Pro Performance '90 Chevy
What's new is already old
It may have to do with when we were born. People “latch on” to pop culture items from their youth; the music and television shows of your childhood and teen years are still the best, right? The same goes for automobiles; a certain car, whether someone you knew had one, or was popular at the time, lingers in your mind. Since your author was very young, the ’88-98 GM trucks have been a “bucket list” vehicle to own, and now that I have a clean ’98 short box, all is right in the world.
Travis Dulgerian shares this enthusiasm and after working on a few older Chevy pickups, he recently stepped up to this once-maroon regular cab. Travis is a Motor Market feature veteran; his bagged ’63 C10 graced these pages a few years ago. Unfortunately the C10 was sold, replaced by a ’64 Suburban. The ‘Burb is a long-term project, being more of a shell to throw money at than a cruiser, but the burning desire to build and drive a custom truck will not be put on hold. When this 1990 half ton popped up for sale, Travis was all over it.
The truck was already lowered in the back with a home-brewed setup consisting of long shackles and missing leaf springs. For improved ride quality and a little less altitude, Travis yanked the yard sale and installed a Street Edge rear suspension kit rated at six inches of drop. Up front you’ll find requisite drop spindles and springs from McGaughy’s, but what’s not commonplace is the braking system. Pro Performance sells their own big brake kit for the OBS (internet speak for Old Body Style) trucks using Baer parts; the 14” rotors up front with 13” pizza pans out back are an uproariously awesome upgrade. This CK stops quick and straight, better than 1990 ever dreamt for a pickup. Belltech was pressed for front and rear sway bars to keep it level and make the most of those 20” Hot Rods by Boyd rollers.
With the handling and stopping upgraded, the TBI 305 was showing its age, and Travis pulled it without a second thought. In its place is a 2005 5.3L LS engine with matching 4L60E from a 2005 Yukon. The engine is mostly stock save for some front accessory brackets from Dirty Dingo, but the 5.3L feels pretty lively now that it isn’t lugging a fullsize SUV packed with hockey gear. The regular cab pickup has the go to match the whoa and has surprised more than a few sporty cars.
The exterior was cleaned up with a billet grille insert, molded-in roll pan, shaved tailgate, plus sport mirrors and a smooth front bumper. Travis handled these upgrades before the silver paint was sprayed by a local Arizona body shop. There’s no question that the exterior styling was the pinnacle for General Motors, but the interior leaves a great deal to be desired. The stock gauges are junk, the plastic trim is usually an uninviting color and the upholstery is dated if not torn to shreds. Starting with the bouncing fuel gauge and 85mph speedo, the stock cluster was scrapped in favor of a direct-fit VHX-88C-PU system with black alloy face styling. This package brings modern technology to the truck while seamlessly integrating with the new LS power underhood. With the dash apart, Travis dyed all of the stock plastics black and detailed the rest. The seat was rehabbed with a foam kit from Snowden Seats, giving new shape and comfort to the flat slab of a bench. Arizona-local Dominick handled the stitch work.
The 1988-98 body style is an affordable alternative to the 1947-87 GM pickups and their sky-high prices, and many think these “late models” are poised to take over the truck scene. Travis is helping lead the way and with trucks like this hitting the road every day, it’s hard to deny the appeal. No doubt Travis has been enjoying his new ride, living some childhood fantasies of having this truck in his own driveway after all these years, though knowing Mr. D, it’s just a matter of time before “PRO OBS” gives way for the next hot hauler.