“The most important components to me were the suspension and brakes. The truck was converted to four-wheel disc brakes. The front suspension was converted to tubular A-arm suspension, a quick ratio steering box, and the heaviest sway bar I could find. The center crossmember was replaced with a Classic Performance Products crossmember kit, which allowed the exhaust to run through the crossmember and not under it. It also changed the angle of the pinion to work with the 6-inch lowered rear. The rear feame was also C-notched to accept the 6-inch lowered springs and shock relocate kit from Earyl Classic to allow for correct shock geometry.
“During this time, UPS was coming to my house almost on a daily basis. I had to have a talk with the driver and ask him not to deliver after 5pm when my wife would be home from work, just keep it on the truck and deliver it the next day. Packages were coming almost daily and my wife was beginning to think I had a problem.
“Sam found a 454hp big-block and rebuilt the engine. He had it bored 0.60-over with a set of rectangle port heads. We came across a GM aluminum high-rise manifold and sent it out to get gloss black powdercoated, something we had not seen.
“The interior was done by another friend, Dirk Tuenstra of Route 66 Upholstery in Petaluma. Dirk used tan leather to do the seat, door panels, head liner, and dash pad. In an attempt to save money, my original plan was to complete the interior with cloth seats, but this was one area where my wife weighed in. She said you’ve got to put in leather. You can’t spend so much money for things you can’t see and then skimp on the interior, so leather it was!
“The electrical system was an area in which I had little experience. Thanks to Painless Wiring, the installation was a snap. Taking my time and double and triple checking things as I went, it came off without a hitch.
“In the end, we ended up with a truck that drove and handled like a dream. The floating and sloppy steering was gone. The truck stays flat in the turns and rides and drives like a sports car.
“My son Sam and I completed the build in July 2010 and two days later my wife Jacque and I drove it to South Lake Tahoe to Hot August Nights. The 200-mile drive had my wife and I on edge. My wife, nervous as ever, recalled all the hot rods I had as a teenager and all the break downs.”
Luckily, the trip went smoothly and the two made the 400-plus-mile round trip unscathed.
When asked if he kept track of the damage to his pocket book, “I’m not sure what the total cost of the build was. As a police officer, I learned that evidence can incriminate you, so I tossed many of the receipts as soon as I got them. My estimated cost is around $30k, including what I paid for the truck.”
Not bad for a father and son build in a two-car garage! CCT