Somewhere down the line, Jason Berland's family must have heard the Hank Williams Jr. song "Family Tradition" and decided they would start a tradition all their own. You see, when Jason's older brother began sneaking up on the age where freedom is displayed with a key ring, the family got him a Chevelle they built as a father/son project. Lurking in the shadows of the build was Jason, who was also approaching the ripe old age of 16, which means he was next on the list for the father/son build. However, Jason envisioned his project more along the lines of a '67-72 Chevy truck.
A year away from the big 16, Jason hit the papers and swap meets in the Arizona area. The plan of action called for a '67-72 Chevy Fleetside shortbed, but he soon found out the demand far exceeded the supply for that style of truck. As it turned out, Jason and his dad found a killer deal on a '72 Stepside and couldn't pass on it, but even then the plan was to swap the Stepside's bed for a Fleetside down the road. Yet at that time, all Jason wanted to do was get started on the truck.
Once back at home, Jason's family tradition got underway. They started underneath the Chevy's exterior by tearing the entire chassis apart. Once apart, everything was stripped down to the bare metal and painted for a clean, new look. As for the front end, they replaced the bushings, tie rods, ball joints, and more. Then they reinstalled the arms, but this time the truck would be complete with Early Classic 2 1/2-inch drop spindles, 1 1/2-inch Early Classic drop springs, and KYB GRZ drop shocks. In the back, the rearend housing was outfitted with '78 Cadillac Seville disc brakes and Early Classic 5-inch drop springs.
So far, the easy work was done, but now it was time for the real engineering to take place. Jason wanted to run a late-model drivetrain in the truck, so they pirated an LS1, along with the 4L60E tranny, from a '99 Camaro. To drop the LS1 and 4L60E in between the framerails, the Berlands had to do a number of modifications. They also used the gas tank from the Camaro, which was mounted backward between the framerails. For the air induction to the motor, they used an LT1 air duct elbow with a K&N LT1 cold air induction kit.
The interior is a complete one-off, including Silverado seats, a Trans Am bezel, and a cus
The door panels are from a '96 Silverado. They were hacked and whacked to fit the '72 door
Next up was the exterior. Although Jason had always planned on ditching the Stepside's bed, the more Stepsides he saw, the more his imagination ran wild, so he decided to go against the grain and keep the Stepside bed. However, a few things would have to be changed. For starters, the bed stake pockets had to go. Along with that, the bedrails were smoothed, and the tailgate chains were ditched for some custom latches. Because the gas tank was relocated, the cab's filler neck was hacked off, and a '99 Cadillac DeVille electronic flush-mount gas filler door was set into the passenger-side rear fender. Jason also ditched the stock taillights for a set of '38 Ford teardrop lenses. On the doors, the two-piece windows were ditched for Brothers one-piece windows, and the handles were replaced with 2000 Corvette handles. Jason and his dad also replaced the cab corners, floorboards, and rocker panels due to rust. Up front, the grille was replaced with a billet grille insert. Behind the grille sits Corvette backup lights that were transformed into daytime running lights and turn signals. Lastly, the truck was taken to Henry's Restorations in Mesa, Arizona, where he sprayed the truck in Lexus IS300 Intense Blue Pearl. Back at home, the Berlands laid in the oak bed floor.
The last step was to finish the interior, but Jason wanted to keep the late-model theme going in there as well. To accomplish that, they fabbed an entire one-off dash from sheetmetal around a custom billet glovebox, a sectioned '99 Trans Am bezel, and '99 Camaro gauges. For seats, Jason came across a set from a 2000 Silverado, and the carpet comes from a Mercedes. For door panels, Jason and his dad trimmed up a set from a '96 Silverado to fit the '72 door. They also used the Camaro tilt steering column, which still lets them use the creature comforts such as auto-dimming lights and accessory power after the key has been turned off. Lastly, the truck was taken to 1st Upholstery in Tempe, Arizona, where they stitched the interior in gray leather with a suede headliner.
We don't know about you, but we here at CCT wish we had a family tradition like this.