1979 Pro Street Chevy Truck - Lemon Sweet

Chris & Bruce Eshelman's '79 Chevy Pro-Street Pickup

D. Brian Smith
Feb 1, 2004
Photographers: Travis Noack
Photo 2/2   |   1979 Pro Street Chevy Pickup front Side View
Often times, pickup projects are father-son projects. We're not imparting any great discovery to fans of four-wheeled, combustion-powered finery with this observation. The nature of our great hobby supports the notion that fathers can mentor their sons and help them build hobby haulers that become show-'n'-shine stars, or street-cruising machines that are the envy of many a gearhead.
Such is the case with Chris Eshelman's '79 Pro-Street Chevy 1/2-ton hot rod. Chris and his dad, Bruce, had a head start on the project, since Bruce owns Esh's Enterprises, a well-regarded automotive body shop and restoration business in Tomball, Texas.
The elder Eshelman has built far too many rides not to start with the foundation. Since Chris wanted a pavement-hugging stance, he and Bruce C-notched the frame 8 inches, and used Belltech 3-inch drop spindles and Firestone airbags on the nose, in combination with Pro Shocks in every corner. The rear 15x7-inch Weld aluminum wheels are covered with 29.5x18.5x15 Mickey Thompson Pro Street meats, while the front 15x14-inch Welds are coated with 26x8.5x15 Mickey Thompsons. Stock disc front brakes and drums formed the basis for synapse-swift stopping power. A Eubber 20-gallon aluminum fuel cell was installed in the bed. The duo used neoprene suspension bushings and finished off the chassis by painting it gloss black.
Chris and Bruce skipped over the engine bay, since Chris had not sourced a motor to build yet, in favor of customizing the exterior. Chris bought a '90 Suburban grille shell, headlights, and fenders, and selected a '98 Chevy truck bumper to protect the new nose. They removed all the emblems, door gutters, door and tailgate handles, roof seams, smoothed the firewall, modified the bed panels and tailgate, and installed a custom-made metal roll pan with billet taillights. After Bruce artfully applied the PPG '02 Chevy Truck Yellow paintwork, Chris installed the billet mirrors.
The clever custom work didn't stop on the outside. Chris sourced a '98 Chevy dualie dashboard for the interior. Esh's Enterprises custom-covered the stock seats in black leather upholstery and stitched the headliner with the same material to match. Basic black also worked well for the wool carpet on the floor. The elements combined to make a unique interior in this soon-to-be-ground-shaking '79 included embossed flames in the black leather door panels, one-off kick panels, a custom billet aluminum console with billet accents, a billet shifter and pedals, all topped off by a Billet Specialties leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Since the Chevy was being built alongside an '85 Chevy S-10 Blazer show truck, rather than have two unfinished vehicles, Bruce and son stole the Blazer's '77 350ci mill for fitment in the '79. The Chevy engine was professionally rebuilt, balanced, and blueprinted by the crew at Bellaire Industries, in Houston. They ported, polished, and deburred the heads, before covering them with Summit Racing billet aluminum valve covers, and installed a 6-71 B&M supercharger that pumps up the volume to the tune of 10 pounds of boost. Advanced Adapters headers and 2-1/2-inch exhaust pipes, all Jet-Hot-coated, were attached to effectively disperse the spent gases back to some rumbly, sweet-sounding Flowmaster mufflers. Transferring the estimated 450 horses back to the narrowed 12-inch Chevy 12-bolt differential was accomplished by installing a B&M Shift Improver Kit-enhanced 400 automatic transmission to a shortened driveshaft and eventually to the aforementioned Pro-Streeted pumpkin. An ACDelco HEI distributor, in addition to relocating an ACDelco battery to the bed, provided reliable electricity to the truck.
As testament to the elder Eshelman's teaching talent, the father-son team finished the brilliant-yellow Pro-Street ride in just one year's time. Since then, the truck has won several Best Motor awards as well as Pro-Street top-place trophies at events such as the Houston Autorama, Heatwave, and Lowdown Showdown. Chris and Bruce's craftsmanship and attention to detail are all too evident to every custom truck fan who has the opportunity to see, learn, and read about Chris' '79 Chevy truck. Watch for Chris' Pro-Street pickup at show 'n' shines throughout the Southeast. Believe us, the Chevy looks even better in person than it does in pictures.
- OF



Nissan Titan XD Walkaround

Subscribe Today and Save up to 83%!

Subscribe Truck Trend Magazine

Subscribe to:

Truck Trend

Subscribe Diesel Power Magazine

Subscribe to:

Diesel Power

Subscribe Truckin Magazine

Subscribe to: