Squarebody Syndicate SS01
No one saw this coming
There are trendsetters, trend followers and those lagging behind in our little world of cars and trucks. Back in the day, some guy in his garage would come up with a bright idea, hammer out the details and hustle to a car show to wow the crowds. These days the big unveiling is usually on social media; ideas shoot across the continent, and globe, much faster than you can imagine. Trends seem to catch on overnight. Occasionally, and not every time mind you, but sometimes a vehicle is built that blows up a style; I mean a build that hits every cue (along with a few new ones) and melts faces with incredible execution. That’s this truck.
The hot rod industry is up to its eyeballs in GM pickups built on the theme of “original looks with all modern everything,” to the point that it’s no longer a novel idea. This state makes the Squarebody Syndicate SS01 on these pages all the more grand.
What you see here is actually the second restoration owner/builder Joe Yezzi prompted. The first go-round just didn’t make Joe’s heart sing, so he did the unthinkable: tore the freshly-painted truck apart and tried again. This time around, Porterbuilt was tapped for front and rear suspension systems fashioned to set the pinch welds on the ground. Accuair air management is used to control the Firestone ‘bags, plus the all-important “all down” setting that buries the 22” Delmo Specials into the fenders.
An LS3 dressed as a “DELS3” from Delmo’s has been topped with a one-off air cleaner assembly from GSI Fabrication. While it looks like the stock steel housing that came on millions of pickups, GSI carved this one out of aluminum. Coupled with the small block valve covers and copious orange paint, many think they’re looking at a detailed 305. A Holley EFI system, Drive Junky front accessories and cast headers from GM round out the package, while a 4L70E with a Hughes converter take care of business.
The paint colors for this truck were set in stone before the first wrench turned. Not only was Catalina Blue and Frost White the original color scheme, it’s what Joe had the truck painted during the first restoration, and, most importantly, the color of Joe’s father’s ’74 GMC. Before Ikandy Paintworks did the deed, the sheetmetal received a once-over by Nick at Hubcaps Hot Rod Design. Stake pockets, bed floor bolts, and the front license plate were all shaved clean. The bed floor is a new piece from LMC truck that was raised to clear the kicked-up rear frame, then hinged to lift with actuators. You get quite a show with the floor up; the Accuair system is neatly packaged, framed by the Watts link and 3” exhaust.
Looking at the interior, you’ll find plaid inserts surrounded by leather. The plaid material is NOS, and the cow-hide was picked to mimic the original vinyl. Carpet is black, the headliner is leather and the instruments are Dakota Digital. Those too look like the original stuff, which was Joe’s doing. Squarebody Syndicate has their own private-label series based on the VHX-73C-PU, which gets the factory font and custom orange-hubbed needles. An ididit steering column holds up another staggering one-off piece from GSI; designed to look original with a smaller diameter, the steering wheel goes unnoticed by most.
SS01, or Syndicate Series #01, was finished minutes before it drove into the 2015 SEMA show where it won a GM Design Award and a million new fans. This truck is a perfect blend of the original things we love about the ’73-87 trucks, combined with the best today’s aftermarket has to offer. High-functioning EFI, 480+ horsepower, killer stance with great fit and finish are attributes they couldn’t even dream of back in ’74.