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1979 Chevrolet LUV - Junkyard Jewel

Mini Truckin's Final Project Lives

Grant Cox
Apr 29, 2015
Photographers: Grant Cox
JD Zajicek his first taste of the custom truck scene back in the seventh grade. A fellow classmate got his name in a gift exchange for Christmas. As he unwrapped the gift, he realized it was a copy of Truckin' magazine. Unbeknownst to him this would be the start of his obsession. To this day JD still remembers the C3500 Phantom dualie with white scallops on the cover.
Photo 2/7   |   1979 Chevrolet Luv Kp Concepts Rendering
Fast-forward to present day, and a '79 Chevy LUV that had been sitting out at his family farm for the past 20 years. This truck gave JD the dream to make it into a cool nostalgic ride. After chatting with his friends at Mini Truckin', ideas started to fly about tracking this build by doing tech articles, and soon the concept became reality. The idea was to perform a low-dollar build that an average person with common, everyday tools could build in their garage.
To make this project a budget-friendly build, parts and other items were traded to obtain the necessary items to lay the truck flat out. Only the major components like 'bags, valves, brakes, ball joints, and tie rods were purchased new. As time went on with the build, JD began to cherish the times spent out in his garage along with family and good friends.
Photo 3/7   |   1979 Chevrolet Luv Passenger Side Rear Quarter View
Besides getting to finally build his LUV, JD is happiest simply for getting the chance to give back to Mini Truckin' and do the tech articles that covered the build process, all of which can be checked out at www.minitruckin.com. JD thanks his wife Tam and his kids Alex and Samantha, along with Tracy, Mike, Sean, the Dropsicles family, and all of the project's sponsors that helped make the build possible. Putting one's self and work out there for all to see is a scary proposition, thankfully 99 percent of the feedback from the articles since the debut of the LUV have been nothing short of amazing and make that last 1 percent not matter!
Photo 4/7   |   1979 Chevrolet Luv Plaid Upholstery
Inside the Build
Year Make Model: 1979 Chevy LUV
Owner and City/State: JD Zajicek; Irricana, Canada
Club Affiliation: Dropsicles
Engine: Mitsubishi 2.6-liter, ported and polished cylinder head, 10:1 raised compression, balance shaft delete, PCV valve housing TIG welded up by Miller Fab and relocated, resealed, painted and detailed, thinned and rerouted wire harness, Wirez power wires and connectors, relocated Kinetik HC1800 power cell
Transmission: Five-speed, hydraulic clutch conversion, custom under dash bracket and 90-degree linkage (Magic Mike), thanks to Aaron White for the help with the driveshaft
Rearend: LUV rearend (yes, I do!)
Front suspension: Reworked upper control arms to tweak the ball joint angle, modified lower control arms to eliminate strut rods, Slam Specialties RE-6 'bags, custom 'bag brackets, boxed frame, KYB shocks
Rear suspension: Triangulated four-link, custom 'bag over bar 2x2 lower links from Zeebs Performance and Restoration with Slam Specialties RE-6 'bags, two Viair 380c compressors, KYB shocks
Brakes: New pads, rotors, calipers, wheel cylinders, brake shoes, drums, master cylinder and lines from www.rockauto.com
4.5-inch combination of stock floor and traditional body drop, channeled floor for framerails, raised transmission tunnel, early Chevy LUV lower front valance, rockers cut down 1.5 inches, swapped out damaged bedside, grille from California Minitruck Dismantlers, barn wood bed floor (Pops still hasn't seen the missing boards!), original paint, patina and rust that was earned, color matched the swapped out bed side, custom patina'd Candy Shop Customs logos striped on doors, taco on the window by Art by Butcher
Original bench, seat frame notched to clear driveshaft tunnel, reupholstered plaid, Aftermarket dash cover to hide original cracked dashpad, special thanks to Billy Bob customs, Ben, and the "network," new carpet from www.rockauto.com, custom panel for air gauges, Little Larry's fast manual valves in ashtray opening
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: 15x7 Nissan Pathfinder chromies
Tires: 245/35/20 Nitto NT 555