In the world of hot rods, there are two kinds of enthusiasts: professional builders and hobbyists. Even though these two subsets share very different professions, they are separated by very little when it comes to their passion. And along with numerous similarities, they also share difficulties. For instance, one of the most common problems amongst all builders is what to build next. In the custom classic truck world, this is the equivalent of writer's block. Picking the next project is possibly the most difficult choice a builder can make, largely in part because of the enormous physical, emotional, and financial commitment required. For Paul Kirkland of Blairsville, Pennsylvania, it was no different, and he quickly found himself in this all too familiar scenario once again.
Over the years Paul has been the proud owner of several classic hot rods. His rsum includes a '55 Chevy, a '73 Oldsmobile, and a '68 Chevelle. For his next project, Paul wanted to take a leap in a completely different direction and do something different from anything he had done before. The only question was what. Paul turned toward his friend Joe for inspiration. Joe quickly pointed out that all of Paul's previous creations shared a common theme: they were all classic musclecars and cruisers. He introduced Paul to the idea of building a pickup truck, such as the '71 he himself owned, and Paul quickly agreed. He set his sights on a similar shortbed Chevy; however, there was one major stipulation: whatever the truck may be, it had to have a big-block. After a few weeks of looking, Paul found his gem in the form of an '85 Chevrolet Scottsdale, complete with a 454 big-block. After a little hardball with the owner, Paul quickly began putting his own imprint on the truck.
The first step was to ditch the mundane wheels that floated between the wheelwells and the asphalt. Paul immediately fitted his pickup with a set of 20-inch Boyd Coddington Smoothie II wheels and Goodyear Eagle 2 tires. Next, he needed a transmission that could complement his big-block and his lead foot. He replaced the TH350 with a TH400 Turbo. After beefing up his transmission, Paul couldn't resist putting his own touch on his 454 big-block. He quickly added a new carburetor and air cleaner from Edelbrock. To achieve that throaty big-block sound, he threw in a set of Doug Thorley headers and a Flowmaster exhaust kit. To carry his newly acquired horsepower to the asphalt, he replaced the stock limited slip rearend with an Eaton posi unit with a set of 3.73 Yukon gears.