With forearms the size of most guys' thighs, even Popeye would have a hard time driving a vintage truck that doesn't have power steering. It comes as no surprise to most of CCT's readers that the inventor of power steering worked for the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company back in the 1920s as the chief engineer for the company's truck division. After quitting his job at Pierce-Arrow, Francis W. Davis developed a hydraulic power steering system that led to power steering and became commercially available in 1951.
Thanks to Mr. Davis and his innovative invention, we don't have to eat spinach and develop bulging arm muscles to pilot our custom classic trucks. We can simply call Borgeson Universal Company in Torrington, Connecticut, to see whether they manufacture a power steering system for our model vintage truck. Especially if you're building a Chevy or GMC pickup from the Tri-Fives to the mid-'70s and beyond, here's a great opportunity to enhance your driving experience. You won't have to wrestle those radial-wrapped big steelie or billet front wheels around corners anymore. The hydraulic fluid will do the heavy lifting, allowing you to steer easily.
In recent issues of CCT, we've followed the progress associate publisher John Barkley made on his '74 Chevy Stepside. John's truck originally had a straight six, a manual steering box, and narrow wheels and tires at both ends. Now the '74 sports wide BFGoodrich radials that wrap around stylish steelie Stockton Wheels and a small-block Chevy V-8. The Chevy's a big winner in the power and looks categories, but has heavy steering made heavier by wider wheels and tires.
You can see where this is going; John did what any of us would do.He contacted Borgeson Universal Company and ordered a complete replacement power steering system for his pickup. We watched Jason Scudellari, Primedia's Tech Center guru, install the system. Why don't you take a gander, too?
In the foreground is the Borgeson...
In the foreground is the Borgeson power steering pump and reservoir. At the bottom is the Borgeson power steering box and hydraulic lines.
We positioned the Borgeson...
We positioned the Borgeson components to mirror the expression on John's face after driving the C10 right after the installation was complete. The pump/reservoir, hydraulic lines, pulley, brackets, 18.8:1-ratio power steering box, all necessary fasteners (not shown), and rag joint (not shown) all came from Borgeson. Rare Parts Inc. supplied the pitman arm (above the pump/reservoir).
Before Jason installed the...
Before Jason installed the Borgeson and Rare Parts power steering system, the Chevy's engine bay still looked nice, but John paid the price every time he maneuvered the pickup in parking lots or traffic.