During the course of the last year or so, we have run a series of tech stories on John Barkley's '74 Stepside Chevy C-10. What started out as a straight-six, three-on-the-tree bone-stock farm truck is now a full-on street bruiser. With all-new suspension from Classic Performance Products and McGaughy's, a new tranny from TCI, wheels from Stockton Wheels, and, well, a whole lot more, this one-time hay hauler that wasn't worth a second look is now a representation of all that our hobby embodies: taking something that was meant for transportation, everyday use, and work, and turning it into a rolling piece of art.
But it's not the fact that John has transformed this truck that intrigues us. What really sets things off is that he has built an ideal street truck that blends both show and go, and the best part about it is this isn't a high-dollar hauler. In fact, the truck is a fairly cheap build. By John picking and choosing where to spend his money, he has created a solid truck, and by making the right choices, he doesn't worry about everyday use. Oftentimes this is what he drives day in and day out. By splurging in areas such as the drivetrain, but skimping in paint and body (the paint is from One Day Paint and Body), onecould say this truck is the quintessential build for any enthusiast who is looking for a cool, comfortable, good-handling, and most importantly, fun, driveable vintage cruiser.
To get a better feel for what John has done with his truck, we sat down and had a few words with him to get his take on the build. As a bonus, we also took the truck out to the track to get some basic slalom, skidpad, and braking numbers when the truck was bone stock, and then again in its completed form. So instead of John just speaking his mind through his seat-of-the-pants experiences, we actually have some cold hard numbers to show exactly what the aftermarket is capable of doing to one's ride. Here's John's opinion of why his truck drives, handles, and looks great:
"In terms of the motor, a Speed-O-Motive 355 short-block, I chose a few key components that stand out. I think the Edelbrock E-Tec heads are awesome. I chose the smaller 170s because I felt they were a better match for a street motor. For a 355 with a fairly aggressive camshaft (a Lunati 232-242 with 1.6 roller rockers), it still idles at 1,200 rpm with 12 inches of vacuum in neutral. In gear with the brakes applied, it idles at 800 rpm with 8 inches of vacuum, and cruising down the freeway at 70 mph, it pulls 14 inches.
Another thing is that I love Quadrajets. My years spent racing NHRA Stock and Super Stock cars showed me how well they work when set up correctly, so it was a no-brainer to go with a Quadrajet. The Carb Shop in Ontario, California, started in business as Quadrajet specialists, and I've been going to them for years, so when it came time to install one on my small-block, they set me up with one calibrated and dialed it in. The Edelbrock intake manifold, Hooker headers, and Hooker exhaust system aren't too shabby, either.
Between the various suspension modifications made to the '74, Barkley picked up over 6 mph
Although it's called a skidpad test, it's not as literal as it sounds. The object of the t