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  • Busted Knuckles: 1991 Chevy Silverado- Skin Deep

Busted Knuckles: 1991 Chevy Silverado- Skin Deep

More Than Meets the Eye

Phil Gordon
Mar 12, 2019
Photographers: Phil Gordon
The saying “beauty is only skin deep” is true for most aspects of the world. In the age of social media, when everything is judged by the exterior and appreciated for what is seen, it’s good to have someone like Erik Berthelot around to show us differently. An employee at NFamus in Mansfield, Texas, Erik was taught how to build a truck from the ground up by sheetmetal experts Keith, Marcos, and Neil. The experience he received there is invaluable, and when it came time to demonstrate his newly gained talents, he began searching for the right canvas.
Photo 2/5   |   Busted Knuckles 1991 Chevy Silverado Skin Deep Rear
“I already had my mind set on building an ’88-to-’98–style truck,” Erik tells Truckin. “So I began the search.” He had already designed the frame in AutoCAD, and then he found the truck on a social media site in Oklahoma City. The truck had been stolen and was in the process of being stripped when it was recovered. Erik made an offer and quickly took possession. The ’91 Chevy Silverado had no motor or transmission and the interior had been stripped. The seats were gone and the dash was completely trashed, with wires everywhere. With every single problem the truck exhibited, Erik still had a vision, and nothing could deter him from seeing it through.
Photo 3/5   |   Busted Knuckles 1991 Chevy Silverado Skin Deep Engine
Erik hauled the dilapidated jalopy home and started taking the measurements he needed, such as wheelbase and track width. He knew he wanted to run 24-inch wheels, so he drew up the front suspension, which allowed him to test it out before cutting anything. For the rear end, Erik calculated what size tire he was going to run and got the measurement needed to kick the frame up high enough to clear. After drawing the rails of the frame up, he cut them on the plasma table and bolted them together. From there, Erik moved on to fabricating the front and rear suspension. He went into Nfamus and built the rolling chassis. Erik made his air compressor mounts and added some tube bracing where it was needed. He fabricated the rear section that would eventually hold the fuel cell.
Photo 4/5   |   Busted Knuckles 1991 Chevy Silverado Skin Deep Bed
After squaring the cab to the frame, Erick fabricated the cab mounts and got them in place. The next step was getting rid of that ugly firewall and tubbing it to clear the wheels. At that point, he got the motor mocked up and mounts made for the motor and transmission crossmember. That process snowballed into all the sheetmetal work you see in the Silverado today.
Erik left NFamus and moved to Duncan, Oklahoma, where he is currently a welder at a production shop. He owes his talents and knowledge to his great friends and mentors at Nfamus, including Keith, Neal, and Marcos. Erik wishes to thank his brothers from a different mother, Bryan, Nick, and their dad Gene for all their guidance and help throughout the years. He also wishes to thank Brandon Morris for hauling the truck around to shows while in the build process. Erik knows he still has a long way to go to finish his project, but he wants to make sure everyone know it’s not about the beauty on the outside—it’s the technique and quality inside that makes the outside that much nicer.
Photo 5/5   |   Busted Knuckles 1991 Chevy Silverado Skin Deep Interior

Inside the Build

Year/Make/Model: ’91 Chevy Silverado
Owner and City/State: Erik Berthelot; Duncan, Oklahoma
Club Affiliation: Social Rejects
Chassis:
Custom one-off tube chassis
Front Suspension: Custom tubular control arms, Slam Specialties RE7 bags, custom upper bag cup setup built into frame
Rear Suspension: Custom-built, wishbone three-link setup, Slam Specialties RE6 bags
Drivetrain:
Engine: Rebuilt 5.3L from an ’03 Chevy, Brian Tooley racing Stage 3 truck cam, sheetmetal intake on top, complete custom air intake setup with dual air filter boxes built by owner
Transmission: Rebuilt 4l60e
Rearend: Narrowed 4½ inches on each side
Body/Paint: Custom sheetmetal work, sheetmetal firewall with factory A/C and wheel tubs, sheetmetal bed, bed floor formed to flow with rear of frame
Interior: Custom sheetmetal transmission hump and driveshaft tunnel
Wheels & Tires:
Wheels: 24x8.5, 24x10; Raceline Deceptive 5, brushed
Tires: 255/30R24, 275/30R24; Nexen tires

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