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1990 Chevy Pickup

This Slammed Bow Tie Recovered to Come Back Shining

Dan Sanchez
Apr 1, 2001
Photographers: jim aust
When it comes to truck customizing, there’s truth to the old saying that every cloud has a silver lining. More than one truck has been upgraded and customized to a show-winning appearance after it has recovered from a fender-wrinkling accident. Such is the case with Bryan Miller’s ’90 Chevy pickup. After it was damaged in a head-on collision, he says he had the repair shop fix it, and added a little extra.

The “extras” included adding a billet grille to the factory grille, along with a chromed and smoothed front bumper, which also incorporates a billet grille insert and foglights. The factory white paint was also reapplied to the front, but Bryan wanted some flare to set his truck apart from the norm. Thus, a tribal-flame graphic was added in blue and silver by Modern Image in Huntington Beach, California.

One of the more noticeable changes to Bryan’s truck is its lowered stance, which can only be achieved with the use of an air spring suspension. A set of Firestone air springs was added to both the front and rear suspension, allowing Bryan to cruise his truck reliably and lay it down while displaying it at shows. The modification required removing the coil springs up front and installing the bags, along with Belltech 2-inch dropped spindles. A set of Doetsch Tech Nitro-Slammer short shocks was added, as the front suspension was dropped a total of 7 inches. At the rear, a DJM- supplied suspension system included a four-link with an air spring that replaces the factory leaf springs. This amount of lowering (8 inches to be exact) requires C-notching the area above the axle for added clearance. This was done by Sport Truck Specialties in Carson, California, which ended up giving Bryan’s truck plenty of operating room to dramatically lower the rear.

The air spring system uses two compressors and an 8-gallon tank, along with a set of fast, manual valves. The result is the ability for Bryan to quickly raise and lower the truck without having to wait several minutes before attempting to repeat the performance. The finishing touch for the suspension and the slammed-down stance is a set of 17-inch Center Line Saber aluminum wheels mounted on pairs of Falken 234/45 and 245/45R17 tires. Although one might think that this truck is purely set up for up and down maneuvers, Bryan would beg to differ. Bryan knows the pleasures of horsepower and added some performance aftermarket components to the truck’s 5.7L V-8 powerplant. A K&N air filter ensures that the small-block can take in a large gulp of air, while a set of Flowmaster mufflers and a 3-inch-diameter exhaust system let the engine complete its improved breathing characteristics.

In addition, Bryan added an intake power tube and a Hypertech Stage-2 performance chip. Aside from the horsepower components, the engine compartment was also dressed with appropriate chromed fixtures. These include a chromed alternator, hood hinges, air cleaner, pulleys, and other items that are also accented with blue hose covers and wire looms. The 700R4 automatic transmission is more than adequate to handle the estimated 300 hp, but Bryan decided to add a B&M shift improvement kit that adds a firmer shift to the truck’s performance.

Although Bryan claims that the interior of his truck was the easiest to upgrade, it is definitely more detailed than the exterior. The factory bench seat was reupholstered in blue and white vinyl, while a plush white Mercedes carpet was added to the floor with matching door panels. LB Custom Auto Upholstery in Santa Fe Springs, California, was responsible for the work, but Bryan had more plans for this area of the truck. A Billet Specialties “Psycho” steering wheel and lots of billet dash enhancement items were also added to make this interior shine.

It’s hard to imagine that this truck is over a decade old, but with the amount of aftermarket accessories available for these vehicles, trucks like Bryan’s continue to give other enthusiasts ideas in making their own ultimate sport truck.


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