1979 Chevrolet 1/2-Ton Stepside Project, Part I
An Older Truck With a New Feel
Sport trucks come in all shapes and sizes, and no one thing differentiates a modern 1988-to-current fullsize sport truck from earlier 1967-1987 trucks. With the escalating prices of brand-new sport trucks, more and more sport truck enthusiasts are turning to older, used trucks and applying modern truck tricks to them. The ultra-affordable price of most older trucks, particularly 1973-1987 Chevys, and the abundance of available OEM or new old stock (N.O.S.) parts make these trucks great platforms for building really cool sport trucks. A great example is the 1979 Chevy 1/2-ton Stepside we’ve affectionately dubbed Operation Retro Ride.
This truck will be transformed from a dilapidated hunk o' metal into a restofied sport truck using the same modern-day truck tricks currently applied to later models. By taking advantage of the array of aftermarket parts available for older trucks, we'll turn Operation Retro Ride into a truly cool sport truck. California Street Rods (CSR) will be handling the majority of this buildup, and we'll follow along each and every month until Operation Retro Ride has overcome every obstacle to become a true road terror. Modern sport trucks already have nice factory paint jobs--they just need a little cosmetic enhancement--so people often add graphics to make their trucks stand out from the crowd. However, the paint on older trucks is usually dull and faded from age, warranting a new paint job. On the other hand, older trucks usually have decent sheetmetal that doesn't take much to be whipped into shape.
The suspension mods made to today's sport trucks can be performed using mail-order lowering kits and the latest beefy billet wheels and tires. But older trucks usually need to have the entire front suspension rebuilt with new factory rubber or upgraded with polyurethane suspension components. Then the same lowering principles that apply to modern trucks come into play. A slammed suspension is the key for both modern and older sport trucks.
Other modern tweaks commonly found on older trucks these days are conveniences such as air conditioning and power windows, locks, brakes, and steering. Most of the time, these pieces just need a little T.L.C. to return to optimal working state. Fortunately for us, our older Chevy had several of these items.
With all this in mind, the project is to make our truck a showpiece ride that maintains its practical nature. We plan on dumping this bad-boy several inches, but not so low as to scrape the road reflectors off the highway. The interior will be given a more contemporary sport truckesque feel, but not one so complicated that the average sport truck builder can't emulate it. Follow along as we get into the tearing down of Operation Retro Ride to see which parts and pieces need replacing and which parts just need to be spray-can detailed.
Golden State Pickup PartsSanta Fe Springs, CA
Seatz Mfg.Anaheim, CA