Step Back in Time - 1992 Chevy C3500 Dually
A Vintage Look with a Modern Twist
When your personal ride is a multi-year build that combines automotive artwork with a glimpse into some of your favorite lifestyle elements, it becomes more than the sum of its parts. It creates a theme for your truck that makes it uniquely yours.
That was exactly the goal Jonathan Taylor had for his ’92 Chevy C3500 two-door extended-cab, longbed. Jonathan is the sales director for Vendable Systems in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and enjoys taking a break from the corporate world by building custom trucks. A staunch GM fan with an emphasis on Bow Ties, he has built five over the years. Although he began with minitrucks, it soon became apparent that family needs dictated something larger, so he began the search for a fullsize dualie. The local trader magazine advertised several, but they were either overpriced or badly damaged. Finally, he saw an ad for this ’92 Chevy, already bagged and body dropped, but with lots of dents, dings, and damaged rear fenders. The price was right, however, and he took it home.
The 3½-year build began with a trip to Meares Paint and Body in York, South Carolina. Jonathan sat down with Mark and Brian Meares along with Chris Alexander to work out a game plan for the truck’s new look. Like most of us, Jonathan wanted something different. He didn’t care for the current trend of huge wheels and crazy paint but was definitely intrigued by old-skool car culture. “I loved Von Dutch-style pinstriping, big white walls, and the rockabilly lifestyle I was reading about in magazines,” Jon told us. The Fabulous ’50s theme seemed like a natural extension, and the crew set to work, removing the bed and all body panels except for the cab. They installed the Caddy taillights; shaved the tailgate handle, antenna, and gas door; and reworked the rear dualie fenders. They recessed the headlights and installed a Goodmark cowl induction hood, phantom grille, and smooth front bumper with billet inserts.
Several upgrades had already been accomplished by the previous owner, Shane Craighead, beginning with a 4.5-inch body drop, C-notch, and four-link. The custom rear bridge and sea leg shocks are visible thanks to a hinged sheetmetal cover. Up front, tubular A-arms on top and modified factory lower arms drop the truck to the ground. Four 2,600-pound bags bring it back to ride height, thanks to a beltdriven York compressor and a pair of 5-gallon reserve tanks under the bed. With the body smooth and the engineering complete, Brian Meares finished the exterior, spraying just the right ’50s shade of SEM Hot Rod Black paint. Ron Fleenor from Fleaz Color Faktory in Rock Hill did the old-skool pinstriping, adding the Maltese cross to the tailgate and a flying eyeball to the hood. The truck rolls on 16x6-inch Alcoa rims wrapped in 215/65-16 vintage-looking Diamond Back whitewall radials.
During the time the truck was under construction, Jonathan was busy visiting swap meets and picking up specialty items, like the dash from a ’59 Impala, bucket seats from a ’64 Impala, an ididit chrome steering column, Dakota Digital gauges made for the Impala dash, and Billet Specialties items that included a Classic steering wheel, A/C vents, and a pedal kit. Jon contacted Butch Cook at Vintage Cars, Inc. in Fort Mill when it was time for the interior makeover. Butch and the guys installed the unique dash and the rest of the upgrades then formed the center console from sheetmetal and the door panels from fiberglass. Chevrolet window switches in the center console activate the windows, door locks, power sunroof, and the air suspension. While Butch was spraying all the new interior additions with Jaguar Antigua Blue, Eddy K, the upholstery guy at Vintage, was recovering the Impala seats and the stock rear bench seat to mimic ’50s upholstery styles.
At this point, the serious list of upgrades would have been enough for most drivers, but Jonathan had one more element in mind. Audiomasters in Pineville, North Carolina, orchestrated the elaborate stereo system, beginning with the Pioneer FH-P8000BT double-DIN head unit with CD, Bluetooth, and iPod capabilities. It controls the 1,100-watt Memphis five-channel amp mounted behind the rear seat. Designed to power an entire car audio system, the M-Class Hybrid combines a Class D and Class AB in one, beginning the process by energizing the four 10-inch subs mounted in a custom speaker enclosure located beneath the rear seat cushion. It also sends a signal to the pair of Memphis 6.5-inch component sets in each door, the 4x6 mids in the rear quarter panels, and the tweeters installed in the A-pillars. A pair of Kinetik 1800 power cells provides optimum juice for the entire system. As it turns out, the compact backseat, with its unique enclosure, is perfect for four-year-old Jenna Belle and seven-year-old Jon Jacob who especially like it when Dad turns up the bass!
Three years and five months after being bought, the truck was finally complete, with Jonathan and his family using it for shows and cruise-ins at every opportunity. Jonathan sends special thanks to his wife, Jennifer, and the kids for their patience throughout the build, as well as Mark Meares, Butch Cook, Ron Fleenor, Eric Harbour, Rick Wright, Kye Gallman, Mark Worrell, Eddy K, and Bill Chapman.