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  • Letters to the Editor - Mail Truck - May 2008

Letters to the Editor - Mail Truck - May 2008

Your Letters

Bruce Caldwell
May 1, 2008
Contributors: Mike Finnegan
Photographers: Charlie Hayward
Zoom Zoom
I know you've addressed questions about adding Funny Car or drag-racing styling cues to trucks before, but have you ever covered exhaust systems? I've got a '72 Chevy C10 longbed pickup that's a little rough around the edges. I've also got a 468ci big-block with a 6-71 blower that I previously had in a Pro Street Camaro. The Camaro was rear-ended at a stoplight. The damage was so extensive that the car had to be scrapped. I bought the salvage rights back from my insurance company so I could keep as many good parts as possible.
What I decided to do was temporarily put as many parts as possible on my '72 shop truck. I hope to find another Camaro, so I don't want to spend much money on the truck's so-so body. For that reason, I've decided to try for a rough-around-the-edges, bad-boy race-truck look. The truck is various colors but mostly black primer.
I got the nose good and low by using the Camaro's front suspension, which was set up for the blown big-block. I tubbed the rear wheels after I replaced the damaged Camaro parts.
I plan to run the truck with the hood off to show off the engine. My question is about running Funny Car-style zoomie headers on the street. I saw some old street freaks in Car Craft a million years ago with zoomie headers, so I know it can be done.
This truck will surely attract lots of attention, so I'd like to be as close to legal as possible. What can I do as far as mufflers? How did those old street freaks do it? I'd appreciate any help you can provide.
John Barry
via e-mail
We vaguely remember some of those old street freaks. They caused quite a sensation in their day (and would surely do so today). We saw an Opel GT with a flip-up body at an early Street Machine Nationals. We think it had a blown early Hemi and ran on alcohol. Supposedly, there were some motorcycle baffles in each zoomie tube, but more likely the guy was just taking his chances running a race car on the street. We also remember a '68-'72 Nova with a stretched nose and zoomie headers, but we couldn't find any of those cars in our old magazines.
You could try baffles in each tube, but we seriously doubt that they would get you off an equipment-violation ticket. But if you want to get the insert-style mufflers that are available for zoomies, give Rewarder Custom Headers a call. The company offers a set of mufflers for $195 that will quiet down the exhaust somewhat (although not to a legal, 90dB level). You can reach Rewarder at or (805) 445-1015.
I Want That!
In your March '08 issue on page 42 you have a picture of Kevin Crouch's '97 Chevy. In an accompanying photo you show two items that he won: Superlift's Season VI Off-Road Adventures DVD and a piston-shaped coffee mug. Who sells this mug? I think this is pretty cool and would very much like to have one. I subscribe to Sport Truck and look forward to it every month. Keep up the good work.
J. Abbott
Lakeland, Florida
Want to cut your prime rib steak with an open-end wrench or a pair of chrome-plated pliers? Wrenchware ( has what you need. That piston coffee cup is rad, but we've got our eyes on the tire bowl for eatin' cereal.
Photo 2/5   |   mail Truck 1972 Chevy C10
Photo 3/5   |   mail Truck piston Shaped Coffee Mug
Explosive Idea
I'm building an '85 Chevy Stepside. It's going to be 'bagged and body-dropped. As a result, the rear suspension will protrude above the original wooden bed slats. Rather than just cut out a section for clearance, I'd like to do something more visually interesting.
I've seen trucks with metal beds where they built a rearend cover and then airbrushed it to look like metal that's been ripped apart. I'd like to do something along those lines but in wood, and I'd like to make it more exciting. I was hoping you might be able to share some ideas and suggestions. I appreciate your help.
Bob McNichols
via e-mail
Why not make the rearend look like it's blown a hole through the bed? We saw a truck with a jagged wooden bed at the recent SEMA Show, but we think the concept could be taken even further. We assume that somewhere on the truck you're going to have some air tanks, so why not paint them to look like bombs?
Whether you want to use your original wood boards or start with new ones, they'll need to be cut in a random, jagged manner with a saw. We'd get a new pine bed kit because pine is easier to work with. By using new wood, it would be easier to make it looked charred and burned. You could get this effect with paint or take a little propane torch (with the boards out of the truck) and actually burn the ends of the boards. If you go this route, you should spray the boards with clear to keep the look intact.
Mount two or three small-diameter reserve air tanks in front of the rearend. Slant them up toward the crossmember. Consider mounting the tanks slightly askew (or not, that might look odd). Do some research to see what old military bombs looked like (stenciled lettering, etc.) and paint the tanks accordingly. Maybe add some stabilizer fins or whatever to make the tanks look like bombs.
A great side benefit to the "bomb" air tanks is that you can use them as an excuse for why you can't take friends to the airport ("I'm sorry I can't take you-I'm just not in the mood to get arrested").
To further the whole explosion effect, get some red and orange LED kits that people use to illuminate truck frames. We've also seen LED kits that look like small flames. They were meant to go behind grilles, but you could place a set on each framerail. If you really want to take the LED thing to the limit, get a set with a remote control kit so the "fire" looks like it's active.
Photo 4/5   |   mail Truck 1985 Chevy Stepside
Route '66
I saw a '90s-era Tahoe on the freeway that had a '65-'66 Chevy C10 nose on it. I almost hurt my neck looking at it. It looked like a factory fit. Can you tell me how they did that?
I'd like to put a '66 nose on my '96 Silverado if it's easy enough to do. How would I make the old parts line up with the newer truck? Does anyone make all the necessary body parts, fenders, hood, grille, bumper, etc. so I wouldn't have to find a donor truck?
I had a '66 Chevy Stepside when I was in high school. I always loved the way it looked, but you can't beat all the modern conveniences and comfort of my '96 Chevy. So if I could have the classic look on my newer truck, I'd be thrilled. I hope you can help me.
Gary Geddins
via e-mail
You probably saw a Tahoe with an Innovation Retrokit, which is made by Innovation Mold & Design ( Companies such as Stylin' Trucks, [(800) 863-1233,] carry the kits.
These clever kits are fiberglass and are bonded to the underlying truck with industrial-strength adhesives. The claimed installation time is 20 hours, which doesn't include paint and bodywork.
The kits fit '88-'98 Chevy/GMC C/K series trucks, so they would also fit a Tahoe or Suburban. The kits are available in either full kits or front-clip kits.
If you'd like to see what's involved if you wanted to attach an actual metal '66 nose, refer to Sport Truck's Feb. '08 issue on page 100. Chris Redmond sent us construction shots of him adapting a metal '68 C10 front clip to his '00 Silverado. It turned out great, but a lot of welding and bodywork was required.
'Bag a sub'
First off, let me say that your magazine is really cool. I am looking to buy a '73-'87 Chevy Suburban and I wanted to know if there is a bolt-on air-ride system for this truck? Can you tell me what I would have to do to put it on the ground?
Michael Martin
via e-mail
Air Ride Technologies offers kits for '73-'87 Chevy C10 trucks and Suburbans, which share the same suspension components. Suburbans and the same vintage Chevy 1/2-ton trucks are identical from the firewall forward, so there shouldn't be any problem with the front suspension. As for the rear suspension, we suspect there might be clearance issues with the gas tank.
When you get your truck, you should call the tech department of the company whose airbags you plan to purchase. They should be able to help you find the components to drop the rear of your Suburban. It might not be a bolt-on kit, but you can put any truck on the ground if you try hard enough.
Photo 5/5   |   mail Truck 2004 Dodge 2WD
On The Level
I have an '04 Dodge 2WD extended-cab pickup. I would like to level out the ride on my truck. My problem is I am not sure whether to use raised spindles or coil springs. My question is what are the advantages and disadvantages of each method?
Juan Martinez
via e-mail
If you just want to lower the rear of your truck to level it out, you can do that with a set of lowering shackles. If you want to lower the front of the truck, you can use spindles and/or springs depending on just how low you want to go.
If you have a 4x4, then you could lift the front of your truck using ReadyLift [(800) 549-4620,] aftermarket torsion keys, which cost about 200 bucks. Or if you've got a two-wheel-drive truck, you could use Daystar [(800) 595-7659,] 1.5-inch coil-spring spacers up front, which cost about 40 bucks.
Short Shocks
I have a '72 El Camino with a 4/6 drop. I need to replace the shocks but don't know where to go to find the right shock for the adjusted suspension. Can you help?
John Weidenhamer
via e-mail
The Original Parts Group (OPG) [5252 Bolsa Ave., Huntington Beach, CA 92649, (714) 230-6000, (800) 243-8355,] carries KYB gas shocks for lowered early El Caminos.
Got Something To Say?
E-mail your letters to, or send them to:
Sport Truck Mail, 2400 E. Katella Ave., Ste. 700, Anaheim, CA 92806.



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