Sure it’s brown and not all that old, but it’s still plenty cool
Time is a funny thing, specifically the way it changes our perspective on objects. What was once the hot new thing becomes passé; out of date, out of style and ultimately cast-off. After spending a period of time in obscurity, said object is often rediscovered (or never forgotten by some) and enjoys new popularity as “retro” or “vintage.” The way I see it, the key is to grab something at its low point between out of style and making a comeback.
1973-87 GM pickups are definitely on the upward swing, fueled by low prices, good looks and fond memories. You can still find these trucks in good condition for a reasonable price, and there are multiple front-end designs to choose from, so there is a bit of variety in the series. Many truck enthusiasts are younger guys that grew up with the square body style pickups; their dad’s drove them, or they themselves had one in high school, so putting together a high-end show truck based on their childhood favorite seems right. Take a look at the ’83 Chevy built by Jeff Volker (Volkers Autobody ) and Josh Hart (Hart Fab); it’s among the nicest, most detailed ’73-87 to date, and plays host to a myriad of custom trucks but doesn’t lose the original charm. Just about everything has been changed in one way or another, but the overall look is still quite original at first glance.
The exterior of the truck received a few modifications before the fit and finish was tweaked to perfection. The lock cylinders were shaved, while the stock handles remained; the stake pockets in the bed were filled, as were the louvers in the wiper cowl panel. The tailgate got a Blazer trim panel; a slick way to shave the gate with factory parts. The inside of the bed received perhaps the most custom work, with rolled panels on all sides, tie-down locations in the floor and large tubs to clear the suspension and wheels. Hart Fab gets the credit for the masterpiece behind the cab as well under the hood. Paint is PPG Envirobase in Golden Bronze and Pale Adobe; all paint and body work was naturally done at Jeff’s shop. The bumpers were thoroughly massaged, being narrowed, shaved, and tucked closer to the body. In all, four bumpers were used to create the two on the truck. Chrome plating of the finished masterpieces was handled by Paul’s Chrome. The familiar square turn signals behind the grille were ditched in favor of flush-mount LED signals cut into the headlight bezels.
The chassis was fitted with the whole Porterbuilt catalog, using their Extreme front and rear dropmembers. Additionally, a tubular stiffener was added between the rails to keep everything square before all of the extraneous holes were filled. Once Josh was done welding and grinding, the chassis was powdercoated black. Ridetech shocks keep the ship steady while an Accuair E-Level controller creates the ups and downs. Fourteen inch Wilwood brakes can be seen through the 22” Billet Specialties Turbines, which have been wrapped in Falken 452 rubbers. Those big rollers are spun by a Tru-Trac dressed with 4.10 gears getting commands from a 4” Dynotech driveshaft, which is connected to a Performabuilt Level 3 4L60E. The LS3 under the hood gives that stout drivetrain a work out, what with its 4” stroker crank, West Coast cylinder heads, big cam and 2.9 Whipple blower. After Domin8Tuning got through with it, the C10 laid down 569hp/507tq to the rear wheels. Kooks stainless headers lead to 3” Flowmaster mandrel-bent pipes and mufflers.
Inside you’ll find Relicate leather on the seat, a Billet Specialties steering wheel atop the painted ididit column, and what else, but a set of Dakota Digital VHX instruments. Jeff went with Black Alloy face styling coupled with white LED backlighting; it’s the most traditional, stock look we offer and fits right in with the rest of the truck. JL Audio components are hidden throughout the cab, while a Kenwood Bluetooth receiver is tucked under the seat. The finished product is a refined stock look; all of the OEM charm with the functionality of 21st century technology.
Is this an old truck? It doesn’t have round headlights, which seems like the threshold for most people to consider a vehicle “cool old.” I think this generation of truck remains off most people’s radar; they’re not old enough to be a rare or sought after, nor do they boast any high-tech amenities to keep them at the forefront. Jeff Volker struck at the right time, putting a squarebody on the map, but even Jeff started looking ahead, to the next big thing, and sold the ’83. The next big thing just happens to be an older truck. Imagine that.