Tag: Project

Exploring Chevy’s 1988-’98 pickups as affordable projects – Terry McGean @Hemmings

Exploring Chevy’s 1988-’98 pickups as affordable projects – Terry McGean @Hemmings


The New Vintage

As the humble pickup truck’s place in American culture steadily evolved from simple-but-valued tool to modern fashion statement, it gained a huge fan base. While admiration grew and trucks aged, restorers began returning some of them to showroom shape. Meanwhile, hot-rodders and customizers crafted their own interpretations of the classic pickup.

The years rolled on and certain models emerged as favorites, spawning a vast aftermarket blooming with reproduction and upgrade parts and kits. So widespread is this enthusiasm for classic pickups today that values of the most popular models have swelled substantially during the past decade or so. It’s good news if you already have one, but not so great for anyone on the hunt for a budget-friendly alternative to pony cars or muscle machines.

This 1997 C1500 short-bed Fleetside was located in the Carolinas and hauled north to Vermont, where 1967-’72 Chevy truck enthusiast Glen Sauer picked it up for short money as a low-budget project to build with his son. It had essentially zero rust, but a worn and baked interior and over 200,000 miles.

Consider the 1967-’72 Chevrolet trucks, popular from new and long adored by enthusiasts. Today, they’re nearly as sought after as the muscle cars of the same era, and values have followed suit, making them less accessible to the younger builders trying to get into a vintage project. More recently, the following generation of Chevy trucks— the 1973-’87 “square-body” era—has been following the same trajectory, with values escalating rapidly.

So, where does that leave the aspiring young builder on a budget? Or even the seasoned tinkerer looking to start a new project with a casual cash commitment? Fortunately, GM kept right on building pickups, and its next generation proved to be a winner.

This truck left the factory with a blue cloth interior, but after more than 20 years and many miles worth of service, along with years spent under the southern sun, it was showing its age. Plus, a blue interior didn’t suit Glen’s taste for this project, so this will all be removed.
The familiar Chevy small-block V-8 powered most GM ½-ton trucks of the 1988-’98 period. Beginning with the 1996 model year, GM used the Vortec version of its 5.7-liter V-8, with improved cylinder heads and updated fuel injection. This one was rated for 255 hp, and even with more than 200,000 on the odometer, it still runs just fine. Apart from basic maintenance items, they’re going to leave it alone for now.

For the 1988 model year, GM introduced a new line of light trucks under the internal designation “GMT 400.” To the public, the new generation of trucks was often referred to as the “C/K” series, combining the familiar C designation of two-wheel-drive models with the K of 4x4s. The new C/K line offered increased interior space, while appearing leaner and more svelte on the outside thanks to a “cab forward” design with a sloping hood and rounded prow. This was the first time GM had offered extended-cab variations on its pickups, and the traditional “step-side” bed was finally replaced with a new fiberglass Sportside interpretation.

Viewed today, the GMT-400 era of trucks was an excellent blend of then-modern technology merged with traditional pickup dimensions. Though some details are very of-the-period, like the mini quad headlamps of the earlier models and the plasticky dark-argent egg-crate grilles, GM’s stylists smoothed out many of the trim details as the generation evolved, and overall these trucks have aged well. Park a GMT 400 next to a 1967-’68 Chevy pickup and you might even wonder if GM’s stylists looked back for inspiration.

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Before you start your next project, get your workspace in order. Here’s how: – Jim Smart @Hemmings


Through years of covering the classic car world, we’ve seen a lot of restoration shops, and it’s remarkable how many of these professional facilities —be they machine shops or all-out restoration/body shops—fail to keep an organized and safe environment. Often these places are a disorganized mess, which can also make them unsafe as a result. Beyond safety is the issue of efficiency—in a business where work is measured in terms of hours spent, technicians shouldn’t have to struggle to find what they’re looking for.

The first order of business in any shop, be it home or a business, is organization and neatness: A place for everything and everything in its place. This, in turn, improves safety. Parts left on the floor can be a cause of falls and other personal injuries, not to mention damage to the part itself. Any equipment left in a poor state of repair, with missing safety shields, tooling, or other parts on the edge of catastrophic failure can be problematic, as can power equipment that’s not properly grounded.

So, if plenty of professional shops are disorganized, home garages and other workspaces are likely to be even worse. Most of the home garages and workshops we’ve seen are frustrating places to photograph technical articles, because so much time is spent searching for parts and tools. Due to the very nature of repair shops and home garages, there’s rarely the time to organize and clean up. For many, it isn’t even a priority.

How tidy and safe is your shop? Begin your evaluation with organization. A sloppy, cluttered shop is an accident waiting to happen. It is also a huge time suck because of how much effort is wasted in search of missing parts. Cars are stripped and the parts tossed to the four corners, with no idea of where these items go when it’s time for reassembly.

Whether you’re doing a simple remove-and-replace procedure or a full-scale restoration, all parts must be labeled and cataloged to make reassembly easier to accomplish. And don’t kid yourself: You’re never going to remember how something came apart months or years later. Under optimum circumstances, parts should be cataloged, stored together, and properly identified while the assembled car is fresh in your mind. Pictures of the assembled vehicle or component should be taken beforehand, even if you have a shop manual to refer to later.

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Project Chevelle Episode 1: Gauge Install


We’ve been anxiously waiting to get the in garage with the Chevelle and it’s finally time! The first upgrade we are going to do is install gauges because the Chevelle currently only has a speedometer and a gas gauge. We will eventually run the engine on the dyno and we will be driving it harder than it has previously been driven, so we want to be able to track what is going on.

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Speedway Motors’ Introducing Project Chevelle


Allow us to introduce Project Chevelle! Brand new to the Speedway Motors’ family, this is our nearly all original 1972 Chevelle Malibu. We were lucky enough to find this stunning Chevelle from its original owner, Darrell Christensen, of Norfolk, Nebraska. It retains the original 307ci small block, factory drivetrain and suspension, and the original interior.

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