People are turned on to hobbies and pastimes in all sorts of ways. Through some sort of explainable and not-so-explainable osmosis, the idea of something implants itself into our brains and takes hold for good. For those in the hot rod community who prefer beds to trunks, the source often stems from fathers and grandfathers.

It seems so many folks in our truck genre have some sort of memory about their grandfather’s old farm truck, their dad’s work truck, or maybe even one of those “like a rock” Chevy commercials! Kevin Barb is a prime example of this phenomenon. And although we could try and explain this age-old tradition of how we undertake our pastimes, we figure what better way is there than to let our key witness speak for himself about how his love affair with trucks, in particular, how his ’84 Chevy Silverado came about.

“My dad got me hooked on cars from an early age. Of course there were the typical car shows and such, but what really took hold was when we headed out to go hang with his friends in the pits of the local dirt tracks. It was our mode of transportation, though what piqued my interest most was my dad’s square-body Chevy truck!

“When I began creeping up on 16 I put a plan into action to be on the road the minute I passed that driving test. Therefore, I pulled my weight and worked odd jobs growing up to purchase what would naturally have to be a square-body Chevy. In the summer of 1999, I found this ’84 Chevy and purchased it from the original owner. I was 15 at the time and eager to get my hands on the all-original truck. While in high school I saved money mowing yards and working at Sonic to replace the factory 305 with a built 350. From there I lowered it a few inches and threw on a set of Cragar wheels.

“Then tragedy struck. Right before college, the 350 dropped a valve and sent the piston through the cylinder wall. I had another car at the time, so I was in good shape, but the truck had seen better days. Then things only got worse; my means of wheels (what every college kid dreams of, a 1983 Cadillac Coupe DeVille) was stolen from the dorms. I only had liability insurance at the time, and like my truck, it was no longer in good shape. I drove my dad’s old farm truck until I could scrape together some money for a new motor.

“With some cash in my pocket I set out to find a new engine and came across a balanced and blue printed 383 complete with a mild cam, Edelbrock intake, Holley 650 carburetor, and MSD 6AL ignition. My friend Leonard Goodpaster and I did the installation over Christmas break of 2003, and once again the truck and I were back on the road. I drove it for a few more years, but by then it had started to rust behind the rear wheels, and the factory paint was beginning to look a little rough. I didn’t have a place to keep it, or the time and money to fix it, so I parked it in my parents’ barn in 2006.

“After college, life got busy. I got a new job and moved from Kansas City to Wichita, got married, bought a house, and started doing track days on my street bike, but I still missed the feeling of the ’84’s steering wheel. In the fall of 2011 I convinced my uncle and dad to haul it to my new home in Wichita. It was finally time to pick up where I left off.

“My original plan was to do most of the bodywork myself, but again life got in the way, not to mention I was incredibly impatient. I had noticed several square-body trucks running around town with Flyin’ Eye Kreations stickers plastered to the back windows. So I decided to give them a call, and in January of 2012 I dropped it off for shop owner Larry James and his crew to have their way with it. They began by fixing the rust, straightening the dents and dings, and prepping it for paint. I had always been a fan of all the trim that came on the Silverado package; therefore I wanted to keep the truck’s exterior stock. So much so that I even had the truck painted back to its factory finish.

“From there I ordered all sorts of new parts from LMC Truck, including all of the factory trim, glass, and a new grille assembly. Larry convinced me we needed to lower the truck even more, so a set of Belltech drop spindles were installed up front, along with some bigger lowering blocks in the rear. Then again Larry got to me! He said the Cragars were cool, but had to go! So we settled on a set of Intro Vista wheels. The rears are 20x10s with Falken 295/40/20 tires, and up front are 20x8s with Falken 235/50/20s.

“Inside the cab we again called on LMC Truck. A new carpet kit and various other interior panels were ordered to freshen things up. I also ordered the brushed-aluminum trim kit from LMC Truck to bring some life back into the truck. The bench seat was tossed for a set of bucket seats and a center console from a ’71 Blazer. They were then covered in charcoal to match the cab.

“As for the drivetrain of the truck, things were in pretty good shape. The motor was pretty much still new, but we did step things up a bit. For starters, a set of Hooker headers with a Flowmaster exhaust system was installed. The Turbo 350 then received a shift kit and a new 2,500 stall converter. We also freshened up the 12-bolt with a new set of 3.42 gears. Although we’ve come a long way, the next step is detailing the engine, which I plan on doing! Winters get pretty cold around here and that should be the perfect project. At that point I’d like to say I’m finished with the truck, but I’m sure something else will come up!”