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.
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
If you remember from the last issue, we dropped off our 1998 GMC Sierra known as Project Artemis to the amazing minds at Glarb Wrapped and Tate Designs for an overhaul of epic proportions. A combination of a killer design, high quality prints and one of the best installers in the game is all that it took to transform this basic bagged Bowtie into a motorized masterpiece we can’t wait to take to shows. Not only is the design eye-catching and hypnotizing, but it also incorporates LED panels underneath the wrap that light up at the push of a button. Now the name of the truck can be seen at night, which will definitely stand out in the crowd.
Ryan Sandoval from Glarb Wrapped sent his files to We Print Wraps, and within a few weeks we were watching them install a high-quality material that will last as long as paint. With a design this intricate, Ryan only trusted one crew to lead with the install. Tate designs in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, was proud to participate and happily lead the charge. Tape measures went flying and numbers were being calculated in their heads faster than we could take photos, but there’s a method to their madness that you can only appreciate if you just sit back and watch the process. We were able to hang out with them for the entire week as they sanded, stripped and wrapped the entire truck from bumper to bumper. Their work is amazing, and from what we know it’s second to none. We have a whole new respect for this particular industry, and before you drop your deposit at your favorite paint shop, just give this method of metal masking another look. Check out the steps it takes to prepare these wraps and line them up correctly.
When it comes to lowered trucks, the stance is everything! Without the proper stance, the truck will not look good or handle correctly. One company has been getting it right since 1983—Belltech.
Belltech was at the forefront of the sport truck craze in the early ’90s building parts for none other than the GMT400 trucks. The launch of the drop spindle allowed people to lower their trucks while maintaining front-end geometry. They also addressed the rest of the suspension with shackle kits, flip kits and lowering coil springs. All of these components resulted in a ride quality that hadn’t been realized before now.
We recently picked up a 1996 GMC Sierra C1500 as a project truck. It was a bit rough around the edges but had great bones and potential. A little elbow grease and replacing a few things such as the carpet and body side moldings had the truck looking much better than when we bought it. The next step was to address the suspension, brakes and wheels.
To get the stance and look we wanted, we reached out to our friends at Belltech and Ridler wheels. We knew we wanted it to be low, but didn’t want to lay frame. The folks at Belltech recommended a 4/6 lowering kit with their Street Performance shocks part #688SP. We chose the new Ridler 606 gray with milled spoke wheels wrapped in Toyo rubber to round out the look we were after.
While we were tearing into the suspension, we also decided to upgrade the brakes and steering components. We chose drilled and slotted front rotors and a rear disc conversion from Little Shop Manufacturing. To ensure the truck steered straight and true, new steering components and balljoints were in order from Proforged.
All of these parts combined are going to create a truck that handles as well as it looks. Lets dive into what it takes to istall a 4/6 lowering kit from Belltech.
Check out other Belltech lowering tech installs click here!
Little Shop Manufacturing
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!
1996 Chevy C3500 Dually
Miscellaneous Custom Tricks
Before the pandemic, life was easier in so many ways for so many people. One problem we constantly heard was builders had increased customer orders but couldn’t procure the materials needed for manufacturing, which is what we went through while trying to create content for our tech section.
The last time we visited this particular project was over six months ago with the installation of a QA1 coilover suspension. This 1997 Chevy C1500 now handles like a rail car but lacks the power to really test out the engineering. Yes, we could upgrade the factory 305ci engine to gain a few hundred horsepower, but the time, dollars and effort spent doing that would be on par with a complete LS engine swap. So that’s the route we are going on this build, and we really hope you follow along.
Our block of choice is a 6.0-liter LS engine out of a 2003 Silverado 2500 HD. We are going to completely strip it down and prep it properly for the big power we expect to get with this ProCharger supercharger system. Along the way, we will strengthen the structure with ARP bolts and paint it nicely to match the rest of the truck. This P-1SC-1 supercharger system from ProCharger is self-contained (SC) and the only gear-driven centrifugal superchargers to feature self-lubrication. SC ProChargers also feature the highest step-up ratio, exclusive billet impellers and the industry’s only billet gearcases for superior rigidity, sealing and appearance.
We are sending the harness to Current Performance Wiring for a complete overhaul. Which will make it plug and play with our 6.0-liter LS. The follow OEM wire colors and use OEM connectors to produce the best quality products. They go through a multi-step quality inspection process that’s guaranteed to meet or exceed even the most demanding show car owner’s expectations. We are replacing this original OEM transmission with a Chevrolet 4L80 transmission to handle the additional power and finishing it all off with some Red Line fluids. Keep in tune with this one because the end result will be something you want to see, we promise!
Current Performance Wiring manufactures custom engine & transmission harnesses for:
Check Out A Video: https://youtu.be/EPQQWeW8xFI
Current Performance Wiring
Red Line Oil
A couple of issues back, we introduced you to not only our latest project truck known as Artemis but also a new tech team helping out on this year’s OBS build. SaltWorks Fab in Myakka City, Florida, is known for building some amazing hotrods and trophy-winning showpieces for customers. With way more expendable income than we do, so having the crew take time out of their busy schedule to help us document Artemis’ RideTech suspension swap is an honor we are proud to boast about. So, if you missed the February ’21 issue where we documented the front suspension install, we suggest you head over to www.engagedmediamags.com to buy a copy while you can. In this issue, we tackle the rear of our 1998 GMC Sierra 1500 SLE. A C-notch install and a lot of sweet-looking, well-engineered suspension parts.
No cutting the bed floor and no removing the fender liners. Just a C-notch and a quick shave of the bed brace. All the permanent modifications that needed to be made. They’re nothing that would stop us from putting it back to stock one day if we wanted to. Which is what we were looking for in an air suspension system. This Ridetech system also has electronic ride height sensors that set your ride height to whatever PSI you want. This way, even if you have a leak. The system will correct it at the push of a button until you can pull off and make a repair.
The final piece to the new suspension puzzle is picking a wheel and tire package. For project Artemis, we wanted a setup that would allow us to have a super low stance without cutting anything and a decent ride on 40-series tires. If you have any experience with air suspension, county roads and 35-series tires, you will more than likely understand our desires for this driver. The wheels are staggered fit, 20-inch aluminum wheels from US Mags with a width of 8 inches up front, and 9.5 inches in the back. Having a wider wheel in the back not only looks cool, but it also stretches the 40-series tire just a bit to give up some extra clearance out back when cruising low and slow. Now let’s check out the steps to installing the rear of this extremely well-engineered air suspension system for GMT400 trucks.
This is a completely bolt-on air-ride suspension for ’88-’98 Chevy/GMC 2WD trucks. No cutting the bed floor and no removing the fender liners.
The Sparks Show 2020 at the Sevier County Fairgrounds in Sevierville, Tennessee, brought quite the crowd! This three-day event packed a fun-filled weekend for the whole family. The August show was presented by Sparkles Detail, Fennell Custom Interiors, Minitruckers Union, Jr. Griffey & Son Body Shop and Logan Wade Photography.
The show started on Friday night with an epic pre-party. DJ Maze and OLP were set up at the showgrounds bringing the tunes while Molloy’s BBQ was slinging some mouthwatering street tacos. The night then wound down with a corn hole tournament brought to you by Corey Floyd Photography. Tacos and cornhole: What more could you ask for?
Unfortunately, Saturday morning started with a lot of rain. Despite the rain, the grounds were absolutely packed with amazing rides! The sun finally began to shine in the afternoon as the rain moved out. Everyone dried off their vehicles so they would be prepared for judging. The quality of rides, as well as the people, were absolutely amazing! Adam Tripp, Don Dizzy Davis and the Sparks Show crew immediately got to work knocking out the judging. As the sun began to set at the fairgrounds, the fun wasn’t over yet! The Sparks Show crew shut down the parkway with an epic cruise with a fleet of trucks from No Regrets, Aftermath and several more.
Luckily, Sunday morning brought more sun and no rain. New vehicles and even more spectators started to roll into the fairgrounds. While you walked around the show you could hop under the pavilion to check out all of the awesome auction and raffle items. From the Rose Metalworks panel and custom cornhole board to a Golden Ticket for Minitruck Nationals 2020, this show had it all! Michelle Boone organized the club games while the crew set up for the limbo contest on the far side of the fairgrounds.
This show always raises money or collects donations for a specific charity, and this year they donated to POPs for Patients (www.popsforpatients.org). The Sparks Show was able to raise $4,000 plus approximately 130 Funko Pop figures for donation! As the show began to come to an end, it was time for awards.
The awards were created by Welch’s Chop Shop, Mad House Designs and many more sponsored by Jr. Griffey & Son Body Shop. Darrell Poe was presented with the Best of Show truck. The Best Paint award went to Chris Denton and the Best of Show Car went to David Culpepper with the VW Beetle, a.k.a. Beetlejuice. Josh and Anne Holt took home the OLP Minis On Da Rise award this year. The Club Participation Hammer stayed with Banzai with a total of 23 registered vehicles at the show.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the weather conditions, this was one of the best years for The Sparks Show! Adam and Don aren’t stopping now, so be on the lookout for the Sparks Show 2021!
Generally, truck trends are unpredictable and cycle quickly through the ranks of the top industry builders and ballers. F-100 bump-sides and pro-touring, patina-paneled C10s are just a few recent examples of popular projects that the average Joe wouldn’t think to produce until they see a fully completed custom gracing the pages of national publications or influential social media channels. These ideas and completed concepts come from the mindset of being unique with the goal of making a statement at massive events like SEMA, LST and Texas Heatwave. With that said, I think it’s safe to say we all see the next major trend hurling down the pipeline like a 6-foot surfer named Bodhi riding a 15-foot wave off Bells Beach during the 50-year storm. (That was a “Point Break” reference if you didn’t catch it. What a great ’90s movie!)
Speaking of the ’90s, if you were a natural born truck junkie finally making it to the legal driving age around those times, you most certainly wanted a Chevy C/K truck since they were literally everywhere. Everyone from utility company employees to school district secretaries used these heavily produced pickups for their day-to-day operations. Even your grandpa’s grocery-getter was most likely an ’89-’98 Chevy. They came in so many different visual styles with factory options galore. Originally designed by Donald Wood in 1983, Chevy was able to move 551,223 of these GMT400 trucks by 1989 alone according to the Standard Catalog, not to mention the popular 454 model released in 1990 that sold 16,953 units over the four years with 13,748 of those units selling in the first year of production alone.
With that heavy of a number, it’s easy to see why we not only saw a massive increase of these trucks in magazines, but also why the custom aftermarket scene is heating up so much right now. These trucks are still pretty easy to come by and the demographic of buyers are slightly older and more well-off than your average new-truck enthusiast. The guys who wanted these trucks in their teens are now older, generally successful and more comfortable than they were at 16 years old. These factors are driving the great custom parts manufacturers to focus on these industry icons to get ahead of the curve.
It’s easy to talk the talk, but it’s far more impactful to walk the walk. So, we put on our Airwalks and jumped into the deep end of desire by picking up a running, driving 1995 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 a full gas tank and a fresh oil change just shows that the previous owner still has love for this 20-plus-year-old family member.
In the next few issues we are 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 suspension, brakes and wheels/tires, followed up with a facelift for the ages. The plans don’t stop there, but you’re going to need to stick to the script the see the next steps. If you’re not a subscriber already, I implore you to do so. If this truck doesn’t motivate you to go out and start wrenching on your own project, I’m not sure you picked up the right publication. Now let’s get to the good stuff!
Key features of these brakes: