we hung the new grille on a drying rack and gave it a few solid coats of Automotive Touchup’s white paint to match the truck. We also added clearcoat from Automotive Touchup for a factory finish.
Leaving it alone for a few hours to dry is the hardest part of this project. Patience is as important as details, so just wait!
With the grille fully painted and extremely impressive looking, we can now mount the billet panel in its final location before adding it to the truck.

Keep following along online at OBS Headquarters or OBS Builder’s Guide for more updates on Project Brik Yrd.


’89 Chevy Cheyenne C1500 | Red Ryder

On Every Kid’s Wish List in the 1990s

How many of you wanted a Red Ryder BB gun after “A Christmas Story” appeared on TV when you were a kid? It was one of the most influential movie scenes in the ’80s, and to this day it still plays nonstop during the holiday season. 

Roller block SBC 355ci V-8 Chevy
Roller block SBC 355ci V-8

Few things stick around for that long and still hold sentimental value to millions of people around the country. Show anyone in your family a picture of a stock ’88-’98 GMT400 truck, and we promise at least one of them has a great story involving one of them. Either it’s your grandpa who used one as a farm truck his whole life and watched the sunset in it with his wife for the past 30 years, or it’s your mom who met your dad in their parent’s work truck on a Friday night. Everyone has a memory that involves this all-American Bow Tie, and this particular shortbed is no different.

American Powertrain “White Lightning” Tremec 5-speed transmission

bucket seats

Dylan Eaton from Spring Hill, Florida, grew up with this exact truck—well, a stock daily-driven version of it at least. His dad picked it up from the dealership new in 1989 and drove it until 2008 when he gave it to Dylan. This was the first truck Dylan ever owned, and he wanted to prove he cared about it as much as his dad did. Now after a little over eight years and around $25,000 dollars or more, Dylan is proud to tell the story of this long-time family member. He knew the path he wanted to take when he started customizing. A daily driven, big power, thick tire street machine. Nothing more and nothing less. He wants to jump the truck at any time and have a strong crank. No special fuel and no pre-charging, just a ready and reliable show truck.

Welded roll pan

Because it was so well maintained since its time on the showroom floor, the exterior of the truck only needed some fresh paint and a few simple upgrades. A Street Scene front grille with billet inserts was installed, the factory bumpers were shaved and painted, the bed rail stake holes were shaved, and a steel roll pan was welded and smoothed in. Finally, the whole truck was painted Viper Red by Donnie Peake of Peake’s Autobody Inc. To get the stance correct, Dylan and his dad installed a 5-inch front and 7-inch rear suspension drop that included DJM Control Arms, Belltech coil springs, new spindles, a rear flip kit, C-notch for the rear frame rails, and Belltech Street Performer shocks. They also bolted on a 1.375-inch front sway bar with polyurethane bushings and body mounts as well as a Calvert Racing Caltrac bar.

Viper Red Chevy
Forever Sharp steering wheel
Forever Sharp steering wheel
Street Scene front grille

The power plant on this sweet OBS is an ’87 GM roller block SBC 355ci V-8 built by Mark’s Performance and Machine in New Port Richey, Florida. The block was balanced, blueprinted, decked and line honed. It was also bored 0.030 over and has a Pro Meth methanol injection system. Eagle connecting rods, Comp Cams nx276hr camshaft, JE Pistons, Total Seal rings and King bearings complete the internals, and it’s all bolted together with ARP bolts and studs. Under the block is a Morosso oil pan. Topping off the engine build are Air Flow Research Eliminator 180cc heads, a polished 192-intake 16-rib supercharger from The Blower Shop, a Devane “Weekend Warrior” 930cfm carburetor, and Hooker Headers. These bolt up to Hooker Max Flow mufflers and flow out the back of the truck. An MSD ignition keeps the timing in check and an American Powertrain “White Lightning” Tremec 5-speed transmission with hydraulic throwout bearings and a SPEC Type 3 clutch wrap up the drivetrain.

Dakota Digital VHX

All this power is sent back to the 14-bolt 5-lug 454SS rearend with 3:73 gears. Some 17-inch American Racing Torq Thrust 2 wheels are at each corner with a 17×7 up front and 17×9.5 in the rear. The Michelin Pilot Sport 4s tires give Dylan the traction he needs and the SSBC Big Bite brakes stop him when he steps on the pedal. The SSBC rear disc brake conversion and SSBC adjustable proportioning valve give him all the braking power he needs for this beast of a truck. 

’89 Chevy Cheyenne C1500
’89 Chevy Cheyenne C1500

This truck is on every grown kid’s Christmas list, and you don’t have to worry about shooting your own eye out with a truck like this—although you may break a few necks when you drive by.  

  Truck Specs:

Dylan Eaton
’89 Chevy Cheyenne C1500
Spring Hill, Florida


  • 5-inch front and 7-inch rear suspension drop 
  • DJM control arms
  • Belltech springs and spindles
  • Belltech flip kit and C-notch
  • Belltech Street Performer shocks
  • 1.375-inch front sway bar
  • Polyurethane bushings and body mounts
  • Calvert Racing Caltrac bars


  • ’87 GM roller block SBC 355ci V-8
  • Built by Mark’s Performance and Machine in New Port Richey, Florida
  • Balanced, Blueprinted, Decked, Line Honed
  • Bored 0.030 over
  • Pro Meth methanol injection
  • Eagle connecting rods
  • JE Pistons with Total Seal rings
  • King bearings
  • ARP bolts and studs
  • Moroso oil pan
  • Comp Cams nx276hr camshaft
  • 502/520 lift and 276/288 duration
  • Air Flow Research Eliminator 180cc heads
  • The Blower Shop polished 192-intake 16-rib supercharger
  • Devane “Weekend Warrior” 930cfm carburetor
  • Hooker Headers
  • Hooker Max Flow mufflers
  • MSD ignition
  • American Powertrain “White Lightning” Tremec 5-speed transmission
  • T56 Magnum with hydraulic throwout bearing
  • SPEC Type 3 clutch


  • 17-inch American Racing Torq Thrust 2 wheels
  • 17×7 front width 17×9.5 rear width
  • Michelin Pilot Sport 4s tires
  • 224/45/17 front and 275/40/17 rear
  • SSBC Big Bite brakes
  • SSBC rear disc brake conversion
  • SSBC adjustable proportioning valve
  • 14-bolt 5-lug 454 SS rearend with 3:73 gears


  • Street Scene front grille
  • Billet grille inserts
  • Shaved and painted factory bumpers
  • Bed rail stake holes shaved
  • Painted Viper Red by Donnie Peake of Peake’s Autobody Inc.


  • 454 SS bucket seats
  • Black with red stitching by Catalina Custom Upholstery in Spring Hill, Florida
  • Dakota Digital VHX carbon fiber and red gauge cluster
  • Forever Sharp steering wheel
  • Sony single din head unit
  • Factory dash and door panels dyed black

The Major Differences in ’88-’98 Chevy Trucks

The Evolution Of The OBS What Is The Major Differences in ’88-’98 Chevy Trucks?

In my opinion, 1988 was the exact year that jump-started the street truck era with the release of the all-new re-designed GM trucks commonly known as the “OBS” (Original Body Style, Old Body Style). This redesign by GM officially made a truck more than just a tool on the farm. It sparked the creation of an entire culture of automotive enthusiasts, and the street truck/sport truck movement was born. The GMT400 is said to have influenced GM designers long after they were no longer produced, and for good reason! We believe to this day they are the best-looking trucks on the road, we may be a little biased though!

Over its more than 10-year span of production, these trucks just got better and better in terms of design, comfort, reliability, power and safety. Although GM made a ton of changes both cosmetically and mechanically to the GMT400 trucks, we’ll hit the high points of the changes made throughout the years. We wanted to break down all the biggest and best changes between the ’88-’94 and ’94-’98 trucks. So let’s dive deep into the timeline of this timeless truck.

What is an OBS?

(Old Body Style or Original Body Style)

OBS refers to Chevy C/K trucks that were manufactured by General Motors between the years of 1988 and 1998. Marketed under the Chevrolet and GMC brands, the C/K series included a wide range of vehicles including a chevy truck and two SUV models. While most commonly associated with pickup trucks, the model line also included medium-duty and heavy trucks. “C” denoted a two-wheel drive; “K” denoted four-wheel drive.

’88-’98 Chevy There were eight different versions of the C/K line for 1988: Fleetside Single Cab, Fleetside Extended Cab, Fleetside Crew Cab and Stepside Single Cab models, each in either 2WD or 4WD drive-lines. Three trim levels were available for these trucks including Cheyenne, Scottsdale and Silverado.

In 1990 GM retired the dual glass headlights in favor of a composite headlight with a serviceable bulb.

This is also when Chevy began offering their high back bucket seats as an option.

’88-’98 Chevy
However, the most notable thing from the year 1990 was GM’s release of the 454 SS, Sport and Sierra GT packages, all of which are highly sought after now.

In 1992 GM redesigned the gauge cluster, which included a tachometer.

454 SS, Sport Sierra
1993 was the last year for the 454 SS, Sport and Sierra GT packages and the first and only year for one of GM’s rarest production trucks ever made the Indianapolis 500 Pace Truck package.  GM only produced a little over 1,500, making the Indy Pace truck one of the rarest GM Production trucks ever to roll off the assembly line.

Controlled transmission
In 1993, GM also went to an electronically controlled transmission, better known as the 4L60, for improved reliability.

In 1994, both Chevrolet and GMC trucks across the board received a facelift via a re-designed grille and the addition of a third brake light option for safety. A cargo lamp was now standard.

1995 brought the GMT400 to an entirely new level with a completely redesigned interior that included a driver’s side airbag and optional CD player for added safety and convenience. The interior door panels received a noticeable re-design as well.

1995 also brought the newer style composite breakaway style mirrors.

Quite possibly the best update to the OBS came in 1996, more power!  Enter the Vortec line of engines for OBS trucks via central port fuel injection, roller cam, higher compression ratio, better flowing heads and an all-around better engine.

Over its more than 10-year span of production, these trucks just got better and better in terms of design, comfort, reliability, power and safety.

Aside from that, GM introduced an optional third door for the extended cab trucks. If you’ve ever tried to climb in the back seat of an extended cab OBS, you can definitely appreciate this offering.

Interior on a 88" to 98" Chevy Truck

Also an update for the 4×4 guys in 1996 was the push button four wheel drive option.

1997 brought to us the optional passenger side airbag, variable speed assisted steering and better cooling for the 6.5L turbo diesel trucks.

In 1989, a Sport Equipment Package was available on either C/K1500 fleetside shortbed single cab models. The package featured a black grille with red outlined bow-tie emblem, black moldings outlined in red, body color front and rear bumpers, black mirrors and “SPORT” identification decals on the box and on the tailgate. There were no suspension or engine upgrades provided with any of the sport packages as this was an appearance only option.

Notable Moments in the C/K Timeline


Chevy CheyenneThe Work Truck (W/T) was introduced in 1988, which featured a single cab long bed with Cheyenne trim and a new grille with black bumpers. Check out a tech article for this Chevy! 


Throttle body(TBI) fuel injection was used on ‘88-’95 gas engines.


In 1998, to circumvent the rise in auto thefts, GM introduced the Pass Lock II system with a “security” light on the dash to the 88” to 98″ Chevy Trucks.


CPI (central point injection) was used on the ‘96-’00 4.3L-V6, 5.0L-V8, 5.7L-V8


1997 was to be the last year the C/K Silverado would display “CHEVROLET” on the tailgate


1972 Chevy C10 | TIME TRAVELER

Cruising Through 41 Years in a Big Block-Powered, Longbed Bow Tie Beauty

When you have owned a 1972 C10 truck for more than 40 years, it’s difficult to not have a lot of it. Memories from the first time it graced your driveway, the many times you cruised it on familiar terrain and the many times you turned wrenches on it with Dad to the customizing stages and how it has evolved over the years all seem to enter the psyche every time the key hits the ignition and the air-fuel mix exits the pipes.

1972 C10
Charles Mudd stands proudly next to his ’72 C10, which he has owned and enjoyed since 1978.

For Charles Mudd of Mesa, Arizona, the bond with his 1972 Chevy C10 longbed couldn’t be stronger. While in the Navy, Charles purchased the truck in 1978 at a local Chevrolet dealership in San Diego where the original owner had just traded it in. The timing was perfect, as Charles as a young man always loved the ’67-’72 body style and at that age gave no mention to a long- versus shortbed. As vehicles shuttle us through time periods in our lives filled with career changes, moves and family life, the C10 did the same for Charles. “His baby,” as it were, no matter what was going on, the truck was a consistent and reliable source of pride, fun and self-fulfillment.

As with most enthusiasts and long-term vehicle ownership, the truck went through “phases” as time would allow. Charles personalized the truck to his taste, never straying too far from what the Chevrolet gods intended when they created this beauty in ’72. An upgraded AM/FM cassette and some aftermarket speakers mounted in the B-pillars were the first modifications. After all, Charles needed rock music for the long coast-to-coast trip back to his duty station in Norfolk, Virginia. Charles had one scheduled stop in his hometown of Tucson, Arizona, and then all the way to the Atlantic coast. Today, as an older enthusiast, Charles still cringes to this day when he thinks about the holes he made in the inside of the cab and dash to accommodate the new sounds. Luckily, a steady hand and a clean installation make that a slightly less regrettable act—hey, it’s what you do when you’re 20 years old: cruise and play music loud.

custom interior on a 1972 Chevy C10

After getting out of the Navy in the early ’80s, Charles migrated back to Tucson to begin his post-service life. He lived in a townhouse back in ’83, and during his daily morning jog, he kept noticing an unsightly green oxidized ’69 Chevrolet Caprice four-door in the parking lot. He didn’t think much of it until one day, a pair of 427 flags on the front fenders caught his eye. He opened the hood to find a box-stock 68,000-mile 335-horse 427 backed by a Turbo 400. Suddenly the old Caprice was pretty cool and Charles went on the hunt to find the owner. A deal was struck and the Caprice was relieved of its big block and Turbo 400 slush box.

After the 427 was plucked from the undeserving Caprice, Charles’ dad, Mr. Mudd, set up the heads for unleaded fuel, replaced a few seals and dropped the big-block and three-speed combo into its new position of power in the ’72. Years of reliable service followed with minor additions of a Transgo shift kit, Hughes aluminum trans pan and an HEI ignition. Otherwise, the big block runs like a stopwatch and Charles will challenge you to feel it idle. With the correct, stickers, hose clams and a A/C Delco battery, the look under the hood is very factory original, as if GM put the big cubes in there in ’72 when the truck was born. A dual snorkel air cleaner is the only non-stock appearance item.

427 big block
In the early 80s, Charles stumbled across a ’69 Chevy Caprice four-door that had a 427 big block in it. The car was purchased, the engine and transmission plucked and shoehorned into the truck. The 427/TH400 combo has provided reliable service ever since.

An aluminized exhaust echoes the big blocks bark while a clean exit behind each rear tire emulates the way Chevy did on its SS line of Chevelles. As the owner of an extremely low-mileage Hemi survivor and a really trick ’56 Ford, big window hotrod, he says it’s the ’72 that consistently gets the looks.

After the motor swap in ’83 Charles’ dad rolled the truck into the family carport one morning at 5 a.m. in Tucson and freshened up the factory colors with single stage Hugger Orange and White. That same paint work Dear Old Dad lovingly laid down in ’83 still shines bright on the truck today.

The interior is tried and true restored with some mild tunes. Just a good old classic truck interior-simple and functional .

Fast forward to the mid ’90s, and the truck received its next phase of mild customizing in the form a 4/6 suspension drop using parts from Early Classic Enterprises in Fresno, California. Circle Racing Wheels cut the 17-inch Rally’s  to emulate a factory Rally wheel, which are shod with Michelin tires. The conservative stance and factory-like wheels and rubber give the truck a nice balance of OEM heritage and aftermarket classic style, making the truck a hit wherever it goes.

Around 2005, Charles delivered the truck to John Sewell at Hi-Speed Customs in Tucson for some mild bodywork. John filled the stake bed holes, mirror holes and removed the auxiliary fuel tank fill door on the driver’s side. On the passenger side resides a rare factory tool box. Following the mild metal mods John re-sprayed the bed so it looks like the mods are factory. The inside of the steel bed floor was painted as well for a clean factory-like appearance.

1972 Chevy C10 longbed

The interior was re-trimmed in a very factory-esque pattern and style with the original door panels and sun visors dyed to match the fresh seat cover. A new radio was installed in the factory hole to emulate the original AM/FM slider bar unit.

Charles Mudd has achieved a well-balanced classic truck in his 1972 Chevy C10. The memories created in his youth driving this truck cross-country and working on it with his dad are priceless. Charles is quick to point out that he enjoys driving the truck every chance he gets as getting behind the wheel connects him to the past, simpler times and all of the great memories on the road. There is just nothing in the world like cool old trucks! Check out other C10’s here!


1969 Chevy C10 Cummins Build

Trevor Lima’s Immaculate Resto-Mod C10

This Cummins powered Chevy C10 bodied Ford F250 chassis lifted 4×4 creation took Trevor Lima, of Diesel Performance Specialties, over three-years to build. He finished it just in time for SEMA 2018. It set him back a $150,000 to realize this dream build.

Lima has been in the industry for over six-years and created some impressive builds over that time. The last big one, before this Cummins C10 build, was a crazy six-door 2016 Excursion.

1969 Chevy C10 Cummins Build
The 2010 Ford F250 Frame benefited from a box and full reinforcement while an 8-inch suspension system from Fabtech helps soak up the bumps.

The Spark

Lima built an orange 1967 Chevy C10 2WD single cab short bed alongside his Dad as a young adult in their home garage. The build was nearing completion, with body paint, powder coated frame, engine and trans already done, when his parents got a divorce, and the truck was sold. That truck turned into the famous “Tootsie,” as it’s known in C10 circles.

Between the build with his Dad and restoring a 1970 GMC 2WD in dark metallic green and white with woodgrain trim for his great uncle Pete Lima was hooked. He always wanted to make one for himself, but has always been a 4WD diesel lifted truck guy, so this creation is the culmination of those early build experiences and dreams.

Getting Started

Lima decided in 2015 that it was finally time to tackle a build like this for himself, in his personal style. The idea for this build started off as a cool halfway clean daily driver, but nothing over the top. Lima wanted a lifted 4WD, and wanted a Cummins diesel stuffed under the hood. He also loved the retro classic paint look, and couldn’t resist that orange two-tone.

As Lima started on the build he ran into problem after problem trying to get the big Cummins to fit in the original 1967 Chevy frame. In the end it wasn’t wide enough or strong enough to support the big diesel. A frame swap was going to be required.

24×14 American Truxx Forged 1909 Aries Wheels wrapped in 40×15.50 Toyo MT Tires

Lima says that the running gear under the Dodge frame from the same vintage as the engine he chose, 2003-2007, was “the world’s worst,” so he decided to use a Ford chassis. He found the axles, steering, suspension, etc… to be superior to a 2000’s Dodge truck.

As he started working on the truck more and more he quickly realized that he couldn’t justify not doing the build perfect. He had built a nice 1995 K3500 Silverado several years before, with a 12 Valve Cummins in it, but when he was done he knew there were a few things he should’ve done differently.  Lima couldn’t stomach having that feeling again with this build.

Doing It Right

At this point the personal build budget went out the window and Lima focused on doing every aspect of this project just right, and to his personal style. He aimed to build a show truck that was an extremely capable weekend driver and was every bit as aggressive on the road as it would look.

Of course, as with most projects like this, it took much longer and cost much more than expected to build. Lima had to keep putting this personal build on the back burner as his business grew, he moved into a larger building, sold his house and the usual life events happened.

The Build

The 1969 Chevy K20 single cab body has been refurbished to better than OEM quality and updated with a billet grille. The classic Chevy body sits atop a 2010 Ford F250 chassis, which has been boxed and reinforced. A 2005 5.9L common rail Cummins has then been stuffed under the Chevy hood and between the Ford frame rails. The American truck trifecta has been achieved with this truck!

The Cummins has been bored .020 over stock, the block deburred and all new high quality internals fitted. Parts like Carillo Rods, Mahle Pistons, Hamilton cams, valves, lifters and pushrods and even a big S369 SXE Turbo with race cover and a billet wheel have been fitted. An Airdog 220 GPH, 12mm Stroker-BD Diesel Injection Pump and Exergy Injectors all add to this impressive engine package. An HP Tuner tuned by Firepunk Diesel helps the truck put down 1500 ft/lb torque and 800 HP.

Chevy C10 with a 5.9L 2005 Common Rail Cummins
Under the hood lies a fully built 5.9L Cummins with enough go fast parts to easily crest the 800hp mark without breaking a sweat.

Under the truck you’ll find Fabtech 8” lift springs up front and stock F250 leafs in the back, with a shackle flip. Pro Comp MX2 shocks keep the ride smooth over the rough Texas roads. The truck rolled on huge 24×14 Forged American Truxx 1909 Aries Wheels wrapped in 40×15.50 Toyo Mud-Terrains for SEMA, but normally rolls on classic 17-inch pacer wheels wrapped in 40×13.50 Toyo MTs.

A full custom interior is both modern and classic at the same time. It features seats out of a 2005 Chevy truck, OEM Dodge gauges and a full custom tan leather interior by Pacos Upholstery.

Fabtech 8” Lift on a Chevy C10

The list of upgrades on this truck is more than extensive, as Lima needed  to find ways to integrate the big Cummins into the Chevy body and Ford chassis seamlessly. A Firepunk Comp Stage 2 transmission turns custom B&W Driveline driveshafts while a ATS 3-piece stainless exhaust with MBRP flow through muffler let the Cummins breath easy. Touches like a custom 35 gallon aluminum fuel tank, dual optima batteries mounted on the frame rails and Amp Research powered side steps help keep this build tidy and functional.

Life With His Dream Truck

All in, Lima is super happy with how this build turned out and says he “doesn’t really have any plans in the future to upgrade it.” He built it the exact way he wanted, and correct the first time. He says “it has tons of power and drives like a dream.  It doesn’t need anymore work in my opinion. It turns more heads than you can count when its cruising down the road or driving by on a trailer.”

Build Sparks New Business

After this build started coming to life, it started gathering a ton of attention locally in California. People were stopping by Lima’s general auto repair shop to check it out. The more people came around he realized that there was an untapped niche in the diesel community where he was living. His general auto repair shop wasn’t doing great, as there were about 20 other repair shops on the same road and the competition was fierce.

1969 Chevy C10 Cummins Build
The interior of Lima’s C10 is just as (if not more) impressive as the rest of the truck.

A lack of a quality diesel shop around was very evident, so he changed his shop’s name and refocused on the diesel market. Diesel Performance Specialties was born, and business was booming immediately. After only six-months he moved the business from a tiny 2,000 Sq ft shop into a huge 8,000 Sq ft space right off a major freeway.  Within several months at the new location, he even took over the 8,000 sq/ft building next door. Lima had found his niche and business is good.

Life Of A Show Truck

This build was winning local truck shows before the interior was even finished, even landing in a few local auto parts calendars. Lima never saw his creation as a SEMA truck, as he “figured it was too old and classic for the modern touches of the show.”

Truck Guru’s Cris Payne was looking for some SEMA trucks for the 2018 show and multiple people tagged Lima’s build on Facebook to be considered. In the end this custom diesel C10 build was upgraded with 24×14 American Truxx wheels and showcased in the company’s SEMA Show booth in 2018.

1969 Chevy C10 Cummins Build

These days it’s been attending a few local shows and sitting in the shop not getting much drive time. It can currently be seen at the brand new Diesel Performance Specialties shop in Weatherford, TX.

After flying out to meet with American Truxx in Dallas before SEMA 2018, Lima fell in love with th  e area and decided to move his shop to the DFW area, which opened in the summer of 2019. Lima’s Chevy C10 dream build is on display at the new facility. It even got a top 100 placing at this year’s Lonestar Throwdown, out of over 2000 trucks at the show.

Check out other custom C-10’s here!

1969 Chevy C10 Cummins Build

Frame & Body: 2010 Ford F250 Frame (Boxed & Reinforced), 1969 Chevy K20 Body w/ Billet Grille & 1970 OEM Reproduction Front Bumper

Engine: 5.9L 2005 Common Rail Cummins (machined by NAPA Machine Shop & assembled by Diesel Performance Specialties) (bored .020 over, block deburred, Carillo Rods, Mahle Pistons, Assembly Balanced, Hamilton Cams, Hamilton HD Valves, Hamilton Pushrods, Hamilton Lifters, 103 lb springs, 188 Duration and 220 Lift), Mishimoto Intercooler, S369 SXE Turbo w/Race  Cover & Billet Wheel (60 PSI boost), Airdog 220  GPH, 12mm Stroker-BD Diesel Injection  Pump, 1/2” fuel lines, Exergy Injectors (100% over size), HP Tuners with Firepunk Diesel tune

Axels: Sterling 10.50 with 4.56 Gears, Detroit Tru-Trac Locker

Suspension: Fabtech 8” Lift Front Springs, Stock F250 Springs w/ Shackle Flip, Pro Comp MX2 Shocks

Steering: Redhead Box, 2006 Dodge Column

Wheels & Tires: 24×14 American Truxx Forged 1909 Aries Wheels wrapped in 40×15.50 Toyo MT Tires

Other: ATS 3 Piece Stainless Exhaust w/ MBRP Flow Through Muffler, Firepunk Comp Stage 2 Transmission, 1410 Ujoints, Custom Driveshafts by B&W Driveline, NP241 DHD Transfer Case, 35 Gallon Custom Aluminum Gas Tank, Dual Optima Batteries on Passenger Frame Rail Under Cab, Linex Sprayed Bed, Amp Research Running Boards, American Made Wood Grain Trim, Painted Orange/Red by Rookers Collision, Custom Tan Interior by Pacos Upholstery, Seats from 2005 Chevy Truck, Stock Dodge Gauge Cluster with Dash Bezel from 2005 Dodge, Overhead Dodge Control Panel, Power Windows & Doors, Autometer A-Pillar Guages, Pioneer & JBL Sound System


1996 Chevy C3500 Dually | NO COMPROMIZE

Mike Barcia Left No Stone Unturned on This Wicked 1-Ton

A DRIVER. Every custom truck enthusiast must have one. The driver is the truck that gets mobbed on the daily work commute and usually gets put through the paces on the weekend hauling the “show truck” around. The driver is never left alone for long, however. It always starts out innocent enough with a drop kit or airbag suspension setup, wheels and tires, and maybe some upgraded audio and simple exterior bolt-ons, but that only lasts so long. Pretty soon, the custom truck freak’s desire to take the build further and further takes over, and what was once the driver becomes yet another show truck. So much for self-restraint!

Mike Barcia out of Tampa, Florida, bought a driver back in January 2001 to tow his full custom Isuzu show truck. The driver came to him in the form of a trade where Mike gave up the title to his bagged ’90 C3500 and some cash for the ’96 four-door that would eventually become No Compromize.

After a weekend of de-grampifying the OBS Crew, Mike set about getting it on the ground. Set up with full air-ride suspension, the truck’s stock black paint eventually gave way to a full color change with a crisp and clean two-tone with traditional flames heating up the beltline coupled with billet interior accents, ear pounding audio and deep detail under the hood. It didn’t take long before the driver became another show truck. So, Mike decided to take the dually off the road and show circuit and build the most radical custom 1-ton on the planet. The Isuzu was sidelined and the dually became the popular girl getting all of the love and attention.

It was February 2003 when Mike and friend and fellow Negative Camber club member Robbie Taylor tore the truck down to perform a traditional 4-inch body drop on it. After the rockers were kissing the Florida asphalt, the truck looked cool but Mike thought, “It’ll just be another bagged and bodied dually with nice paint and a stock frame under it.” So, the decision was made to go for broke and have a full custom chassis built. Also being a fan and regular attendee of ISCA World of Wheels car shows where the best of best show up to compete, Mike knew that if he wanted to play on that level with the truck, then he had to bring his A game.

Enter Jimmy Graham of Jimmy’s Rod N Customs in Edgewater, Florida. Jimmy hand built and fabricated a oneoff custom chassis equipped with a custom built four-link rear suspension. The leadingedge underpinnings feature custom front suspension and shock hoops built from scratch. Not only is the chassis of No Compromize a work of fabrication and design art, but the depth of detail is unmatched.

After Jimmy finished fabbing up the ultimate bones and suspension, Mike took special care to grind smooth all unnecessary roughness, such as the factory ridges on top of the rear differential where the axle tubes meet the pumpkin. Mike and Gerald Ashe welded up all of the seams and grinded all the welds baby butt smooth. Friend and fellow NC club member David “Double D” Dekorver bodyworked the frame before Chris Bareswilt covered the chassis and suspension components in Euro Red. The frame and suspension were painted as opposed to powdercoated for a superior finish, and then Mike wet sanded and polished to perfection.

To keep things extra clean and smooth, all of the wiring was run through the frame rails, the air compressors were plumbed into the chassis tubing, and all of the chromed stainless bolts were clocked the same direction for that extra touch of ISCA detail. Polished stainless hard lines handle fluid transfer to the brakes and transmission, while a fully polished 3-inch stainless exhaust system built by Jimmy Graham with one-off billet chrome plated exhaust hangers built by Tom Hingle of Billet & Acrylic Fantasies kick out the octane cocktails. Cruising juice is housed in a custom aluminum fuel cell built by Jeff Davy of Devious Customs. The factory rearend was shortened 9 inches and stuffed with shortened Franklin axles while the first set of 24-inch Raceline Ratchet polished wheels mounted on Toyo rubber. Mike even sanded the side walls down for a smooth no-letter look. For an extra touch, Mike reached out to Kennedy Brown from Fat Dog Designs in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to machine one-off billet floating logo No Compromize center caps.

The truck comes to a halt with one-off billet 4-piston calipers and custom slotted and drilled rotors by Aerospace Engineering. Slam Specialties Slam Bags get the meticulously detailed underpinnings on the ground while air management from Accuair sends lift and drop commands from Mike’s itchy trigger fingers. Viair compressors re-supply the tanks.

The factory big block, while mechanically stock, has a bit more bite with a March Pulley Set, Edelbrock Headers and 3-inch custom built stainless exhaust. Making the most noise under the hood is the deep detail, including the smoothed block and heads, paint-matched block, and all of the chromed and polished accents. Mike wanted the world’s finest chrome, so he reached out to Steve from Advanced Plating in Tennessee to get that accomplished. Billet Specialties valve covers cap off the valve train in style, while a custom-built radiator from Performance Rod and Customs keeps the BBC’s operating temps in check. A Wilwood master cylinder kicks fluid to the custom machined calipers allowing them to bite down on the slotted and drilled rotors.

When building a truck of this caliber, getting it this low and expecting it to compete and win on the extremely competitive indoor show circuit, you have to pull out all of the stops. Modifications lead to more modifications to achieve the right fit, the right look, the right form and most importantly the right function! Not only does No Compromize have a detailed to the nines, full-custom chassis, but the envelope was deeply modified as well, demanding a mountain of metal work from the firewall forward.

Blending classic CK lines with more modern Silverado styling, Mike opted to go with a ‘06 Chevy cat-eye front end. Sounds simple, right? But this mod combined with Mike’s obsession to go over the top turned into a five-year fabrication adventure just to make it seamless. Jimmy’s Rod ‘N’ Custom knocked it out of the park again with hammer bending all of the edges for a clean, smooth look. The front fenders were sectioned and lengthened in the front to make them flush with the ’06 Silverado bumper. On the backside, the ’06 fender is joined with the ’96 fender, and the wheel opening had to be cut, sectioned and massaged to make the lines flow proportionately. Moving up, the hood was lengthened on the backside by 10 inches and the windshield wiper cowl area was removed. The side curves of the hood were cut off so that when the hood was opened a clean fender line was achieved. The hood top body lines were then rebuilt and moved in 2 inches per side. The bottom side of the hood was hand built with a bead-rolled insert added for a smooth look and to gain clearance between the top of the intake and the base of the hood. The ’06 Silverado bumper top was chromed and the lower half sectioned and extended by Gerald Ashe so the bottom sat flush with the tarmac when the truck is laid out.

Even before paint was laid down, the engine compartment alone was a work of art in and of itself, with a custom bead-rolled firewall, custom core support and core support bead-rolled sheetmetal cover and bead-rolled fender wells. The radiator and power steering caps were all frenched into the sheetmetal work as well as the hood hinge pockets. To take it one step further, Mike wanted custom billet hood hinges, but he had no clue what he was getting himself into. After commissioning four different machine shops and delaying the build for over a year, Bobby McCurdy finally saved the day. Bobby designed and cut a set of one-off custom billet hood hinges like no other. The truck is basically a highend turn table street rod with a bed on it.

After Jimmy finished the work on the front clip and the engine compartment, it was time to get the cab and bed slick and smooth. Starting with the bed, the fuel door, stake pockets, tailgate handle and taillights were all shaved. A motorcycle style fuel cap was added to the top of the bed rail while one-off custom taillights by Greening Auto were frenched in for stylish stopping. A custom roll pan was built, and the dually fenders were raised 2 inches so  the 24-inch Raceline would tuck. Jimmy fabricated new bead-rolled sheetmetal to the front outside bulkhead of the bed, and the factory dually fender marker lights were shaved in favor of custom one off machined replacement. Jimmy kept the tools burning by fabricating a push-button tailgate handle on the inside of the tailgate, rounding all four corners of the inside of the bed, building bead-rolled interior sheetmetal inserts inside the inner bed sides, and building widened bead-rolled inner wheel tubs. It didn’t stop there. The welder kept on blazing with a custom raised and smoothed bed floor panel, both top and bottom, smooth sheetmetal on the inside of the tailgate and bead-rolled billet oval No Compromize insert into  the tailgate.

Ever since the truck came off the road and was torn down in ’03, the color of choice for the modified metal was to be red. When it came time for the metal work to be body worked and covered in color, Mike delivered the truck to Justin and Eli Griffin at Twin States Rod Shop in Meridian, Mississippi. Once the truck was arrow straight, smooth and ready for color, it was time for the booth and the ultimate decision on color. Since the chassis was already red and Mike wanted it to stand out, it was decided that the body better be an opposing color. BASF RM products were custom mixed to come up with the custom color nicknamed “SEMA Gray,” and the truck was coated from nose to tail and roof to rocker and the liquid art buried in RM Glamour clear coat.

Completion of the metal work, body work and paint led to wiring before the truck was delivered to the upholstery and audio shop for threads and sounds. Justin and Eli Griffin installed a Painless Performance wiring harness to connect all of the electrical dots and a custom motor wire harness from Tempe Speed & Performance to get the bigblock cranking.

No head turning, jaw dropping and awardwinning custom show truck is complete without a double throw down interior and some tunes to pummel ear drums. Aaron Markwell, Jesse Johannesen and the team of Innerworx in Sarasota, Florida, got down on the cabin of No Compromize with the entire interior inner structure built out of ABS plastic and then cut, shaped, layered and routered out to perfection. Innerworx built the custom dash, door panels, center console, overhead console and the seats. A total of 11 hides of Relicate Napa saddle leather were used to wrap the full custom interior. Mushroom Versaweave textile carpet covers the cab floor. Complementing the supple leather and smooth street rod sculpted styling of the threads is a Flaming River steering column topped by a custom machined 15-inch billet steering wheel. Vintage Air climate control keeps show cruising temps in check while Classic Instruments gauges provide accurate reporting on the big blocks behavioral patterns. Further accenting the cruising chamber are a variety of billet dress-up items from Clayton Machine Works. To finish off the interior, Mike had Jeff Bertrand of J&B Microfinish in Pontiac, Illinois, machine custom billet seat recliner handles to match the door handles, while Tony Pasquini of Automods in Sarasota, Florida, performed the interior leather laser engraving NC logos throughout. Tom Hingle of Billet and Acrylic Fantasies in Vero Beach, Florida, designed and machined more than 100 unique custom billet parts placed carefully and strategically throughout the build to add class and detail at every turn. A keen eye will note the “NC” engraved throughout the billet accents signifying two things—the truck’s name, No Compromize, and Mike’s truck club, Negative Camber.

For cruising beats, Mike went with all Sony components featuring three-way speakers up front, two 10-inch subwoofers in the center console and a sixchanel Bluetooth amplifier with DSP sending the signals.

No Compromize was a 15-year journey in the making from the time Mike tore it down until the day it rolled into the SEMA Show in November 2018. His commitment to the level and quality of the build is self-evident in the finished product. Mike is thankful for the help and support of his wife, Heather, and daughters Madison and Brooke Barcia for allowing him to pursue his dream. Mike would also like to extend his deepest appreciation for the hard work and dedication of the build team, including Justin Griffin, Eli Griffin, Gauge Griffin, Jimmy Graham, Aaron Markwell, Jesse Johannesen, Chris Bareswilt, Gerald Ashe, David Dekorver, Robbie Taylor, Efrain Ramos, Tony Pasquini, Cody Holmes, Chris Douglass, Joe Griswold, Alex Madrigal, Kennedy Brown, Bobby McCurdy, Jeff Bertrand, Andre Brown, Chris Rawlins, Matty Barkley, Anthony DeMichael, Chuck Scheer, Bryan Perreault, Danny Terneus and CJ Fayet. Bad ass trucks, family and friends— what it’s all about!


Mike Barcia
1996 Chevy C3500 Dually
Tampa, Florida
Negative Camber


  • Full custom chassis and suspension by Jimmy Graham at Jimmy’s Rod ‘N’ Customs, Edgewater, Florida
  • Custom four-link, custom front suspension and shock hoops
  • Shortened and smoothed rearend
  • Chassis body worked and smoothed by David Dekorver of Dub D Kustoms
  • Chassis paint by Chris Bareswilt of Tampa
  • Slam Specialties slam bags
  • Accuair air management
  • Viair compressors
  • Custom fuel tank by Jeff Davy of Devious Customs


  • Factory 7.4-liter 454
  • Edelbrock headers
  • March Performance pulleys
  • Custom 3-inch stainless exhaust fabricated by Jimmy’s Rod ‘N’ Customs

Wheels/Tires Brakes

  • 24-inch Raceline Ratchet dually wheels
  • Custom machined center caps by Kennedy Brown at Fat Dog Designs in Jonesboro, Arkansas
  • Toyo 255/30/24 tires sanded to remove all logos, letters and numbers
  • Custom machined billet four-piston calipers, cross drilled and slotted rotors by Aerospace Engineering
  • Wilwood master cylinder

Body /Paint

  • ’06 Chevy cat-eye front end
  • Custom built hood hinges by Bobby McCurdy
  • All curved edges of front sheetmetal
  • Bead-rolled firewall
  • Custom core support
  • Bead-rolled fender wells
  • Sectioned and lengthened front fenders
  • Modified wheel well openings
  • Lengthened hood 10 inches
  • Traditional 4-inch body drop
  • Shaved fuel door
  • Shaved stake pockets
  • Shaved tailgate handle
  • Frenched one-off taillights
  • Raised dually fenders
  • Custom roll pan
  • Metal Mods by Jimmy Graham Jimmy’s Rod N Customs
  • Paint: SEMA Gray by BASF sprayed by Justin Griffin and Eli Griffin at Twin States Rod Shop


  • Hand-built dash, door panels, seats and consoles
  • Relicate Napa saddle leather
  • Design, fabrication and stitchwork by Innerworx Modern Interior Solutions, Aaron Markwell, Jesse Johannesen and team in Sarasota, Florida
  • Vintage Air climate control
  • Classic Instruments gauges
  • Flaming River steering column
  • billet from Clayton Machine Works

Miscellaneous Custom Tricks

  • Interior laser engraving by Tony Pasquini of Auto Mods in Sarasota, Florida
  • One-off machined parts by Tom Hingle of Billet and Acrylic Fantasies in Vero Beach, Florida
  • Billet seat hardware by Jeff Bertrand of J&B Microfinish in Pontiac, Illinois
  • Billet/LED taillights and billet fan shroud by Jesse Greening of Greening Auto in Cullman, Alabama
  • Chrome plating by Advance Plating
  • Door moldings and rubbers by Precision Replacement Parts


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