If It Aint Broke, Fix It
My Dad once told me “Son if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it till it is”. That comment came after he saw me customizing a car and he didn’t really understand why you would take apart and modify something when it was working just fine. I learned a lot of life lessons from my Dads simplistic thought process, but never quite succumbed to this theory.
Back in 2003, I bought this 1977 Chevy Cheyenne. It had been restored to showroom condition by a previous owner. Ignoring my Dads “leave it alone” philosophy I immediately delivered it to Roger Lynsky of RPL Custom fame, and commissioned him to install a RideTech air suspension system. We added a set of 20″ billet wheels along with a few details to the stock motor.
At that time the 73-87 “Squarebody” trucks were just starting to grow in popularity. The restored look of this truck along with the modifications we made caused it to become an internet sensation. Through magazine features, vendor ad campaigns and forum frenzy it was soon one of the most recognized C10 trucks on the internet.
After several seasons of shows, the truck was put in storage while I spent quality time with my daughter. She had become an accomplished volleyball player and our family traveled the country with her till she went off to college.
With family obligations achieved I returned to my passion for classic trucks again. Encouragement from good friends and my nephew Christian pushed me to bring my Cheyenne out of retirement. I felt it was time for a new look and recalled an old photoshop edit I had with woodgrain on it. This image became a rendering for a truck soon to be known as “Elwood”.
The pursuit of this fresh look escalated quickly to a full-scale makeover. I reached out to Low Sierra Company who provided the woodgrain kit. This 3M wrap emulated the factory option and was installed locally by Daryl Tracey of Deluxe Garage.
My friend Chris Plump of American Racing told me they had plans to introduce a Carter Hickman designed vintage style wheel. The retro look was perfect for the theme I was after. A set of 22″ VF 526 was sent through their custom shop for a silver face with polished hoops.
Looking through the windows of the wheels you notice a full set of Wilwood brakes are visible. A Wilwood master cylinder sends fluid to matching 13″ slotted rotors all around. They are slowed with 6 piston calipers in front, and 4 piston versions in the rear.
Underneath the factory frame was stripped and painted in preparation for the best suspension available from RideTech. An updated version of the RideTech HQ Series 4 link kit was installed. The all-new Ridepro X blue-tooth system controls dual ViAir compressors. The pumps send air to a pair of aluminum tanks which is distributed to the corners through Big Red valves.
Lift the hood and a Ramjet 350 has been smoothed with custom metal panels from RPL Customs and painted bright silver. The GM crate engine runs an Eddie Motorsports S drive system with color-matched accessories.
Gloss black Slosh Tubz fender liners offer additional tire clearance. These are accompanied by a matching set of Slosh Tubz filler panels and radiator cover to enhance the smooth underhood look.
A polished and painted 700r4 transmission sends 350 horsepower to a 10 bolt rear with 3.42 gears. The exhaust system begins with coated GM Ram horn manifolds going through a Y pipe that’s connected to a Gibson stainless muffler. The exhaust pipe is held in place by Deeds Performance clamps and billet hangers that exits out the driver’s side.
Inside the cab is weathertight thanks to Precision Replacement Parts. Their professional staff reconditioned the vent windows and provided a full set of gaskets and seals. The cab is kept cool by a RestoMod Air Haymaker system combined with an accompanying layer of Restomod Membrane thermal sound dampener.
Tilt the billet wheel up and sit on a restyled factory bench seat by Brent at Sculpt Garage. Push the knob on the radio to activate a Retro Sound receiver and enjoy contemporary electronics with a classic look. The factory tach cluster has been updated with a fresh bezel surrounded by a new dash pad from Brothers Truck parts.
Elwood made its debut at the 2018 Lonestar Nationals in the American Racing booth. Throughout the year it has toured the show circuit on display appearing in RideTech, and Wilwood booths as well. As much as I’m honored by the opportunity to work with the best names in the aftermarket industry, the most rewarding moments come from approval by fellow enthusiasts that have been following Elwood from the beginning. They were skeptical of the changes planned, but are truly pleased with the end result. I feel my Dad might not understand why, but he would be proud that I accomplished my goal.
Elwood- 1977 Chevrolet Cheyenne
Owner- Ken McAvoy
Truck- 1977 Chevrolet
Ramjet 350 GM Crate
Power- 350 HP/400TQ
Exhaust- Deeds Engineering
Eddie Motorsports S Drive billet hood hinges
Fender Liners- Slosh Tubz
Paint- Black PPG repaint from 2003
Seat- GM bench covered by Sculpt Garage
Dash- Bezel, vents, pad, carpet by Brothers Truck Parts
Audio- Retro Sound receiver, kick panels.
Seals- Precision Replacement Parts
A/C- Restomod Air
Ride Tech Ride Pro X
American Racing VF526
Size- 22×8.5 and 22×10.5
265/35/22 front 285/35/22 rear
Rear Axle – GM 10 bolt
Gears – 3.42
Brakes- Wilwood 13″ 6 piston front, Wilwood 13″ 4 piston rear