1990 Chevy 454 SS - Black Beauty
Frame-Off 454 SS
We have all heard the term frame-off used to describe a classic truck that was restored, or a late-model that was completely torn apart to build an insane show truck. When visiting shows, we love to see both sides of the spectrum, but Alan Beers' frame-off '90 454SS falls right in the middle. If you took a look at the truck from a few yards away, nothing appears out of the ordinary. It looks like a brand-new truck, coated in a gorgeous, deep black paintjob, which is certainly out of the ordinary for an 18-year-old truck; but it's the details on this truck that truly make it special. Alan purchased this '90 454SS via the internet, sight unseen. It had only 11,000 original miles on it, but had been sitting for two years, so it needed a lot of "refreshing," as Alan put it. Rather than go at the truck a bit at a time, Alan decided to go all out and pull the body of the truck off and address everything.
Jason and Jim Smith at the Hot Rod Garage in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, took on all of the underhood details-an area where this truck really shines. They built the new inner fender panels, which bear painted 454SS logos, and are as smooth as the exterior paint. The 454ci V-8 is stock internally, but an Edelbrock intake and Hooker headers allow for much better breathing through the stock heads, and an electric fan helps reduce parasitic loss. The real secret to opening up the engine was a custom tune by Ed Wright Automotive in Tulsa, where a lot of hidden horsepower was unleashed. Now, the truck puts out 375 hp and much more torque, but it's just as fun to look at as it is to rev up. The guys at Hot Rod Garage were also responsible for the custom radiator hoses, chromed GM Performance Parts valve covers, polished Edelbrock intake, and the Vintage Air Front Runner accessory drive system, all of which have helped Alan to win Best Engine honors at shows.
One aspect of this truck which is much improved is the interior. Chuck Rowland from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, gutted the factory interior-which was not one of its strong points-and worked from the floor up on a fully custom interior. About the only factory pieces you'll find are the gauge cluster and the steering column, which were painted red to match the yards of Lipstick Red Ultra leather and red suede that would be used to cover the custom bucket seats and headliner, respectively. The entire interior was modeled after Chevrolet's Bel Air concept from 2002. This meant that a new dash and door panels were in order, so Chuck used fiberglass over a wood skeleton to sculpt the curving dash, door panels, and center console.
The smooth interior look was continued by mounting power window and lock buttons under the dash and by ditching the factory steering wheel for a Billet Specialties Rival wheel. The dash is uninterrupted, save for the head unit, three chromed Vintage Air vents, and their compact control unit. The head unit, in particular, is from Kenwood and is mounted front and center for easy access. The new center console gave Robert Cowden of Tulsa plenty of room to mount the Kenwood subwoofer between the seats, and the JBL amps were mounted behind the seats.
Justin and Jim Wallace from Tulsa used Belltech drop spindles and coil springs to lower the front suspension 4 inches, and a flip kit with a C-notch and stock springs to drop the 14-bolt rear 6 inches. With the truck settled, 20x8.5-inch Billet Specialties wheels were bolted onto each corner, while 245/40R20 BFG rubber was mounted onto the front and matching 275/35R20s were mounted onto the rear. The new wheels allow plenty of brake to show through the spokes, so Alan went with a front and rear disc upgrade from SSBC brakes, complete with stainless steel lines.
Finally, Legends in Glenpool took the body and shaved all of the bits that weren't necessary. He said goodbye to the tailgate handle, cargo light, stake pockets, and antenna. They also welded in the seams on the cab for an even smoother look. The final step was spraying the truck with PPG Jet Black and adding painted-on 454SS emblems on each side of the truck.
Not much can top a good, black paintjob, and Alan does his best to keep it looking in top shape. Keep an eye out for this truck, as Alan will be showing it again this show season. We hope he puts a lot more miles on the odometer and really enjoys his black beauty.