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  • 1989 Chevy Silverado - Project CheapSide Part 1

1989 Chevy Silverado - Project CheapSide Part 1

Stylin' With Project CheapSide

Arvid Svendsen
Apr 6, 2009
Photographers: Arvid Svendsen
Photo 2/35   |   1989 Chevy Silverado Project front
Muscle cars are more my speed. I've grown up with them, owned them, and gone to muscle car shows most of my life. However, I can't really afford owning one right now... three kids in college and some medical challenges make spending a continual exercise in frugality and common sense purchases. However, I'm learning that trucks are affordable, fun, and most notably, cheap.
I really wasn't looking for a truck. But, my buddy Rob calls me and says, "Arvid, do you want to buy my truck? I need to sell it, and I would sell it to you for $1500." Now, let me put this 1989 Silverado in perspective. The Standard Cab Sportside, though it had 225,000 miles on it at the time, had spent all of its life in Atlanta, and most of its life in a garage. It had never seen salt, and was completely rust free. The truck sported new paint, a Carolina Machine Engines 350ci TBI engine with 15,000 miles on it, a 700R4 trans with about 50,000 miles, 2.73 open rear, and some nice factory options.
Photo 3/35   |   Toby Ristau from Stylin' Trucks helped me load parts into my truck on a rainy Illinois afternoon. Service and packaging from Stylin' Trucks is excellent, these guys know there stuff.
My initial response was to jump all over the deal, but not wanting to blow this purchase, I did the right thing to tell Rob I would check with my wife, and get back to him. Three hours after the original call, Rob calls me back and says, "Arvid, I've been talking it over with my wife, and we want to sell you the truck for $750." He explained that it had a couple of problems with stalling, and cutting out while driving down the road, and he wanted to make sure he could cover for any mechanical repairs necessary.
A quick conversation with my lovely bride, and I called Rob with a quick "yes" and shortly thereafter, headed to Atlanta. After spending a great day with my buddy and taking some pics of his NHRA Stock Eliminator 1967 Mustang, I headed out in my new truck. I had already made an appointment at another friends Goodyear shop in Woodstock, Georgia, so I headed over to him to help with the cutting out issues. Yes, indeed, it stalled at idle, but of more concern, it would cut out completely while running down the road. The guys at the Goodyear Shop in Woodstock did a great job getting the truck back in shape. After the repair, I headed on down the road. On one tank of gas, I got 23.7 mpg while driving home. Decent for a TBI 350ci, yes?
Obviously, Rob was selling the truck for easily half its worth because we were buddies. But here's my point with building a cheap, way cool, street truck... am I the only guy on the planet that knows someone who wants to unload a truck that's not running right? I think not. These mid 90's trucks are selling for around three grand, and if you get a Chevy, a '96 to '99 truck gets you Vortec heads, some of the best flowing factory heads Chevy ever produced! The truck drives great, looks good, and has a ton of potential. The wheels were turning as I drove it back from Atlanta. When I finally got the truck home, I made a few calls to Stylin' Trucks for some parts, and the update began.
It's time for a grassroots, do-it-yourself kind of project like my '89 SportSide. Hence, welcome to Project CheapSide. The goal of Project CheapSide will be to perform inexpensive and relatively simple improvements and modifications resulting in a fairly quick street truck. Stylin' Trucks is helping me with the project, but I will list prices that you will be able to purchase most parts. I'm going to use every trick in the book ... used parts, favors, and the car buddy labor exchange program, to keep this thing, cheap. Plans include a 3/4 drop, some mechanical improvements to get deep into the 14's, and optimum tuning for maximum fuel efficiency. This street/strip truck will be a simple attempt at building the ultimate sleeper on the cheap side.
How Much?
Including the initial cost of the truck, which is admittedly low, I've got about $2,500 in the truck as it sits with the external cleanup. Speaking of "as it sits", it does not do that well. A moderate drop is sorely needed. There are people out there who are looking to unload vehicles, and these trucks are bargains as it is. Hunt around, find one that's sitting, spend wisely, and build it on the cheap side.

Cost of the Truck (I can prove it!) $750
Major Tuneup, Ignition Parts, Balance and Reverse White Letters: $560

Stylin Trucks Items:
Fender (my stupid mistake): $ 90
Bumper with Lights: $266
Bumper Filler Panel: $10
'94-'98 Grille: $91
Composite Headlights (two): $122
Parking Lights (two): $72
Bow Tie Emblem: $30
Bumper Brackets (four): $62
Sir Michael Metal Rollpan: $222
Delphi Fuel Pump: $58
Starter: $42
Body Shop Work (Materials only, Labor exchanged): $200

TOTAL SPENT: $2,575.00
Photo 32/35   |   1989 Chevy Silverado Project wheels

Project CheapSide hits Test and Tune at Route 66 Raceway

To brighten up the rims, I removed the plastic black centers, and applied aluminum rim cleaner. Check out the great Rt. 66 Motorsports fitment and paint match of the door and fender as I'm fueling up headed for Test and Tune at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, IL.


Route 66 Motorsports
New Lenox, IL 60451
Stylin' Trucks
Independence, OH 44131


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