PROJECT Playboy Part 2 | Reviving an 1988 Chevy C1500 truck

If you’ve been following Project Playboy in print and on Street Truck’s YouTube series, you are up to date with our 1988 Chevy C1500 truck’s current suspension and brakes as well as the wheels that we chose. The goal with this go-fast machine is to restore an ’80s-model vehicle with an era-correct look and a few hidden modern upgrade to make it more reliable. If you missed part one check it out HERE!

We ripped out the original suspension and installed a complete coilover conversion from Ridetech Suspension thanks to the crew over at Saltworks Fab in Myakka, Florida. With the suspension complete, we replaced all four brakes with a disc brake upgrade from Performance Online to give it the stopping power it needs. Bolted to the new disc brakes is a set of 20-inch stagger-fit wheels from Schott Wheels wrapped in Goodyear Eagle rubber. The stance was perfect, the offset was ideal, but the installed 350c.i. carbureted engine was still incredibly unreliable. The fuel pressure would not stay consistent and the air conditioning was completely unusable, which is unacceptable for a central Florida street truck.

1988 Chevy C1500 truck

Street Dreams in Ocala, Florida
Street Dreams in Ocala, Florida, was able to match this custom color for our new cowl hood and roll pan. With a smooth blend onto the fenders and bedsides, it’s hard to tell it wasn’t original.

To cure the concerns our motor was giving us, we ordered a Pro-Flo 4 fuel injection conversion kit from Edelbrock and all-new fuel system from FAST. Removing the carburetor and replacing it with this kit was a simple but scary task knowing that this conversion could get out of hand real quick. In our experience, once we start to disassemble a motor, we just keep going and replacing parts. But with this project we had one purpose, which was to complete it by the predetermined deadline. So we simply followed the instructions and installed it exactly how the company suggested, which went smoothly for us the very first time.

Now that the truck had the perfect stance, the best brakes, and an upgraded fuel injection system to make the motor more reliable, it was time to turn our focus to paint and interior. We dropped the truck off with Shane at Street Dreams in Ocala, Florida, for a new cowl hood and roll pan as well as a complete coating of bedliner to make the bed floor look new again.

As Project Playboy leaves the paint shop in record time, we return to the Street Trucks garage for a complete interior overhaul with our partners TMI Products, Classic Industries, Dakota Digital, Retrosound, as well as heat and sound protection from Design Engineering Inc. Let’s go!

Project playboy a 1988 Chevy C1500 truck
With the body all back together, Shane did one final wash before we were able to fire it up and bring a Playboy back home.
1988 Chevy C1500
Now that we have the truck back in our possession, it heads directly back to the Street Trucks garage so we can start on the interior upgrade.
If you remember from the previous coverage, the rear glass had to be replaced due to some radical rust spots on the outside of the cab. Everything has been repaired and repainted. and a new piece of glass from LMC Truck is installed.
Now we can back the truck into position and start unboxing our new items.
DEI panels
We plan to replace the carpet and seats, but before we do, we will add some heat- and sound-resistant material from Design Engineering Inc. These panels are perfectly cut for the cab of this truck.

Removing oem seats from a 1988 Chevy truck

Factory blue bench seat out of an OBS chevy truck
The first thing to do is to remove the previously installed bench seat. This is not the original seat; it looks like it came out of a ’95-98 Chevy truck.

With the seats and seatbelts removed, we can start removing all the plastic panels. We can deep clean them while they’re removed.

intalling factory interior pieces on project playboy

All of these panels simply unscrew and unclip from their original locations. Be careful when you’re pulling because it’s easy to crack this old plastic.

Next, we remove the headliners—but not before we unscrew the visors.

The dash bezel around the gauges will also be removed before we replace the gauges with a new set from Dakota Digital.

The original gauges were not working any more, which is pretty common for this truck, so luckily the panel came out easily. We will wire up our new gauge cluster in the next issue.

The entire audio system will be ripped out and replaced with all-new gear from Retro Sound. We have some really cool things planned, so be sure to pick up next month’s issue, too!
The door panels are in decent shape, but they are past the point of re-purpose. They will be replaced with Coverlay panels from Classic Industries.
Now the carpet and padding can be removed and quickly thrown away to avoid any mold or dust.
Unfortunately, we found quite a bit of rust on the floorboard of this truck, but none of it goes all the way through. So we will have to spend some time cleaning and prepping the floor before we install our new components.
 KBS Rust Blast and Cavity Coater.
To clean and prep this floor, we are using KBS Rust Blast and Cavity Coater. This will fill all the cracks, holes, and seams, as well as prevent any future rust from developing.
This is a straightforward process of spraying the chemical at full strength and allowing it to sit.
Once this floor coating is complete, we roll on a ton of Boom Mat from Design Engineering Inc. This thick, rubberized, adhesive-backed material will deflect quite a bit of sound and heat all on its own.
With the gauges out, you can see how well-engineered the new piece from Dakota Digital is. It’s a perfect fit and matches the original specs.
 Retro Sound radio
For the head unit, we are sticking with our ’80s theme by installing a Grand Prix head unit along with all-new audio equipment from Retro Sound.
TMI seats
The last thing we will install are these amazing seats from TMI. We simply told the crew the color of our current interior, and they knocked it out of the park. The seats are absolutely amazing, the color matches perfectly, and they look incredibly comfortable. We can’t wait to take a ride!

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