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Mike Morris’ OG OBS Tahoe

When most folks thing about the OBS name, the Silverado pickup naturally comes to mind, and that’s totally fine. It makes perfect sense. With the overall majority of enthusiasts out there scouting the marketplace for an ’88-’98 Chevy full-size truck, that’s exactly what they’re going to find. But what about the guys and gals who need the convenience of some extra interior space without driving a rig that is too big? Well, in that specific case, nothing short of a two-door Tahoe will do. 

Mike Morris currently owns this beautifully styled 1996 Chevy Tahoe seen here, but before its key was in his pocket, this OBS SUV belonged to his dad.

“This truck has been in our family for about six, seven years now,” Mike says. “My dad has been a hot rod guy since he retired in ’86, so he was always on the lookout for cool cars and trucks to buy. He bought this Tahoe from a guy who had had obviously taken pretty good care of it but dad really didn’t do much with it, so I made him an offer and once he accepted, I decided to give it a little bit of a refresh.”

Now, the refresh that Mike is referring to mainly came in the form of a fresh Victory Red paintjob by the very talented Frank’s Customs in Lake Havasu, Arizona. When the Tahoe made its way into the Morris family, it looked pretty much exactly like it does now (it was even painted red before), which is kind of incredible when you stop to think about it. It’s still very much a time capsule of throwback style and aesthetic—right down to the very aftermarket components that were added to it back before Mike and his dad had ever laid eyes on it.

…we’re hoping the right eyeballs catch a glimpse of this story and can help confirm or debunk this mystery…

“The gentleman who sold the Tahoe to my dad said that Belltech had used this truck for R&D purposes,” Mike adds. “Of course, we have zero proof that is actually the case, or if the guy was just using that line as a sales tactic. Either way, it makes for a fun topic of conversation whenever we get the chance to talk about it.”

To back that story up, the Tahoe does sport Belltech front springs, rear flip kit and air shocks, along with a C-notch in the frame. Now, that does sound like how the static drop would’ve been handled some 15 years or so ago when Mike estimates the work was done. While that doesn’t necessarily cement the truth of this Tahoe being a past Belltech test rig, we’re hoping the right eyeballs catch a glimpse of this story and can help confirm or debunk this mystery for the Morris men. Hey, it’s a slim chance, but we’ll be behind the scenes with our fingers crossed.

The Tahoe came equipped with those vintage 20- and 22-inch billet wheels, which can also earn you some bonus points for properly identifying them as Mike has come up empty on his search results to settle on definitive make or model. He did add red trim to the wheel lips as it color matches them to the Tahoe’s renewed paint scheme, and also makes it look like an oversized Hot Wheels toy.

Even though Mike is still working on redoing the Tahoe’s interior space, he has taken the truck out to all his local shows to show its progress so far. From what he reports, it starts and drives perfectly, and the A/C blows nice and cold.

“My dad and I have been fans of the OBS trucks long before anybody ever referred to them as an OBS,” Mike admits. “It’s cool to see more people working on the GM trucks of this era, and to have far more parts made available for them. It really helps the people who are able to get their hands on one of these trucks keep them on the road.”

While this ’96 Tahoe really didn’t receive a whole ton of work currently, it really didn’t need it. It’s important to recognize that fact. This Chevy had all the original vintage OBS style baked right in when it Mike’s dad found it. Other than the paint restoration, this truck’s modifications really do date it accurately. The Caddy tails. The Nu Image Glo Flame gauges. The Belltech suspension slam and billet wheels. This Tahoe still remains a product of its time—some sort of rolling time capsule that has been placed on ice until the time was right to reintroduce it to today’s sport truck enthusiasts.


Truck Specs

Owner: Mike Morris 

1996 Two-Door Chevy Tahoe

Lake Havasu City, AZ

Chassis/Suspension 

  • Belltech front springs and flip kit
  • Rear air shocks
  • C-notch in frame

Engine 

  • Engine: 1996 Chevy 5.7L V-8 Vortec
  • MSD ignition
  • Transmission: 1996 4L60E

Exterior 

  • Shop: Frank’s Customs, Lake Havasu City, AZ
  • DeBeer by Valspar Victory Red paint
  • Billet grille
  • Smoothed and color-matched front bumper
  • Rear roll pan
  • Rolled fenders
  • Cadillac tail lights

Interior  

  • 1959 Stock gray cloth covered bucket seats
  • Billet steering wheel
  • Phoenix Gold and MB Quart audio components

Wheels/Tires/BRAKES 

  • Wheels: 20/22-inch billet wheels
  • Tires: 255/35/20 and 275/35/22 Falken tires
  • Brakes: Front disc, rear drums

 

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