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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
’89 Chevy Cheyenne C1500
Spring Hill, Florida
In 1997, Barrett Stewart was injected with a custom truck virus when a few friends asked him to hang out one weekend. It only took one experience in the laid back lifestyle we enthusiasts all know and love to get Barrett hooked. Over the years, he bought and sold a few of the industry’s most well known rides, but this latest one is special, and it may not go anywhere anytime soon. Barrett had some previous custom truck owner experience with his first truck, a ’94 GMC Sonoma known as “Sweet as Candy,” which was featured in Mini Truckin magazine back in ’97. Next on his list of good looking rides was a ’96 Chevy S-10 Blazer two-door called “Double Exposure.” That build was also featured in Mini Truckin. Lastly, his third custom truck was a ’99 Chevrolet Tahoe four-door named “816 Hours” in a past Street Trucks article. This is the truck that began the OBS obsession for Barrett.
“This truck had a great start from previous owner, Brian Baird, and I was lucky enough to buy the truck and see a vision of how he envisioned it complete,” Barrett says.
Body-dropped on 24-inch wheels was the goal, and previous owner Brian was the man making the mods to the metal.
Body mods on this amazing truck include a chopped top roof, a Goodmark Steel SS Ram air hood, Hart front inner fenders, shaved fuel door and a steel roll pan.
The factory frame rails were notched for tie rods and stock floor body dropped using 2×4-inch square tubing. A custom four-link suspension with a Panhard bar and pinion snubber mounts up to the factory rear end that is loaded with Moser Axles and 3.73 Auburn limited slip gears. The front end hardware was swapped out for Michigan Metal Works upper and lower control arms, airbags and an Airlift 3H air management system. This gave Barrett the ability to lay body on 24×9-inch front and 24×12-inch Raceline Status 6 wheels. The Delinte DS8 tire sizes are 255/35/24 up front and 305/35/24 in the rear. A rear disc brake conversion with a Wilwood Master cylinder and stainless braided brake lines give this truck plenty of stopping power.
The truck is LS swapped using a 2002 Chevrolet Silverado 5.3-Liter LS, A Comp Cams “Big Mutha Thumper” cam, a Be Cool aluminum radiator, Edelbrock coil pack covers, Boost brothers mid length headers and 3-inch spin tech mufflers. LS1 engine dress up accessories and an Edelbrock Pro flow EFI conversion wrapped up the engine mods. A 2002 GM 4L80E transfers the power to the rear axles.
Body mods on this amazing truck include a chopped top roof, a Goodmark Steel SS Ram air hood, Hart front inner fenders, shaved fuel door and a steel roll pan. There’s also a shaved roof drip rail, shaved third brake light, shaved stake pockets and shaved tailgate handle. All the amazing bodywork was performed by Kevin Fulmer Shadetree Customs Pomaria, SC. The color is Toyota Cavalry Blue with Toyota Cement Gray graphics. All paint and graphics were also completed by Kevin Fulmer at Shadetree customs.
A few events that this killer truck can be seen at include the Battle in Bama ‘Million Dollar Row,’ East Tennessee Showdown, Drop Em Wear show, Mini Truckin’ Nationals and more.
A few events that this killer 1990 Chevrolet C1500 truck can be seen at include the Battle in Bama “Million Dollar Row,” East Tennessee Showdown, Drop Em Wear show, Mini Truckin’ Nationals and more.
“With the help of great friends and amazing family my vision became reality. Thanks to my extended family in Relaxed Atmosphere for always being there to give support or ideas” Barrett says.
1990 Chevrolet C1500
Location: Laurens SC
Club affiliation: Relaxed Atmosphere
Occupation: Owner of Superior Auto
Cost of 1990 Chevrolet: $9,000
Date of original Purchase: October 2017
Cost of Build-up: $25,000
How long from build date to completion: 3 years
“Thanks to David at Coys wheel, Raceline Wheels, Dunbar Auto Supply, Jeff Smith at Colorworx paint shop, Delinte tires, Kevin and Kory Fulmer at Shadetree Customs, Ronnie at Lowrider Depot, all my guys at Superior Auto, Andrew White at Mainstreet Auto Detailing, Jason Mode at New Creations, Hart Fabrication, Keith and Tommy Allewine at TKM Customs, and most importantly my wife Nikki and or two amazing boys, Rett and Eli.”
The classic movie, “A Streetcar Named Desire,” was recently selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.” Lately, it seems that ’88-’98 Chevy trucks are quickly being known to have the same qualities in the truck enthusiast world. GMT400 trucks were on every street corner and car show in the ’90s. With massive production numbers and excellent engineering, these Chevy trucks are still pretty easy to come by and available in many different forms, including shortbed, longbed, quad cab and even two different SUV platforms. Oftentimes, the guy who’s buying and restoring these trucks wanted one in his teen years, and now he’s older, generally successful and more financially stable than when he was 16 years old. These factors also drive custom parts manufacturers to focus on making products for the industry icons and get ahead of the popularity curve.
It’s easy to talk the talk and say you’re a fan of this body style, but it’s far more impactful to walk the walk and own one yourself. So, we took the challenge and jumped into the deep end of desire by picking up a running, driving ’95 Chevy C/K truck from the original owner for a smooth $2,000. Cold A/C and a solid cranking 4.3-liter V-6 gave this truck the appeal, but the full gas tank and a fresh oil change showed us that the previous owner still had love for this 20-plus-year-old family member.
To quickly explain the project’s name: “Stella” is a Latin term meaning “star.” The name popped in our heads after we ordered our 22-inch American Racing Nova wheels. The word “Nova” is a female name of Latin origin that has a definition of both “newness” and “of great energy.” It’s also an astronomical term for a star that suddenly increases in brightness, just like this truck’s future. (Plus, Stella was a pretty stellar character in “A Streetcar Named Desire.”) So, with all that in mind, the name Stella just fits, don’t you think?
Over the next few pages, we’re going to take you through the process of giving this truck new life on the same old roads it’s been cruising down since its inception, first starting with a new suspension, upgraded disc brakes and a new set of wheels and tires. That’s only the beginning, but you have to follow along to see the rest. If this truck doesn’t motivate you to go out and start wrenching on your own OBS project, I’m not sure you picked up the right publication. Now let’s get to the good stuff!
To control our fuel delivery system, we chose to go with Edelbrock’s new Pro-Flo 4 electronic fuel injection. The Pro-Flo 4 is not just a replacement for your carburetor. It’s a complete engineered system that provides the ultimate in performance, drivability and quality. This will result in a smoother idle, faster acceleration, better peak power, improved fuel economy and the ability to control detonation, all in the E-Tuner 4 app.
The key to the improved performance is the fuel injector location, which is at the end of the runner on the intake manifold right before the airflow stream enters the combustion chamber. This location provides a more efficient mixture control that’s unaffected by varying intake manifold runner temperatures and length.
Next to be bolted to the block are our Hedman Hedders designed for the SBC 350ci engine. Hedman Hedders began as a one-man shop in 1954. Bob Hedman, founder of Hedman Hedders, sold his highly sought-after exhaust tubes to fellow racers on the salt flats of the Mojave Desert. But what started out as a way to make a few bucks to pay for Bob’s racing hobby quickly turned into the premier header manufacturer for both the racing and street header marketplaces.
Centerforce is the clutch of choice for our project and recommended by American Powertrain. The Centerforce II Clutch Series utilizes a full facing disc with premium friction materials and a pressure plate with centrifugal weights. It offers superb holding power and maximum clutch life, making this clutch ideal for selected street/strip, off-road and towing applications.
• Patented centrifugal weight design
• Patented ball bearing pressure plate
• High quality friction material
• Light pedal effort
• Increased holding capacity
• Smooth engagement
American Powertrain’s Pro-Fit kits for 88-98 Chevy/GMC C1500 OBS GMT400 trucks come in either 5 or 6-speed. There is no need to cut the floor if your truck is already manual since it fits in the factory location. This kit reuses the original cross-member. It’s actually a very easy install!
30-50% increase in fuel economy
Low RPM cruising for greatly reduced driver fatigue and an improved highway driving experience.
Reduced engine wear leading to longer engine life
Cooler engine operating temperature
The 88-98 Chevy kit includes
AP Revolution Shifter Mechanism locates shifter that will fit bench or bucket seats
Seamless DOM Driveshaft Assembly that has been race balanced
A Driveshaft Slip Yoke made from Cryogenically hardened steel
Polyurethane Transmission Mount
Greased and pre-packed pilot bearing with stainless rollers
Reverse Light Harness
Electronic Speedometer Conversion
Shifter Knob and all the Hardware and instructions you need.
With the engine fully assembled, Trey can slide the engine into the bay and start prepping the cooling system. We used a set of factory V-8 motor mounts to bolt it to the frame and Mishimoto radiators and electric fans. This is a 6.2-liter (383ci) diesel cooling system that Trey recommended for additional cooling. To make it all work correctly, Trey installed a factory OEM diesel coolant reservoir and made a trick aluminum coolant transfer pipe.
Automotive Touchup Paint
AVS on the Web
AZ Pro Performance
Full Pen Fabrication
Hedman Performance Group
Red Line Oil